Schneider Electric Helps Utilities Stop Blackouts with iPENDA and PAM500
Schneider Electric, the leader in energy management and automation, has launched its latest solution to help utilities and operators monitor, control and protect their electrical networks.
The intelligent public electricity network distribution assembly (iPENDA) will connect packaged substations to the Internet of Things, ensuring operators can be proactive with maintenance and in responding to substation faults. The management of energy is set to become increasingly complex. Large-scale power stations are lessening in numbers with regional and local renewable energy generation on the rise.
The challenges will be for the DNO’s to understand what is happening at a local level rather than to react to challenges on their network. Issues such as phase imbalance, harmonics and voltage band issues will become more prevalent, as photo voltaics and EV charging usage increases. This two-way power flow caused by growing numbers of prosumers will challenge the network - and if not monitored and controlled correctly – will likely cause substation problems on the network such fuses overloading.
Distributed network operators (DNOs) and independent DNO’s (IDNOs) must now be more proactive in balancing local flows of electricity. Many are, therefore, becoming distribution system operators (DSOs) with more responsibilities over managing, balancing and supplying their parts of the grid.
iPENDA seeks to aid and ease their transition, empowering operators to take a more proactive approach to maintenance. It is a connected solution that, for the first time, enables DNOs to monitor and control all of their fuseways remotely.
iPENDA has been designed as a cost-effective, intelligent fuse cabinet. It has current transformers and PowerLogic metering on each of its four outgoing fuseways, as well as an added meter on the incoming circuit for monitoring operators’ electrical networks.
The PowerLogic meters display volts, amps, power factor and current flow. This helps operators determine when power loss has occurred, if fuses have blown or are starting to degrade, and if there are any transformer issues.
The metering also allows operators to schedule maintenance before any issues have grown into customer-impacting problems, preventing downtime, reducing operating costs and increasing the lifespan of their equipment. Meter upgrades are available if further metrics are needed.
Operators are constantly seeking new solutions for reducing network downtime and operating costs. Demand is high for remotely operated single pole circuit breakers rather than traditional fuses. These help enable the remote and automatic operation of light voltage networks, providing them with remote power measurement for load management.
Schneider Electric’s solution is the PAM500, a 500A single phase circuit breaker designed for low voltage automation. It utilises Schneider Electric’s Compact NSX circuit breaker, enables remote operation and indicates when maintenance is required or when there is a fault on the network.
Seth Townsley, marketing manager at Schneider Electric, said ‘Our EcoStruxure philosophy is to deliver connectivity and, thus, improved efficiency at every level of our customers’ industries. As a technology leader, we are delighted to drive innovation and take monitoring fuseways to the next level.
‘With so much riding on consistent, reliable power it is crucial that operators have all the monitoring and automation tools they need. Curative maintenance is becoming a thing of the past, a last resort when problems have been found too late. The iPENDA and PAM500 will help operators stay on the front foot when it comes to maintenance, reducing their capital expenditure and helping consumers keep the lights on.”