Smart Grid for distribution systems

The concept of a Smart Grid for distribution systems has revolutionized the way the distribution system operates. In the past, the distribution system functioned independently, relying on basic manual and automation settings, which can now be referred to as local intelligence. Initially, automation was primarily implemented in generation and transmission systems, but its applications have expanded to include distribution systems as well.

A noteworthy example of local intelligence is the coordination between reclosers and sectionalizers. In the event of a local error, the recloser effectively initiates a series of closing operations before locking. Additionally, the operation of a capacitor bank switch is determined by local signals, such as voltage levels, power factors, or even time. These advancements in local intelligence have greatly enhanced the efficiency and reliability of distribution systems.

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Smart Grid for distribution systems for improved power system efficiency
Source: GE

In response to the growing demand for improved power system reliability and efficiency, distribution systems have more recently been automated. The Smart Grid policy requirements outlined in the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of December 2007 provide all distribution automation stakeholders with a greater understanding of the benefits and challenges of distribution automation. In the 1980s, distribution systems began to receive more attention, which gave rise to the concept of smart grids.

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Smart Grid for distribution systems: improved power system efficiency

Prior to that, the majority of focus was on the generation and transmission systems. Figure 1.1, taken from Arthur C.M. Chen’s paper “Automatic power distribution” and published by the IEEE Spectrum in April 1982, depicts the projected distribution system.

This paper anticipates the prompt detection and isolation of a malfunctioning feeder, as well as a reduction in the number of time crews, must spend locating and repairing them.

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It also refers to the improvement of dispersed storage and generation systems, also known as distributed generation (DSG). This paper concludes by emphasizing the significance of distribution automation to maintain supply reliability and reduce operating costs. It will be fascinating to observe how all of these provisions are implemented.

Digital technologies must be highly developed if the aforementioned Smart Grid objectives, namely increased reliability, security, and efficiency, are to be attained. Among the significant obstacles facing the development of the Smart Grid are the implementation costs and the establishment of new standards by regulatory bodies.

About Smart Grid for distribution systems

Interoperability standards will undoubtedly allow for the operation of highly interconnected systems, including distributed power generation. The vast array of technologies produced by a multitude of vendors presents a second significant obstacle to Smart Grid implementation and distribution automation.

Before beginning a comprehensive project, it is strongly recommended that any utility establish a proper development path. The maturity model discussed in the previous chapter aids in the development of this plan. The implementation of the new Smart Grid technology will result in alterations that must be addressed.

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Smart Grid has the great advantage of enabling two-way communication, i.e., between the utility and the user and the user and the utility. This will facilitate a friendlier and more efficient relationship between the user and the utility. The latter will be able to monitor and manage each user’s small equipment. Information on consumption levels, newly available tariffs, and load management schemes will be of great benefit to users. This requires a robust communication system that is adaptable and dependable.

A small generator connection in a distribution feeder, for instance, will carry a possible short-circuit current in two directions, so the feeder should not be considered radially longer.

A small generator connection in a distribution feeder, for instance, will carry a possible short-circuit current in two directions, so the feeder should not be considered radially longer. To avoid asynchronous closings, it is necessary to examine the closing feature’s flaws thoroughly. Similarly, the connection of an electric vehicle (EV) charging station will alter the normal operation of the feeder.

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The capability of Smart Grid to enable communication in both directions, that is, between the utility and the user as well as between the user and the utility, is one of its most significant advantages. Because of this, the connection between the user and the utility will be able to improve in terms of both friendliness and efficiency. That is all about the Smart Grid for distribution systems, Thank you.

Source: Distribution System Analysis and Automation