Dynamic transformer load management
This is how we efficiently manage the operation of the heart of our power grid.
Transformers bring high voltage to every home
Today’s modern society would be unimaginable without electricity. The key to achieving a sustainable and climate-friendly energy system is the interaction between energy supply and demand. As electricity navigates its way through the energy system it passes through several different staging posts. A crucial point in this journey in the substations are the power transformers. Their task is to convert electricity to different voltage levels in order to make the flow of electricity from a large power plant to a small home as efficient as possible.
Optimising transformer operation
The energy transition, rising energy requirements and volatile power generation are placing ever greater demands on the transmission grid. That is why APG is making an effort to further improve its existing systems and make them more efficient. As part of this optimisation process, special attention is being paid to transformers. Operating these components is a continual balancing act that involves utilising available capacity while also trying to extend the life of equipment. The dynamic transformer load management project tackles this problem head-on.
To strike an optimum balance, a range of different sensors are used to record the main operating parameters – for instance by performing a gas-in-oil analysis (known as a DGA) or by taking the temperature or other measurements at the transformer and its bushings. The data that is generated is used alongside transformer modelling to create a detailed virtual picture of the transformer. This allows decisions to be made in real time about whether it is possible to permit the overloading of the transformer for a short specific period of time without affecting the life cycle of the asset. As a result of this modelling, the transformer can be prepared in advance of any short-term overloading, for example through targeted cooling, thereby ensuring the best possible utilisation of the transformer. To kick off, the project is getting under way with an installed monitoring system to observe and evaluate the data that has been generated.
Transformer health index
The digitalisation of our most important component in the substation – the transformer – represents a huge opportunity. It allows us to increase performance, reduce costs and risk, and extend the life of the transformer by continuously monitoring its condition (establishing its health index). This ability to gain insights into the behaviour of a transformer in real time will vastly relieve the strain on the future power grid.