Smart grid rises to meet the needs of growing industrialization and urbanization

February 24, 2017 Khusro Khan, Transparency Market Research

Most nations worldwide are trying to raise their electricity production to complement increasing industrialization and urbanization. This factor has significantly contributed to the rise of substation installation in order to deliver electricity to various remote parts of a nation, according to a recent market report.

A substation is used to step up current and voltage for transmitting electricity to long distances. Thus, a substation typically consists of equipment such as circuit breakers, transformers, capacitors, and voltage regulators which perform transmission, distribution, and protection of equipment from both the ends. This makes substation an important part of power system that needs constant monitoring and maintenance for smooth operation. Intelligent electronic devices help to monitor, control, and protect the substation equipment from unpredicted faults resulting in disruption of power supply.

Intelligent electronic devices consist of a group of microprocessor controlled components such as switching, control, and communication units. Switching units comprise of devices such as protective relays, electrically operated on-load tap controllers, and electrical isolators, which operate in the substation to mechanically isolate the system in case of possible fault. Some switching units also continuously monitor and collect data, which is fed to control units through Ethernet cables, wireless transmission, and power line communication carrier (PLCC). Today, most of these intelligent electronic devices communicate through Ethernet cables and wireless communication.

Control units consist of a system which helps to monitor and control the remote terminal unit (RTU) or switching units in real-time. The system also collects historical data from switching units, thereby providing detailed analysis to the operator. Intelligent electronic devices also consist of monitoring systems, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), human machine interface (HMI), and digital meters, which help to provide additional information of overall health of substation systems.

Further, with the introduction of smart grid system, the application of intelligent electronic devices is expected to increase in coming years. Some intelligent electronic device vendors also provide software that helps to collate and monitor the overall condition of intelligent electronic devices. A major requirement for intelligent electronic devices vendors is to comply with International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) IEC 61850-6 standard. Thus, the protocol is expected to create a huge impact on the market in producing a standardized product.

The application of intelligent electronic devices is expected to increase in transmission and distribution, collector, and switching substations. Some vendors are also providing customized solutions for gas insulated substations, which also require monitoring of SF6 gas. The market for intelligent electronic devices is also expected to increase due to the automated and remote control of substations in remote areas.

The application of intelligent electronic devices is increasing in renewable energy installation such as wind farms and solar projects, which require continuous monitoring of electrical equipment. The market can be segmented on the basis of hardware such as RTU, communication, and control systems.

Some of the prominent vendors providing intelligent electronic device are Schneider Electric SE, Siemens AG, Black & Veatch Corporation, Eaton Corp PLC, SUBNET Solutions Inc., Toshiba Corporation, and ABB Ltd.

Khusro Khan is a Web Analyst at Transparency Market Research.

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