Faced with undergoing radical change at an unprecedented pace, utilities remain committed to providing stable, uninterrupted, quality power to their customers. This customer-focused mission demands a nimble approach. Power generation, transmission and distribution is evolving to incorporate renewables, battery storage, electric vehicle charging, and other advancements. At the same time, climate change is delivering extreme weather events that can both damage the grid and cause unmanageable loads and surges in demand. With all of these shifts underway, how disruptions are detected and dealt with must also undergo transformation.
There is no question that grid performance is an increasingly complex system. Integrating renewables, and managing multi-directional energy flow, create new challenges. The emerging technologies driving grid innovation require an equally sophisticated approach to capturing and measuring data across multiple sources, and the industry is taking note. Two-thirds of North American utility companies who participated in a recent Zypryme / Micatu survey and about how they use data said reducing response times is one of the main reasons they want to use data to drive innovation. And, more than half of them want to use data to improve responses during disasters and to be able to better forecast changes. Whether it’s backflow from DERs, dirty power from connected devices, or an extreme weather event, quickly gathering comprehensive, quality information is essential to minimizing outages and achieving swift solutions.
Without accurate, comprehensive tools to “read” the grid’s health, utilities disadvantage their efforts to identify and respond to real-time internal and external disruptions. Optical sensors – which yield exponential visibility to otherwise untapped data across the grid – offer an innovative solution.
Unlike traditional power and current transformers (PTs and CTs), which rely on electrons passing through fragile copper windings that can get oversaturated, Micatu’s optical sensing platform measures voltage, current, temperature and vibration by passing light through a crystal. Not only is this safer, it also yields unprecedented accuracy - up to +/- 0.5%. Micatu optical sensors transmit 15,000 samples per cycle for data analysis, compared to only 32 samples per cycle from legacy solutions. What’s more, they have the ability to measure harmonics to the 250th on voltage, and to the 11th on current.
The wealth of quality data captured through optical sensing gives utilities actionable intelligence, so they can take immediate action. It’s a level of insight that can help utilities repair or replace equipment before it fails, respond to supply and demand in real-time, predict problems before they arise, and curtail inefficiencies. Micatu’s optical sensing platform gives utilities the data they need, where they need it, when they need it, allowing them to be more proactive and armed to avoid the next outage.
Visit Micatu.com to learn more about how Micatu’s optical sensing can help utilities achieve greater safety, reliability and resiliency.