The energy transition for the growth of renewable energies necessarily involves smart grids, with automated equipment that allows to efficiently control the various flows of electricity. Aligned with its strategy of contributing to the decarbonization and innovation in the sector, Neoenergia is developing smart sensors for 69 kV electrical grids, in high voltage, with national technology. The initiative is part of the Research and Development (R&D) program, regulated by the National Agency of Electric Energy (Aneel), and has as partners in this project the Lactec Institute and Tecsys.
The sensors created in the project monitor the lines' main information, such as current, power factor, and surge current. In addition, they identify power failures in an automatic way. "Our goal is to develop a national technology that accelerates the modernization process of our grids and contributes to innovation in the national electrical sector. This smart sensor has among its advantages the improvement of the quality of services for customers, since it allows for the solution of problems in a quick and assertive way", says the corporate manager of Research and Development at Neoenergia, José Antonio Brito.
The device is formed by three sensors, one for each phase of the power grid, and a concentrator unit, installed on the pole or structure of the transmission line. The sensors and the concentrator communicate by radio frequency. The concentrator sends all the information measured by the set periodically to the Operations Center, by means of a cellular, radio, satellite or fiber optic network.
The first equipment for testing has already been installed in the city of Barreiras by Coelba, Neoenergia's distributor in Bahia. Another nine units will be tested, the next ones in Itapeva and Votuporanga, cities in São Paulo that are in Elektro's concession area.
The equipment sends an alarm to the distributor's Operations Center when there is a power outage or possible problems. This alert points out the exact location, leading to a faster solution. In addition, the national technology that is being developed by Neoenergia, periodically sends information about the grid for monitoring, which is a differential, since other models available in the market, in general, indicate only the power outage. The sensor also informs about its operating conditions, such as the state of charge of the batteries and maintenance alarms.
With this data, the distributor can act more quickly if there is a problem in the grid, reducing the time of interruption in supply. Thus, the use of the sensor can reflect in the improvement of the quality of services, represented by the indicators established by the regulatory agency: DEC (Equivalent Duration of Interruption) and FEC (Equivalent Frequency of Interruption), i.e., the time and frequency that consumers are without service if there is a failure. Besides that, with the monitoring of data on the network in an automated way, the new equipment enables the measurement of electrical losses.
In another project, Neoenergia developed a pioneering model of smart sensor for medium voltage grids, up to 34.5 kV, which had its commercialization started in 2016. Today, the company already has 2,245 sets of smart sensors installed in four distributors, 1,359 in Coelba, 574 in Celpe, 140 in Cosern and 172 in Elektro. "Our goal is to foster the development of technologies that can be used both by our concessionaires and the market, contributing to the national electric sector by creating efficient products with lower costs", says José Antonio Brito.
The two initiatives are part of a Neoenergia project for the development of national technology for intelligent electrical networks, which encompasses products such as the qualmeter,equipment to measure the quality of energy delivered to customers, or the multilink concentrator,a device that serves as a link between equipment in the field and the operation centers and datacenters.