Distribution Automation (DA), also known as Feeder Automation (FA), encompasses a broad range of applications that help utilities make more efficient use of their distribution systems. For example, utilities can confidently operate closer to the physical limits of their systems with the increase in more robust data for planning, engineering and maintenance, extending equipment useful life. DA, can also provide benefit through deferral of additional generation capacity, release of transmission capacity and delay or suspension of distribution substation equipment purchases. Since FA improves reliable power delivery, in turn it also improves utility customer satisfaction.
Selection of communications for FA devices should be based upon aligning the network characteristics required by the application, with the communications technology options. With communications, one size doesn’t fit all scenarios. Consideration should also be given to the presence of other utility applications in the same geographical area that may be able to leverage the same communications infrastructure, offering both operational and cost efficiencies. Applications, which may share utility field communication networks with FA, include Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), outage management, and field workforce automation. ABB uniquely offers a full range of wireless communications options to support the full range of utility field area communications.
Common feeder automation applications supported by ABB wireless networks include:
Fault Location, Isolation and Supply Restoration (FLISR) – minimizes the duration of an outages by automatically detecting and isolating distribution feeder faults and rerouting around them if possible, with little or no manual intervention.
Volt/VAr Optimization (VVO) - used to improve efficiency of the feeder system through automated control of capacitor banks and voltage regulators.
Conservation Voltage Reduction (CVR) – reduces energy and peak demand by reducing voltage on a distribution circuit; conservation occurs when end-use devices draw less power without significantly affecting their performance.
ABB offers high-performance broadband, narrowband and cellular solutions that can work together to provide utilities with an optimal end-to-end communications network that enables a wide range of smart grid applications and a foundation for the future.