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Smart energy tools designed to improve distribution network efficacy

In international news, global smart energy services firm, Networked Energy Services Corporation (NES), have announced a set of new tools to assist utilities to map and maintain the connectivity model of their distribution networks.

Equipped with industry’s Energy Applications Platform (EAP), these applications will assist utilities in reducing network-planning costs and optimise transformer utilisation as distributed generation, which industry experts expect annual installations to double within 10 years, increases across the global energy sector.

Dubbed the ‘Low Voltage Grid Mapper’ and the ‘Energy Balancer Applications’, the energy firm will integrate these tools into its Patagonia Platform.

Smart energy tools

Headquartered in the US, the firm explained the basis of each tool in a statement: “ [The] Low Voltage Grid Mapper is the analytics foundation of the Energy Applications Platform and provides the essential visibility of the Low Voltage grid infrastructure through innovative use of features embedded throughout the field device and communication technology already deployed for smart metering projects without the use of additional sensors.

“By mapping and maintaining the low voltage grid connectivity model and optionally integrating with a GIS system, a utility can significantly reduce field operations costs by avoiding redundant site visits by using accurate information of about the topology of their electrical grid.”

“ [The] Energy Balancer allows distribution system operators to quickly assess power quality issues and load imbalances caused by residential solar and electrical vehicles charging installations.

“Utilities can take preventive action based on these insights to extend transformer life, reduce field visits, and prevent outages and avoiding costly regulatory outage penalties caused by equipment failure.”

Smart infrastructure

Lars Garpetun from Vattenfall Distribution explained the benefits of data analysis: “These Patagonia grid analytics and efficiency applications help us to better understand what additional value can be obtained with the NES Patagonia platform beyond the smart metering application benefits.

“In addition, having both the operational insights and the ability to automate and maintain the grid topology model enables us to respond to outage identification and verification significantly more efficiently.”

According to David Green, Research Manager, Smart Utilities Infrastructure at IHS Markit, in 2017 an estimated 95 million smart electricity meters will be mobilised globally.

Green attributes this mass deployment to the “pace of smart grid technology adoption accelerates.”

Data analysis

Green added: “However, the rollout of technology alone provides little return to the utilities or back to their rate-paying consumers.

“Data platforms, software, and services from smart meter vendors are therefore increasingly important within each utility’s technology roadmap in order to maximise their return from any smart grid investment.

“From helping consumers to better visualise their energy usage, to using live metering and sensor data for low voltage grid monitoring solutions, these types of solutions help DSOs to reduce distribution losses and improve quality of service.”


Featured image: Stock

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.