The electrical distribution grid is the largest system in the world. In Europe alone, there are some 10 million kilometers of medium-voltage lines (enough to go to the moon and back 13 times) with some 5 to 10 million secondary substations.
Our society and infrastructure depend on the grid (I would not be writing this without the grid!), yet utilities have very little visibility into the grid and how it functions, decreasing grid reliability and increasing operating costs.
Traditional Fault-Passage Indicators just don’t cut it
Distribution grids are complex and large systems and despite even the best designs and best maintenance, faults occur. To restore service and stop additional damage from being generated, the faults must be located and fixed as fast as possible, preferably before they actually happen.
Fault-Passage Indicators (FPIs) are not new: the first generation technology was introduced in the late 1940’s – and things have changed relatively little. Fault detection times have become shorter, communications have become more advanced, and the devices are self-resetting. But they are still difficult and costly to install and operate, fault-detection accuracy is not optimal, and integration to back-end systems (if available at all) is cumbersome.
Enter the Intelligent Grid System™
When we set out to develop our Safegrid™ Intelligent Grid System™, we started with some of the latest research, a state-of-the-art architecture, standard components to create a solution that gives utilities and grid operators full 24/7 visibility into the grid and lets them locate faults faster and more accurately than before.
In addition to fault detection and location, IGS also helps operators predict faults and do timely preventive maintenance that improves grid performance and increases equipment service life.
The sensor units are fully self-contained and self-powering and feature wireless communication capabilities without the need for separate communication modules or base stations. The sensor units support 4G/5G and also advanced Low-Power WAN technologies for deployment in areas without cellular network coverage.
The anatomy of Safegrid™ IGS
The system consists of:
- Inexpensive and easy-to-install GrayHawk™ and GrayFox™wireless sensors for both overhead lines and underground cables that provide an unprecedented level of visibility into the grid. The low cost and fast installation make the sensors the most cost-efficient grid monitoring system available on the market.
- Cloud-based GridGuardian™ analytics and monitoring software that gives both the big picture about the grid’s performance as well as instant actionable alerts about grid faults.
The wireless and self-powering sensors can be installed in as little as 15 minutes and require neither alterations nor system shutdowns for installation.
The monitoring and analytics system is fully cloud-based and it provides full visibility about the grid, analytics information, and real-time alerts for fast action. The system can be used via a browser or a mobile app for the utmost in convenience and speed.
The solution can be operated as a standalone system that does not need integrations into SCADA or into other systems for extremely fast and easy deployment. When necessary, deep integration into back-end systems is available via flexible REST APIs.
Not just technology
While we are justifiably proud of our technology (some of which is patent-pending), we think the resulting customer benefits are even more important.
The GrayHawk™and GrayFox™ sensors are very fast to install and the installation requires no service interruptions. They are also extremely efficient to operate as they are self-powering and self-resetting which means low maintenance needs and long service life. Once installed, the sensors register themselves automatically in the network and begin sending network status data to the GridGuardian™monitoring backend within minutes without any complicated setup procedures.
Faster and more accurate fault location lets the crews can find and fix faults faster, which decreases both costs and downtime. The resulting fast FLISR (Fault Location, Isolation, and Service Restoration) and minimized SAIDI (System Average Interruption Duration Index) improve customer satisfaction and operational economics.
The sensors also collect further data about the state of the grid and grid elements, allowing the system to detect, e.g., slight overloading conditions which have been traditionally very hard to monitor. This lets the operator undertake appropriate preventive maintenance actions and also optimize grid operation. The result of this is both lower SAIFI (System Average Interruption Frequency Index) and longer equipment life, leading to increased customer satisfaction and lower capital expenses.
Seeing is believing but piloting is even better
To help utilities to find out the benefits of the Intelligent Grid System and see how it can support their operations, Safegrid™ offers a low-cot and extremely fast-to-deploy Pilot Kit which consists of your desired number of sensors, trial subscription to the GridGuardian™ monitoring system, and full support. The pilot system can be up and running in a matter of hours and the cost of the pilot is fully credited towards the delivery of a production system after the trial.
The Safegrid™ starter kits can be installed by the customer with our expert support or Safegrid and our deployment partners can do the installation on a turn-key basis.
A typical trial lasts from one to three months and shows the concrete benefits of the IGS in real life. After a successful pilot, the customer can simply add more sensors to increase the coverage of the system. During the pilot, we work with the customer to design the right system for them and determine the integration needs into SCADA and other back-end systems.
One satisfied pilot customer remarked: “With the Intelligent Grid System, we can prevent faults and minimize their duration. Additionally, the system helps us operate more efficiently because it helps us locate faults faster and more accurately. This combination lets us serve our customers even better than before. In the future, the system will also provide other information about the network. It will enable, for instance, preventative maintenance of network assets, which will decrease the number of faults, lengthen the service life of the assets, and lower operating costs.”
To find out about the cost and availability of Starter Kits and discuss your needs and requirements, simply drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will take care of the rest.