The next generation of energy transmission – The beneficial role of digitalisation in power grids

Today's networks require more complex and reliable controlling algorithms, and sometimes an agile architecture could be the right choice

byPuneet H. Singh, Fabrizio Negri, Ronny Fritsche

The next generation of energy transmission


The electrical transmission and distribution (T&D) market is quickly transitioning to new technologies. This trend includes incorporating different power generation methods, serving more people, operating in a fast and effective way, reducing losses and increasing overall efficiency. Additionally, businesses are stressing the importance of continuity of the power supply. Any loss of power, however brief, takes a huge toll on the bottom line. Reducing failures, increasing productivity, and maximising resources are also priorities.

These factors lead to an exponential increase in the complexity of energy transmission systems. On the one hand, operators are working to maximise profits by increasing productivity (revenue). On the other, they are reducing expenses (loss of earnings, penalties, failure-related costs). To meet these objectives, operators are now investing in advanced monitoring and data acquisition systems to ensure effective use of the equipment and increased reliability. They are investing in intelligent systems, such as smart and digital grids, that can optimally manage the flow of energy.


Today’s networks require more complex and reliable controlling algorithms, and sometimes an agile architecture could be the right choice


In this context, the digital 4.0 revolution is helping to meet and solve the requirements of T&D systems operators. Today, modern substations continuously generate and remotely transfer data to a control room. They also provide control of installed assets in real-time. These substations can assess the overall status of these assets and make decisions on their short-term performance or even identify the need to replace them. The most attractive and demanding challenge is to combine an analogue electrical transmission with a digital system. In the past, these systems were merged with great difficulty. The first generation of sensors was simply not strong enough against the electromagnetic environment of the high voltage substations. However, the rapid advancement in robust, reliable, and cost-effective sensors is paving the way for the digital transition of the power transmission industry.

This paper describes how this digital revolution can work together with traditional electrical grid infrastructures and how it beneficially addresses the system operator’s needs.



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