Over the last twenty years, the telecommunications sector in India has undergone a major revolution. Today, India is the world’s second-largest telecommunications market with a subscriber base of 1.16 billion (Source: India Brand Equity Foundation). Over the next five years, rise in mobile phone penetration and decline in data costs is expected to add 500 million users in India, opening up new avenues for business across sectors.
At the same time, energy costs for telecom operators are considerably high. Research from McKinsey revealed that at the end of 2018, energy costs accounted for around 5% for operating expenditures. In markets with low electricity grid coverage, energy costs can account for around 7% of operating expenditures. Therefore, telecom providers are looking for ways to reduce energy costs.
In a previous blog, we discussed the deployment of an energy management system (EMS) at an electricity distribution utility in India. In this blog, we will see how EMS solutions can be effectively used to monitor and analyze energy data and therefore, reduce energy costs.
Background of the Case
In this instance, a major player in the telecommunications sector sought to trial state-of-the-art IoT technologies for energy monitoring and analysis. The customer, headquartered in Mumbai, has a distribution substation for their office building electrification. However, they do not have automation systems enabled for their 11kV/440 V secondary distribution substation for energy monitoring and analysis. Installation of this IoT system was also part of an overarching project of 5G Digital Energy Innovation focused on: a) improving internal operational efficiency and b) creating new business ventures for 5G backhaul.
As the customer required an IoT based solution to monitor their assets in real time, we used our proprietary sensors. Transformers are a critical part of the electrical network in a substation with high maintenance and troubleshooting costs. In order to avoid failures and long downtimes transformers need to be maintained in a good condition. Smart Transformer Energy Monitor (STEM) is a state-of-the-art sensor provides for real time monitoring of transformers – a necessary condition for proper maintenance. STEM is installed to monitor transformer’s LV secondary electrical parameters and other parameters such as oil level, oil temperature, winding temperature, loading condition, transformer loss, Buchholz relay status, alarms, etc.
To achieve grid stability and reliability of supply, each incoming and outgoing feeder must be monitored and analyzed on real time basis. For this, Substations Energy Efficiency Device (SEED) is an appropriate, state-of-the-art sensor. With SEED and Multi SEED, incoming and outgoing feeders are monitored. Data such as voltage, current, active power, reactive power, apparent power, power factor, etc., along with breaker status. This information is represented visually in the form of graphs and tables so as to enable grid operators to analyze the data effectively. The system is powered by multiple algorithms and analytics which can predict the occurrence of any abnormality.
We installed 2 nos of SEED, 3 nos of STEM and 1 Multi SEED to monitor’s the substation assets in real time. Multi SEED is installed to monitor 4 feeders at a time which can collect the electrical parameters of the feeders including each feeder’s breaker and relay status. Information collected by SEED, STEM and Multi SEED is transferred to the cloud database with the help of secure cellular connectivity. Data is stored and analyzed to identify energy patterns, asset health condition, real time relays and alarm status. This data is useful to manage demand and supply of the customer’s electrical grid, monitor asset health to avoid major failures, instant notification of alerts on any occurrence of an abnormality.
Challenges faced by SCOPE Engineers
The biggest challenge faced while installing this EMS solution related to the monitoring of winding temperature of dry type transformer. This was the first-time winding temperature of dry type transformer was to be monitored. The task of integrating the existing instrument with STEM was complicated by the unstable nature of 4-20m Amp signal of the existing WTI instrument. In order to meet this challenge, we analyzed the instability of the signal pattern with the help of STEM and Grid Analytics Platform (GAP). In this way we were able to compensate the signal through calibration.
A major challenge for telecommunications services in India arises out of weak network and internet connectivity. SCOPE engineers faced this challenge during implementation of this project. Earlier, SIM cards of the customer’s competitor were used in routers to establish communication between sensors and the server, However, in this case, there was a network bandwidth issue which was solved by coordinating with the customer and ensuring that proper SIM cards were used.
Finally, while executing this project, SCOPE experts noticed that as one of the customer’s existing oil temperature sensors in one of the existing transformers was analog, oil temperature could be monitored only at the location of the transformer. In order to ensure remote monitoring from any location, we convinced the customer to install a SCOPE sensor in place of the analog oil temperature sensor.
In this way, the customer’s need for trialing an IoT solution on experimental 5G communication backhaul with an energy monitoring application for their Corporate Park network was satisfied. As a result of this project, the customer benefited in the following ways:
- Monitor real time energy consumption of each feeder and therefore, manage demand and supply of energy for their internal usage
- Notification through alerts on occurrence of any abnormal occurrence on the customer’s assets
- Analyze the quality of power supply
- Correct maintenance of critical grid assets in order to lower the probability of outages and downtime
In order to know more about SCOPE’s EMS solution, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org