ABB will showcase a range of products, systems, software and service solutions including some of its latest innovations, at its flagship US customer event (ABB Customer World) in Houston, Texas, from March 12-16, 2017. A key focus this year will be on digital technologies for a smarter transmission and distribution grid, which lies at the heart of the power sector transformation and the energy revolution. Many of these build on ABB Ability, the company’s digital offering and platform, being launched at the event. ABB Ability™ brings together all of ABB’s digital products and services, each built from a unique combination of sector knowledge, technology leadership and digital expertise, to create real business value for customers.
The increasing integration of intermittent renewables and distributed energy sources on the supply side and new demand loads like data centers and electric vehicles bring new challenges. The grid needs to adapt and become more flexible and intelligent to handle these complexities while maintaining stability and ensuring steady, reliable and quality power flow to consumers.
A central exhibit at the show is the digital substation concept - a key component for enabling a smarter grid. Digital communications via fiber optic cables will replace traditional copper connections using analog signals, increasing safety, flexibility and availability, while reducing cost, risk and environmental impact. Digital substations also incorporate Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs) with integrated information and communication technology. An IED is a microprocessor-based protection and control device for power equipment, such as circuit breakers, transformers and capacitor banks. A fully digital substation is smaller, more reliable, has a reduced life-cycle cost and is simpler to maintain and extend than an analog one. Other advantages include safety, flexibility, availability, and lower environmental impact.
This intelligence is also being extended to the management of assets through the integration of information and operational technologies, showcased as part of the ABB Ability Asset Health Center solution, combining ABB’s vast competence and installed base and the company’s enterprise software portfolio.
Also on demonstration will be a new distributed energy resource management system (DERMS) being jointly developed by ABB and Enbala. This digital solution will enable customers to efficiently manage the entire lifecycle of distributed energy resources, like solar and wind. It means that utilities, energy service companies and grid operators are able to keep the grid balanced and optimized in real-time while accommodating intermittent renewable energy and distributed energy sources.
ABB will also exhibit a high voltage switchgear with digitally enabled features including an IED based operating mechanism, fiber optic current sensor and intelligent local control cabinet that enables smooth integration into a substation automation system. It continuously monitors the functions of the switchgear, with real-time simulation and diagnostics, to facilitate pro-active asset management, and can also be used remotely.
“The increasing digitalization of the power value chain is key to addressing new supply and demand challenges faced by the grid, which needs to become more flexible, reliable, intelligent and interconnected,” said Claudio Facchin, President of ABB’s Power Grids division. “As the world leader in transmission and distribution technologies, we are well positioned to shape the transformation of the power sector and strengthen our position as a partner of choice for enabling a stronger, smarter and greener grid.”