Distributed Monitoring uses IOT to enable data driven practices for utilties

Same Network – New Problems

The distribution network is a huge asset, distributed over a wide area. Whilst  much of this asset hasn’t changed for decades, the use of it is changing very rapidly. With the introduction of distributed energy resources (DERs), reduced budgets and high performance expectations a new paradigm shift has been required to address the growing challenges. Doing things the way they have been historically done is not enough – utilities now need data more than ever to make best use of their assets – both the physical assets and the people who manage and operate them.

Keep Electricity Safe

We must protect both the public and employees who live and work around electrical assets. These hazards may range from downed conductors through to bush fires and wildfires that threaten property and life.

Broken Neutral Detection – detect broken or damaged conductors, including service neutrals. Identifying these issues early can save lives.

Fallen Conductors & High Impedance Faults – use real time waveform analysis and anomaly detection to detect downed conductors, high impedance faults and back-fed faults  – allowing a speedy response.

Vegetation Management – detecting small repetitive faults enhances vegetation management plans and helps prevent fires.

Keep the Lights On

High reliability is demanded from the power network.  Asset managers and maintenance teams can use data to improve their methods of keeping the lights on and reducing SAIDI and SAIFI.

Fault Location -Smart Fault Passage Indicators can immediately provide fault location information to shorten outage times.

ADMSADMS needs data to  rapidly switch the network to reconnect as many customers as possible after a fault.

Asset Condition Monitoring – Pole tilt, transformer temperature and conductor vibration are examples of data from around the distribution network that are being used to detect incipient faults.

Do More with Less

Everyone is driven to reduce cost and increase performance. This paradox demands new tools to help leverage our assets and teams much more efficiently. Using data-driven processes, we can do more with less.

Planning– With granular network data, planning for asset upgrades can be made with certainty and well in advance.

Network Capacity– Whether it’s network load or solar PV hosting capacity, maximize the full capabilities of the network infrastructure.

Theft Detection – Correlate billing data with measured network data to find the cracks where revenue is going missing.

Enable the Low Carbon Transition

Sustainability has never been a more important consideration than today. Electricity networks are being expected to be the backbone that makes new low-carbon and distributed resources work seamlessly.

Closed Loop Voltage Control – Substation OLTCs can be controlled using measured network voltages to reduce voltage excursions as DERs are pushing voltages up.

DER Orchestration – Remotely control inverters and other energy systems to balance the grid and keep the network stable.

Granular Demand Management  – From rate limiting EV chargers to reducing AC load on a hot day, demand management is no longer a blunt instrument. Peak shave and keep customers on while deferring upgrades.

Communications

Low-Power Wide-Area Networks (LPWAN) deliver a new class of connectivity that offers lower cost wireless solutions for widespread IOT type applications.

Our platform supports a variety of communications options to fit your needs:

Cellular LTE-M / NB-IOT is widespread and the narrow-band services provide lower costs and wider coverage than traditional cellular services. Both LTE-M and NB-IOT are being adopted into the 5G standards for long service life. With options for VPNs and private APNs, cellular can be offered as a segregated and secure network.

AMI Mesh offers utilities with advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) mesh networks to use the existing private infrastructure. With current support for the Iron Milli and Riva radios.

LoRaWAN is an emerging technology in the utility space. With both public and private network options, it offers the ability for users to build their own network, or leverage third party providers that may offer alternative backbone networks such as cellular or satellite uplink.

Software Instance

The head-end software maintains connection to the monitoring devices, and provides the central point for authentication, data collection and storage, device management, reporting, automation and analytics, and sharing the data with other services via communications protocols such as DNP3 or data APIs.

DR Cloud Hosted – Dynamic Ratings can provide secure Monitoring as a Service hosting capability on our own cloud computing provider. DR will maintain the software and security as required by your organisation to ensure a seamless end-to-end solution that works out of the box.

Customer Cloud Hosted – The software instance may be installed on a customer cloud service, that is managed by the end customer. We currently have support for Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure, however the software can be adapted to any VPS provider.

On-Premise Installation – For some utilities, nothing beats having the data sitting in a box under a desk or in a server rack. Our software architecture supports on-premise installation for situations where this is the only available option. We will work with your team to provision and manage the software as the project proceeds.

Software Power

Our head-end software is the core of the monitoring system, and enables the advanced functionality offered by our distributed monitoring service that set us aside from a regular IOT device supplier.

The software platform provides the core services:

Device Management – Manage, monitor and update the vast fleet of monitoring sensor assets. Automated reporting for sensors with issues, advanced automation of firmware and settings updates for targeted implementations.

Data Analysis – from basic trending and CSV data export through to implementing your own analytics on our automation engine – make full use of the data that is being collected. Our micro-service architecture allows for creation of custom services for complex analytics where necessary.

Data Integration – Whether it’s bringing data in or sharing data out of the system, we provide a multitude of traditional and industry standard interfaces including DNP3, RESTful API, AWS Kinesis among others. Where necessary custom data connectors can be develop ed, and we have a variety of integrations with third party utility systems.

Case Study: Closing the Control Loop

Traditional substation voltage control is based on measurement of the station bus voltage. To combat voltage drop in the network, schemes such as line drop compensation are used to boost the voltage up an approximate amount based on the average network impedance. A utility has successfully demonstrated the benefits of using measured voltages from around the network to select the best possible tap position at the substation. This has resulted in optimised tap changing and far fewer voltage excursions – improving regulatory compliance.

Learn how to get network wide voltage measurement ▶

Case Study: A New View of Assets

By leveraging flexible wireless cameras, coupled with cloud image classification, fleet-wide oil level monitoring was made possible. As a non-intrusive way of converting visual information into actionable data (combined with automated reporting and notifications), this camera system enabled an otherwise impossible project attain success.

Learn more about the OLM ▶