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The Electricity Distribution Network
is Gearing up to Serve New Needs

by Ensto
Power-Technology, May 2, 2013

Even if the capacity of electricity distribution network is high in many countries, the quality of the electricity needs increasing attention. The network load is constantly increasing, as is the number of interference sources connected, and there are also more and more delicate devices that are easily damaged. In addition, charging points for electric vehicles will be installed in our homes and workplaces at a rapid pace.

The momentary dimming of lighting is familiar to many of us, especially if there is a farm or a workshop in the neighborhood. This phenomenon is a sign of the most typical problem with the quality of electricity: transient voltage drops. The cause is a quickly connected load on the network such as a pump, welding machine, or in fact, any device that consumes a large amount of power momentarily. The real danger still is to delicate devices, such as computers and home electronics.

Ensto Voltage Booster can attack the problem with precision

The EN 50160 standard as amended in 2011 provides generally accepted criteria for the quality of electricity to be delivered to consumers. According to this standard, the fluctuation in voltage shall be no more than ±10% of the nominal voltage, which is 230V in low-voltage networks. Adhering to these limits requires that the network companies strengthen their distribution networks, especially in sparsely populated areas, in order to guarantee electricity of uniform quality for everybody.

Increasing network capacity to fulfill the quality demands for the electricity can take too long or require substantial investments. Ensto has solved the problem by developing a Voltage Booster that can be installed in a transmission line support near the site of use. The work can be done as normal installation in less than a day, and the unit is ready for use immediately.

The consumption of electricity at the current points of use will continue to increase while, at the same time, the distribution network will expand in sparsely populated areas. Holiday homes are being equipped with electricity, and both the advances in modern conveniences and all the electronic devices being placed in these homes demand high seasonal capacity from the distribution network without any weakening of the quality. Improving the power lines or bringing the medium-voltage network closer to the point of use is no longer the only option for preventing voltage drops in cases of high load. The new Voltage Booster measures the voltage and reacts to a drop in as little as 20 milliseconds by raising the voltage to within the tolerance required by the standards. The new solution is a significant step in building intelligent electricity networks, since it enables provision of high-quality electricity for all customers, regardless of fluctuations in consumption.

Electric vehicles are bringing an extensive, nationwide charging network

The driving of electric vehicles and building of a charging network will speed up this year. The reasons for this lie in the growing supply of serial-manufacture electric vehicles, the new standards for charging interfaces, and new charging software with various control options. The infrastructure and added services open new business opportunities for energy and network companies.

Ensto is one of the pioneers of charging technology. The Ensto Chago product family offers solutions for normal and fast electric-vehicle charging for public and private parking areas alike. The Ensto Chago charging point is sufficient whether one is charging at home, in residential parking facilities, or at the office.

A long charging time at home or at the office allows the option of intelligent charging control in which the load of the electricity network is taken into consideration. Regulation of the charging power can aid in balancing the load, smoothing out peaks indicated by the intelligent electrical network. In later stages of the network's development, the charging control system will be able to use the electric vehicle's battery for the power needs of the building and thus avoid placing a burden on the network and requiring higher prices for electricity. We are not at this stage yet, but the agents in the field have already started organising themselves, and the necessary basic technology already exists.

The Electricity Distribution Network is Gearing up to Serve New Needs
Power-Technology, May 2, 2013

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