As the era of the virtual power plant dawns, power plant safety is of foremost concern. The virtual plant is designed to manage the higher electrical loads of larger power plants. These mega-power plants are adding higher capacity conventional, renewable, and distributed power generators.
The virtual power plant aggregates these mega-power plant and small independent power loads on the cloud. Power distribution is remotely optimized across this network by balancing real-time power supply and demand. Smarter power distribution is safer by lessening electrical loads at any one point in time.
But the virtual plant is only one part of the solution to safer more efficient power distribution. Higher voltage switching gear must also be up to performing smarter tasks. While switching AC power to DC power to flow over transmission lines to homes and businesses, switching gear is adding more intelligent critical circuit protection functions.
Smarter Power Switching Gear
The recent Burbank electric plant fire ahead of the fire season in California underscores the need for smarter circuit protection in higher voltage critical applications. To that end, electrical switching gear is becoming smarter. Smarter electric system devices are providing safer circuit protection control.
Automation provides interconnectivity for real-time communication between switches and circuit devices. The smarts are in smarter control systems. They are allowing more devices to talk to each other. With smart controls, for example, 24KV vacuum circuit breaker suppliers are expanding the functionality of this critical but simple device.
Smaller and Smarter Circuit Breakers
The smarter 24KV vacuum circuit breaker is controlling other system devices. The smart circuit breaker, for example, can perform monitoring functions on other system parts. One particularly impressive feat: events that typically trip off a circuit breaker can be identified in advance.
Preventive monitoring is possible with interconnectivity between control and circuit breaking devices. The identification of malfunctions no longer depends on a manual inspection. Circuit breaker controls can detect problems in wiring and switches and send notifications in real-time.
Especially in higher voltage applications requiring 24KV vacuum circuit breakers or higher, automation can significantly reduce risks and improve safety. These equipment advances can eliminate downtime and protect other power plant equipment.
With more intelligence, the once-simple circuit breaker is following its own Moore's law. Expect the vacuum circuit breaker to continue to get smaller and smarter. When the virtual power plant arrives, smarter switching gear is ready to manage heavier electrical loads safely.