When operational decisions about the distribution network are based on real data, it is not only network reliability and power quality that benefit. The digitalisation of a distribution network also provides benefits for network planning and maintenance by analysing historical data. 

Digitalisation and automation of the distribution network are often seen as a project for the future. What some people do not realise is that network operators can benefit from the digitalisation of their grid today. There are six immediate ways to benefit from the digitalising the grid. 

Improve power quality with real time real data 

Real-time measurements of critical electrical parameters provide visibility for day-to-day operational decisions from which the network reliability and stability benefit. Additionally, decentralised sensors strategically placed in the network can perform control functions and measurement tasks such as managing local network transformers, inverters, or controlling loads. This function empowers grid operators to counteract critical network conditions automatically, consequently increasing the voltage quality. 

Increase network stability with decentralised intelligence

Sensors installed in the field can measure current and voltage accurately enough to analyse the power quality that enables an internal control function. The ‘decentralised intelligence’ occurs directly at a local level enabling the adjustment of network components without going through a central control centre. 

This intelligent capability requires real data, the kind generated by GridEye’s field devices from Depsys’ digitalisation solution. Real data enables voltage measurement on all three conductors (Class A measurement), as well as accurate current measurements, using Rogowski coils. The devices can control components via Ethernet or RS485 interfaces and deliver real data via mobile radio to a server, where they are available for network monitoring and further analysis. 

Monitor critical points in the network 

The installation of devices is ideal for critical areas in the network, and no previous knowledge about the network topology is required. You can simply ‘plug and play’ devices in just a few minutes and strategically place them near essential feeders, loads or on local transformers, allowing for maximum visibility and optimal control.  

Use current and historical data that you can trust

GridEye offers various software applications for network monitoring and analysis of historical values that can be licensed separately. The monitoring module provides essential information for everyday network operation. For the display in the monitoring surface, the real data is presented as easily interpretable information, enabling users to notice critical network conditions or alarms at a glance. The so-called performance index provides a quick overview of the status of the network. 

Ideally, the index for all measured values is ten and lies on the outer edge of the circle. If the values deviate from the target, the respective value shifts towards the centre of the circle and is easier to recognise. The performance index provides information on which values or which measurement points deserve special attention. In addition, the monitoring solution offers detailed information such as the latest chronological course of real data, statistical evaluations, and much more. 

Save time and keep engineers safe with remote troubleshooting 

The digitalisation of the distribution network reduces network downtime by identifying errors fast and recognising their effects at an early stage. The real data helps to identify the location and type of the fault quicker and shorten the response time and the duration of the field service. This aspect plays especially in times when trips are Covid-19 related and should be restricted to the bare essentials. In this case, the optimised error identification not only increases network availability and security but also contributes to the health and protection of field engineers. 

Make future-proof decisions based on historical data

The real data transmitted from the sensors to the server is not only available for monitoring but is also assessed locally by devices and is available for analysis after being saved on the server. GridEye provides various software modules for this. One is used for power quality analysis and allows, for example, the evaluation of power quality complaints and reports on whether and when a violation of EN 50160 was submitted.  

Another software module makes it easier to find critical points in the network and provides information that is useful when making investment decisions in network expansion and maintenance. The real-data analytics help when it comes to enquiries about network connections or reports. 

Smarter grid empowers smarter decisions

The digitalisation of the distribution network not only creates the possibility for automation (‘Smart Grid’) but also offers transparency from which many departments of a distribution network operator can benefit. Network operations can base decisions on current, real data; planners can analyse real data before making investment decisions; other departments can use the real data to create reports and fulfil their reporting obligations better.