Power quality: How is it improving with smart grids?
Power quality is defined as the power supplied to users continuously, without failures and without performance being affected, thanks to devices and equipment with suitable characteristics that guarantee an exemplary operation of loads.
The perception of urban and rural residential users of power quality refers more to the continuity of the supply than to anything else.
Good power quality is vital, as carbon footprint and installation costs will be minimal and connected loads will run efficiently. On the other hand, poor power quality reduces the efficiency of the electrical installation and the useful life of the loads connected.
Relationship between power quality and a smart power distribution grid
A smart grid increases the quality of the supply of electrical energy, making it more reliable. In addition, these networks can detect and isolate problems, helping the recovery of electricity, correcting anomalies, and improving the supply quality.
Smart grids provide data to both users and distributors on the operation of the network.
Environmental impacts of power quality
When the energy supplied does not fail, thanks to the flawless operation, it can be guaranteed that:
– The carbon footprint is minimal since there is less energy consumption.
– There is a reduction of greenhouse effect gases through the reduction of energy consumption.
– The geosphere is less affected because the electrical installations are located on the ground.
– Movement from one place to another is avoided.
Everyday applications of power quality
Microgrids are a clear example of these applications. They are a solution for facilities demanding a safe, efficient and high quality local power supply.
The updating of the equipment of the electrical systems improves quality as well. All this goes hand in hand with the adoption of new technologies and processes such as:
– Home automation applied to smart buildings, where the automated home allows for efficient energy use.
– A service center for learning about the network’s actual situation and acting remotely on the switches.
– Telematic counters for consumption readings in real-time, improving the efficiency of the network.
– Automation of electrical circuits.
– Maintenance of cracks or heat leaks making homes more energy-efficient.
– Use of natural light and led bulbs.
– Utilization of appropriate sensors to measure voltage, current, and other variables necessary to obtain information.
– Preventive maintenance of networks to find problems.
Iberdrola is another example of an improvement in power quality. The company “has allocated 2,000 million euros for the digitization of the power networks it operates, with the installation of almost eleven million digital meters.” (ABC, 2019). To talk about power quality is to talk about energy supplied with excellent performance. Currently, this quality is benefited by smart grids, especially in smart cities.