Smart Distribution System & Transformer Management with Intra Grid Sensors
Throughout the history of electricity grids, distribution transformers have been regarded as low-level assets. To some, transformers have been the asset we can overload as much as desired, and then simply replace it when it finally fails. We are seeing the distribution grid evolve right in front of our eyes. Our distribution grids are rapidly being asked to handle never conceived reverse energy, and significant unplanned load for which the entire grid, and its infrastructure assets were truly never designed to handle.
With the emergence of intra-grid sensors which are quickly retrofit onto existing distribution transformers. These smart sensors are now proven assets within the industry that will dramatically change the entire distribution grid management paradigm; once the industry at-large chooses to embrace them.
When intra-gird sensors are deployed, they immediately allow utilities to understand not only which transformer assets do not need replaced, or those that do need replaced, but more importantly they actually convert every transformer into a ‘smart transformer’ within mere minutes, and likely for less than half the cost of a new ‘smart transformer’. And unlike new ‘smart transformers’, intra-grid sensors do not require a power outage to install. To this end, transformer manufacturers know that intra-grid sensors actually diminish the need for new ‘smart transformers’. Clearly, the use of intra-grid sensors is far more practical than new ‘smart transformers’ concerning the key areas of cost, time to deploy, and power interruption.
From yet another important view, utilities are learning that AMI meters (“smart meters”) are unable to reliably produce valuable intra-grid information as once was imagined. This is due to the quiet fact that utility asset mapping sources are commonly inaccurate, to no fault of the utility since the distribution grid is the most dynamic and most volatile segment of the entire grid space. That means that while a utility asset map shows certain meters are tied to a specific transformer, the actual association of assets is commonly no longer correct. Rather, there are commonly different meters tied to different transformers than the antiquated utility mapping suggests, thus causing AMI meter-level data regarding the intra-grid to be grossly flawed.
These Intra-grid sensors can be installed on existing meters, whether single phase or three phase transformers in just a few minutes—It works for both pole and pad mount applications--- typically under 30 total minutes for a pole mount or pad mount single phase, and under 60 minutes for a pole mount or pad mount multi phase AND, no power outages are necessary to install intra-grid sensors on existing transformers which means the meter revenue continues, and ratepayers are not saddled with inconvenient and costly power outages.
Future proof intra-grid sensors report information to operators at desired intervals creating clear vision into the heart of the grid for the first time in the history of distribution grid management. This is indeed a disruptive technology that favorably flips our historic reactive grid management approach into a cost-effective, energy efficient, proactive process.
Intra-grid sensors will likely cost less than half of new ‘smart transformers’, and unlike new ‘smart transformers’ they will not require power outages to be experienced during installation, they deploy in only minutes versus many hours like new ‘smart transformers’ require, and they will give us immediate insight into the most misunderstood segment of our entire distribution grid architecture. Plus, they are future proof, and deliver automated alerts to operators thereby creating a ‘hands-free’ distribution grid management solution. Ponder that reality!
Intra-grid sensors provide unique, timely, accurate, granular information from within the heart of the grid that other assets cannot deliver, and they do it right now for less cost and less interruption!
Intra-grid sensors will deliver massive amounts of data that can be segregated into ‘exception reporting’ and ‘big data’ to drive a series of distribution grid management and planning value propositions for operators.
Intra-gird sensors now offer automated alerts which notify utility personnel of outages, and undesirable intra- grid conditions. This feature creates a revolutionary ‘hands-free’ grid management solution for utility operators, creating the path for a genuine smart grid experience.
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