When it comes to Safety, History is on Your Side
Protective relay systems have been in place for more than 100 years, and today’s relay settings and logic are the most intricate. A protective relay is a device that recognises an abnormal condition in the electrical network.
In the power grid, many of the protective relays turn off the current during times in which a dangerous surge occurs. Through electromagnets, it then triggers the circuit breaker to cut the power to isolate the problem from the rest of the grid. The relay can also switch on a larger current with only a small current.
The placement of protective relays in the power grid are determined through a method called relay settings and logic, represented in line drawings. A relay logic circuit outlines an electrical network by depicting the flow of electricity as lines and rungs. Every line and rung must have continuity to trigger the output device. The diagram includes the input as well as the output conditions.
A Short History
Overcurrent trip devices were first introduced in 1905. Later, in 1968, simple microprocessors were introduced into the power grid to maintain safe operation. Analog computers were used to monitor currents and voltages. Today, relays are complicated multifunctional devices that can detect the smallest variance in an operational capacity. Now that the speed of our digital computers has increased, it gives us the ability to analyze many different circumstances effectively including system load flow, short circuits, and the stability of the overall system.
The Intricacies of the System Matter
Reliability, security, speed, and efficient running of the system is at the heart of all relay settings and logic. The devices have evolved from electromechanical to multifunctional digital tools that are state of the art. Their primary role is to protect the smart grid power system. Problems may stem from a short circuit or an abnormal operational fault.
There are two types of programs for setting modern protective relays: Relay coordination programs and relay setting programs. The relay coordination program calculates the idiosyncrasies, ratings and settings of the protection devices. Once the settings are correctly set in the software, with a minimum unfaulty load the device will locate and isolate the problem from the power grid.
With relay settings program, the software technician or engineer can replicate all the system’s setting procedures. Often a standard setting is used at first and the over time the setting may be refined.
According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, some specific failures that can occur include:
- Failure of current or voltage signal to the relays
- DC supply failure
- Failure of the relay itself:
- Hardware components
- Power supply
- Failure of a fuse
- Failure of circuit breaker (tripping circuit or mechanism, or signal to trip the breaker)
With careful management of your power grid by a reputable company, these failures can be avoided, minimized or managed with limited disturbance to the power supply.
The Changing Grid System: A Look into the Future
Today, nowhere are relay settings and logic more important than in smart grids that consist of large generation plants that provide power to consumers at great distances largely through a one-way transmission and distribution system in a hierarchical organization. As technology evolves and advances, the power network of the future will be very different. “Grid companies will need to invest in smart technologies that enhance grid automation, optimize power usage and improve asset management,” predicts BCG.
First and foremost, it will be a two-way communication system in which power is generated by many small plants as well as some existing large plants integrated into a network system. Input may be in many different forms, from traditional to the emerging sources of wind, solar, and geothermal power, and even tide action. The grid will be smart with self-healing capabilities. The smart power grid requires a two-way communication system as well as sensors along the transmission lines so it can respond with lightning-fast speed to any issues including outages to quickly changing electric demands.
Relay settings and logic will be controlled by artificial intelligent (AI) software. The AI software capabilities almost instantly recognize patterns in electrical systems to determine normal operational parameters from issues that could jeopardize the system. Once the software recognizes any abnormal behaviour in the system, the software predicts this as a potential disaster situation and alerts the engineers of the problem.
Predictive Analytics for Preventive Maintenance
This method of predictive analytics is currently used in a variety of circumstances. “Using analytics and visualisation to improve situational awareness, utilities can better understand factors affecting asset performance and more accurately project how much useful life remains or what other points in the grid could be affected by an outage,” as reported by Computer Weekly The relay setting and logic are essential components that provide data for the analysis.
Keeping the Lights on and the Systems Running
The AI-powered smart grid will move the energy industry into an unprecedented time of reliability, availability, and efficiency that will fuel our economy and environmental health. As a result, relay settings and logic will continue to have a critical role in the design of the smart grid. Their capabilities will be continuously refined for speed, adaptability, and smart functions.
Speed of detection provides excellent protection in emergency situations, while versatility can increase the use of the grid to run in the least costly way as possible. The benefits, as a result of the continued development of relay settings and logic capabilities, along with other smart aspects, include:
- Faster, more efficient transmission of electricity
- Quicker restoration of power following an outage
- Reduced costs overall through the implementation of best practices for efficiency
- Encouragement for the development of new types of renewable energy sources
- Encouragement for the inclusion of customer power generation
- Increased security
Imagine the Possibilities of a Smart System!
In the event of emergency situations caused by severe weather, earthquakes, solar flares, flooding or even a terrorist attack, the smart system will be able to:
- Isolate the specific area almost instantaneously to prevent large-scale blackouts in the rest of the system;
- Reroute energy to the area suffering the outage; and
- Draw upon reserves of customer-generated electricity to compensate for the loss of energy production. This will redirect power to essential services such as hospitals, police, fire and other emergency responders, as well as maintain communication systems and support the population by keeping grocery stores and water plants functional.
The smart grid will encourage the development of national self-reliance by encouraging environment-friendly power, thereby reducing dependence on outside sources for power generation.
The smart grid will be more customer-focused by:
- Providing more detailed information in real time about their power usage, enabling them to better plan their energy consumption and potentially result in cost reductions.
- Sharing knowledge about the devices that customers use. During times of peak power usage, certain operations can be scheduled to coincide with the cheapest rates for energy, possible even in the middle of the night.
Are you looking for a trustworthy and expert company that embraces the future by using state-of-the-art equipment, techniques, and designs in relay settings and logic in your power grid? We can help you! Contact us today.