Demand for higher quality of electricity, more reliable distribution and local production, like solar, give utilities a hard time in building and balancing their distribution networks. The required investments are high, and innovations are needed for increasing the power quality, integration of distributed energy sources and power balance.
Low voltage direct current (LVDC) technology is an optimal solution in many cases, where a cost-efficient way of upgrading or building future-proof networks is needed. It solves the most relevant problems, like lack of capacity, power loss, poor quality of electricity, unbalances and variations of voltage or frequency.
The utilities business is strongly affected by several trends, e.g. by the transition of the energy system towards smart grid, tighter regulation and social challenges like non-billable consumption. Jussi Vanhanen, Director, LVDC, Ensto Utility Networks, explains how these will change the traditional public distribution network technology.
“Utilities face challenges like the constantly increasing electricity demand, quantity and quality -wise. New legislation and consumer expectations are driving this. Also, new production sites, mainly wind and solar parks, can be located in any part of the grid, breaking the traditional centralized network topology.
“This inevitable development is ongoing, and many utilities are building distribution networks underground for better network and power quality. With traditional medium voltage technology, this is increasing the line building costs significantly, and the reactive power control needs to be handled differently.”
Vanhanen reminds us about the customer experience: even if the delivery is reliable, with no blackouts, voltage drop and over voltage are constant threats to the quality of electricity. In some places, the common non-billable usage causes unpredictable and unbalanced load, which makes the maintaining of good quality even more difficult. DC voltage distribution eliminates the theft of electricity
The next section of article tells about Ensto LVDC icrogrid functionality and it´s benefits like maximizing capacity and minimizing power losses.
Additional information: Jussi Vanhanen, Director, LVDC, Ensto Utility Networks
jussi.vanhanen(at)ensto.com or from local Ensto company