ABB and Caruna to develop next-generation distribution grid protection technology in Finland

New technology will revolutionize the power grid’s supply security

ABB and Caruna to develop next-generation distribution grid protection technology in Finland

Finnish electricity distribution company Caruna and ABB have signed a four-year collaboration agreement for R&D. The collaboration’s first phase focuses on the development and testing of a new kind of protection technology in the Noormarkku network area in Pori, Western Finland. The goal is to achieve a major improvement in the reliability of electricity distribution. A paper with preliminary results of related research was chosen from among more than 1,700 applications for inclusion in this year’s International Conference and Exhibition on Electricity Distribution (CIRED), the world’s leading forum for the electricity distribution sector.

“The electricity distribution sector is considered traditional, but like other sectors it is benefiting from the opportunities created by digitalization. The innovations we’re looking to develop through this collaboration will make our customers’ daily lives simpler, create security, and diversify the ways in which we can serve them. “I’m delighted that we’re deepening our work on innovation with ABB, and the work we’re doing together at Noormarkku substation gets things off to a great start,” says Caruna’s head of development Antti Keskinen.

The Noormarkku substation in the Pori region and the power grid it supplies are being used to test intelligent electricity protection technology based on contact voltage data from the network and centralized artificial intelligence. The goal of the new system is to automatically interpret and react to any irregularities that occur in the electricity grid and provide a real-time view of the grid’s security status. This will help to speed up troubleshooting and avoid power outages altogether, and above all will ensure grid security.

“The innovation can be compared with a smart home. Instead of handling each and every electrical device separately by pushing in or pulling out plugs, we will be able to do everything from a single interface. At the same time, the system will issue a warning if a lightbulb needs replacing before it gets dark,” says Keskinen.

“It’s great to see world-class innovation expertise. Electricity distribution is a critical part of a sustainable development in societies, and we’re very pleased to be able to develop it with our customers such as Caruna,” says Alessandro Palin, managing director of ABB's Distribution Solutions business.

Modern technology makes the grid intelligent

While renewable energy is causing increasing fragmentation in future energy production, wireless 5G connectivity and the Internet of Things are decentralizing the production and processing of data.

With the aid of artificially intelligent analysis of the growing mass of data, power companies could, for example, notify a customer if their home heating is consuming an unusually large amount of electricity because of doors or windows being left open, or the company could prevent or reduce disruptions in electricity distribution experienced by the customer by anticipating maintenance more effectively than currently.

Caruna distributes electricity and maintains, repairs and builds a weatherproof electricity network for its 680,000 customers in South, Southwest and West Finland, as well as in the city of Joensuu, the sub-region of Koillismaa and Satakunta. In order to guarantee a reliable electricity supply to its customers and under all circumstances, Caruna supervises its network 24/7. A weatherproof smart electricity network also provides a well-functioning energy system for the future when digital services increase, the traffic is electrified, and the consumer becomes a producer of energy.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader with a comprehensive offering for digital industries. With a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB is today a leader in digital industries with four customer-focused, globally leading businesses: Electrification, Industrial Automation, Motion, and Robotics & Discrete Automation, supported by its common ABB Ability™ digital platform. ABB’s market leading Power Grids business will be divested to Hitachi in 2020. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees. www.abb.com

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