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Innovative Technology Can Increase Grid Reliability for Utilities – Which is Good News for Everyone

Even a short power outage can cause chaos for those affected by it. Residents are plunged into darkness, businesses lose access to data, and manufacturers can have their production lines shut down. The productivity and financial costs can be significant.

The causes of power outages are varied and complicated, however in today’s market, there are innovative technologies that can help electric utilities maintain grid resiliency. 

What Causes Power Outages? 

Broadly speaking there are two main types of power outages. They are:

  • Unplanned outages. These are the most common types of outages and can happen for many reasons, including equipment failure, human error, and severe weather conditions such as flooding and bushfires. No matter the cause, when these outages occur, widespread damage is inflicted on the grid, commonly affecting large geographical areas. 
  • Planned outages. Planned outages are necessary for tasks like maintenance, system upgrades, or replacing old or damaged equipment.

Falling under the category of unplanned outages are disturbances that are caused by fluctuations in the grid. These are becoming more common as we integrate distributed energy resources (DER) like wind and solar into the network. This change is key to decarbonisation, but it does present some complications for electrical distribution systems. These challenges include: 

  • Difficulty in accurately forecasting variable DER
  • A decrease in reliability and power quality if DER are not properly managed
  • Controlling and balancing peak demand with the growing adoption of electric vehicles (EV)
  • Balancing the load using additional flexibility and demand response solutions
  • Managing the growing complexity of the grid, as well as increases in electricity consumption

As a result, unplanned outages are becoming more frequent, creating a need for electric utilities to have visibility and control over DERs and the grid.

Overcoming the challenges of a complex energy network

To manage the disruption of DERs, Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure DERMS can help centralise management and control. With grid constraint optimisation at its core, EcoStruxure DERMS is a solution that allows utilities to orchestrate distributed generation and delivery of electricity while improving safety, reliability, and quality. Through EcoStruxure DERMS, optimised dispatch of DER resources can be leveraged to resolve immediate issues and prevent future grid constraint violations. 

Schneider Electric