Power quality is a neglected subject, despite its potential to boost industry and economy. Power reliability is affected by several factors, including change in the magnitude and shape of voltage and current, harmonic distortions and frequency excursions. These issues create an unstable network, also limiting the adoption of clean and renewable energy. A lot of initiatives are being taken in the power sector for improving generation, transmission and distribution segments. In the generation segment, the focus is being shifted to renewable energy sources. Initiatives like’ ‘Power for All’ and ‘Smart Cities’ programme are expected to change the way power is transmitted, distributed and used in the years to come. However, there is one critical aspect of power supply that is falling to attention –‘Power Quality’.
Power quality issues are present in any power system in varying quantum. However, the most important ones that require immediate attention are reactive power and harmonic distortion. Harmonic currents create increased heating in electrical cables, leading the premature ageing and overstressing of electrical insulation. Meanwhile, through reactive power is essential for the functioning of any AC power system, it needs to be managed in order to reduce demand, improve voltage stability margins and reduce transmission and distribution network losses.
With the changing energy mixed due to greater integration of renewable and varying loads due to the installation of sophisticated digital equipment on consumer premises, the features of electric power equipment evolve. Electric power equipment now needs to provide for bidirectional energy flows, information exchange, and energy storage for grid stability. Also digital loads require quality power at constant frequency and voltage along with predictive forecasting. Moreover, new power market designs, regulations, and environmental and energy efficiency norms have been introduced. Further, new grid protection solutions need to be deployed in order to balance infirm renewable generation. These requirements are leading to the deployment of quality power solutions.
The development of digital substations is also the next thing for power system to improve the power quality and reliability. Digital substations comprise intelligent electronic devices with instigated information and communication technology, non-conventional instrument transformers, merging units and phasor measurement units that are interfaced with process bus and station bus architectures. The communication framework of a digital substation is based on fibre optic cables rather than the copper cables used in traditional substations.
There are lot of products and solutions available for power quality improvement. Audit is need to be undertaken to analyse network in the premises, types of loads and type of sources from where the power is coming.