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The Smart Grid will provide tools and information essential to the solution or at least reducing these losses to an acceptable level, if there is acceptable level for this. Today this division between Technical and Commercial losses that the proportion of 58% for Technical losses and 42% for Commercial losses. The control of Technical and Commercial losses of electricity needs to be rigorously implemented and monitored in the distribution companies and electric utilities. The Utilities must therefore be able to identify the losses by type -- Technical or Commercial -- and where they occur, to try to reach the optimum level of losses.
In relation to Commercial losses, the optimal level is zero, i.e., the ideal is that all energy is actually delivered to customers billed correctly.
The Commercial losses are the easiest to be identified, but not so easiest to be eliminated. The good relationship between utilities and consumers is a powerful tool and combined with other initiatives of cultural and behavioral change is key to its reduction.
Already, in relation to Technical losses, the optimal level is a function of topology and net length, materials and equipment used, the behavior of the load (balance, load factor, demand maximum permissible loading level, etc.) The assessment of quality and reliability of supply of electricity is a concern common to electric utilities, and is directly related to the losses Techniques which require simple and reliable indicators that measure the quality of electricity supply to the target well investments and resolve issues.
The Reactive Power and Power Factor are the main factors for the increase in Technical losses and poor power quality.
The Reactive Power produces an increase in losses in the power grid and reduces the voltage level on consumers. It can be assumed that the transmission lines and power distribution are sources of reactive power due to its reactance.
These energies include reactive two parcels, namely:
Reactive Energy Inductive
Capacitive reactive Energy
The Power Factor must be controlled so that it remains within limits of 0.92 inductive to 0.92 capacitive. His assessment is hourly for 24 hours. The lower the power factor, more power is required to meet the same number of consumers.
To correct and compensate Reactive Power consumption and low Power Factor, capacitor banks are installed along the distribution lines, the definition of location of capacitor banks is crucial to its good performance.
The most significant Technical losses in distribution system occur in the primary drivers in distribution transformers and secondary conductors, and are generally neglected the losses in the branches connecting the consumer.
Technical losses represent a significant share in the cost matrix of distribution systems and, therefore, have always had great prominence in planning studies of electric utilities, especially in recent years due to energy conservation programs.
Technical losses in distribution systems are directly related to consumers' load curves, which vary due to seasonality and / or rapid changes in load over the year, resulting in uncertainty in determining the amount of losses. These uncertainties can be determined from the elaboration of a decision support system that considers the random nature of load curves through a set of measurements along the feeders.
The determination of the electrical losses in transmission and distribution systems can be performed by different processes.
In transmission systems, losses are estimated by studies of power flow and energy balance through the segment.
In distribution systems, the vast majority of utility companies using, among other procedures, such as network management, power flow, processes and statistical geometric models.
The methodology used by utilities, is to calculate the Technical losses by segment in the distribution system (power meter, household connection network secondary distribution transformer, the primary network and distribution substation) within a policy of calculating monthly periodical.
Energy losses affect the amount of energy retained by the distributor. These costs, as well as the industry charges and other costs are recognized as "unmanageable" and thus given directly to final consumer tariffs, known as "pass through", because the amounts and variations are beyond the control of the distributor.
These costs are passed on to prices, i.e., the larger the Technical and Commercial losses, the greater the rate of energy.
The control of Technical and Commercial losses of electricity needs to be rigorously implemented and monitored in Utilities. The inefficiency and waste must be constantly fought with programs and activities and effective date. The cost is very high for Utilities that neglect. The occurrences of theft and fraud, with the consequent loss of business, have hampered the efforts of utilities to regularize the supply and proper collection of electric service to consumers.
This is an issue that can bring more interest to the complete and expected entry of the Utilities in the sector Smart Grid with own money.
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So far the Environmental appeal has been the lever of projects involving Smart Grid and the Political implications too.
But Utilities only put money own these projects, if they are convinced of the possible financial returns and increased profits. Today, the losses in the electricity sector are divided into media as follows: 1-Technical Losses - 52% 2-Commercial Losses - 48%
In Technical Losses the Distributed Automation - DA - has a key role, only with real-time information of its assets, is that the utilities could reduce these losses.
Commercial Losses vision is a little different, involves administrative efficiency, promotional campaigns and a better relationship with consumers. Allied to these actions comes across technology AMR / AMI, DSM, Demand Response, and all the management tools. If you build a platform that meets the Utilities and also serves its entire range of consumers, the path to a successful business model is ready.
Consumers are a diverse group, if you have a vision of how to meet these different classes of consumers, and what tools to use for each class of consumer, Commercial Losses can be reduced to a minimum.
The reduction of Technical and Commercial Losses for Utilities has more impact than the Environmental appeals and others.
Joao Gomes 6.6.11
Active Energy is one that effectively produces work, examples: the lighting of a lamp, the motor turning.
The more Reactive Energy in Grid becomes less efficient Energy Distribution, control of this type of energy is essential for Utilities. Reactive Energy does not produce WORK, but it is important to create the Magnetic Flux in the coils of motors, transformers, generators and other equipment. The use of Reactive Energy should be as small as possible. Excess Reactive Energy demands, for example: driver section and larger Transformer of higher capacity, and cause LOSSES for heating and voltage drop.
Power Factor is one of the main parameters to be controlled in the Distribution Energy and is the relationship between Active Energy and the Total Energy consumed. It shows the relationship Consumer Unit consumes electricity properly or not, because it relates to efficient use of Active and Reactive Energy of an electrical installation, one of the main indicators of energy efficiency.
The Power Factor close to 1 - one - indicates little Reactive Energy consumption compared to Active Energy. Since the Active Energy is one that actually performs the tasks, the closer to unit 1 - one - Power Factor is better, and the greater the efficiency of the electric sector, however the legislation adopted as the reference value of 0.92.
On Consumers in Low Voltage there is no current control of Reactive Power and Power Factor. On Consumers of Media and High Voltage these parameters are already controlled, but a Low Power Factor in Low Voltage reflected in the Media Voltage
Effects of Low Power Factor -Variations in voltage, which can cause burning of electrical equipment; -Conductors-Heated; -Loss of Energy; -Reducing the use of the capacity of Distribution Transformers.
If the utilities can not control these parameters, the useful Life Time of their assets are compromised and as a direct consequence of the increased cost of their rates. Smart Grid is not only Smart Meters, Special Rates, AMR/AMI, DSM and Demand Response.
The Quality and Reliability of Distributed Energy is severely affected by these parameters. So invest in control of these parameters represents a decrease COSTS and increase PROFITS.
Malcolm Rawlingson 6.16.11
All large power grids already have sophisticated schemes to control power factor as close to 1 as possible using capacitor banks and large generators operating as synchronous condensers. The problem is that when a consumer turns on a motor it consumes both active (kilowatts) and reactive (kilovars) but only the kilowatts produce useful work. Most household metering systems only measure the active power consumed not the reactive power consumed so essentially the magnetic fields of motors is provided to the consumer free.
In practice it is impossible to get a power factor of 1 where devices that use reactive power are connected to the grid. Of course you are correct that controlling the power factor close to 1 does indeed save money for the distribution system but the other losses in the long distance transmission of electricity dwarf it.
The "I squared R" heating losses due to resistance of long distance power lines are significant also and is the reason why new power lines are operated at 500kV where possible. Systems of 1000kV are technically feasible but the transmission towers need to be higher and further apart to obtain the necessary air insulation between the conductors.
My feeling is that as all of these grid infrastructure costs including MVAR and line losses are passed on to the consumer in the form of higher rates there will come a point where the cost of distributed energy solutions are lower than the grid connected system. Solid Oxide Fuel Cells that convert natural gas to electricity and hot water at a 60 to 70% efficiency are starting to enter the marketplace and once the costs fall (as they will) grid distribution may well become a thing of the past.
After all nobody really likes power lines do they.
Joao Gomes 6.17.11
You are correct, Distributed Generation will become increasingly important in the topology of power distribution. Generate Power as close as possible to the consumer should be a priority in the coming decades.
But I believe we still have some development in the area of materials of Super Conductivity.
Malcolm Rawlingson 6.17.11
I agree Joao, with one caveat.
Super conducting power lines are very expensive at the moment and have only been used where transmission towers are difficult or impossible to erect. That is in large cities using underground lines where if increased capacity is desired superconducting wires are the only alternative - whatever the cost.
For anything else transmission towers are king. The technology is not quite there yet although I do expect that to change.
But what I fear is that with the introduction of gas fired solid oxide fuel cells as a household appliance the grid will become too expensive for people to connect to. Most city dwellers are already connected to the gas grid and if they can produce all their own electricity and hot water with a perfectly silent highly efficient machine why would they continue to be dependent on an archaic distribution system of wires held up on wooden poles hundreds of miles from the generator that get blown down by wind and knocked over by trees.
A move to distributed generation is a much more likely scenario than the wholesale replacement of transmission wires with superconductors. And of course that will be the end of transmission towers which people dislike even more than windmills.
Joao Gomes 6.18.11
Consumers will only for new solutions power generation if they have confidence that these solutions are reliable and safe.
The lifestyle of our society is based on energy consumption, today we stay one week without power, our lives will become a chaos!.
Malcolm Rawlingson 6.21.11
I agree with that Joao. Consumers will require any power producing device to be quiet, unobtrusive, reliable, safe and reasonably priced....at least as good if not better than what they have now. SOFC's are quiet, they are unobtrusive, tests so far show good reliability but we will wait and see if they are better than the grid, they would need to meet all the gas standards before being permitted to be sold so they are safe and finally they have to be reasonably priced. They are not quite there on price but it is getting close. Just a matter of time really.