Utilities 2021 Sectors Images 1200Pxw 731Pxh Intro

Safeguarding power generation networks with reliable cables

The global utility industry comprises of a network of systems which enable service delivery of electricity, gas, water and sewerage. To power and operate these systems, their function is driven by reliable power generation, transmission and distribution networks. Cabling infrastructures for utilities are fundamental to ensuring the smooth transportation of power throughout distribution networks.

Electricity is the main utility used to power billions of end applications worldwide. The methods used to generate electrical power, or energy, constantly evolve as renewable energy sources become more important in reaching net zero emission targets.

Reliance on quality cabling for utility applications will continue to increase as infrastructure upgrades are implemented. Therefore, efficient cables that can safely and effectively meet future usage demands are of great importance.

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Cable considerations

1. Electricity generation

Investment in the energy sector has increased, specifically with the diversification of generation sources led by carbon reduction initiatives. In line with this power, demand is also growing as many systems and sectors adopt higher levels of electrification.

Renewable sources such as solar, wind and tidal are being selected as the core generators of clean electricity, destined to power electric vehicles and systems. New cabling infrastructures are therefore needed to cater to processing, transportation and charging applications.

Cables must be robust and perform in line with the new operating conditions and over longer lifecycles. Also, consideration should be made of potentially new environmental stressors impacting components and materials that are required in a cable’s design. Testing and certification evidence compliance to industry standards, or the levels of quality, required to enable safe power transmission.

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2. Sustainability in power networks

Cables with lower levels of component quality can lead to energy losses. Inefficient cables, as a result, can incur a number of hidden costs. Therefore, they must be assessed to prove performance before installation, which in turn drives higher levels of sustainability.

If energy is lost as it transfers through the network, a higher unit production is required, and thus more energy must be produced to meet user demand. This also leads to a higher cost of energy for consumers. Further cost implications include potential replacements of inefficient cabling, requiring downtime to repair and causing power outages. Quality cabling enables efficient and proven systems operation. Approved cables are also tested for their mechanical, material and reaction to fire or chemicals properties in addition to electrical testing; this provides a rounded assessment of their performance.

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3. Technology optimisation

The digitalisation of the utility sector and the adoption of smart technologies allow for greater efficiency throughout the infrastructure. Rigorously tested cable systems enable distribution network operators, and DNOs, to check the ongoing conformity of products to the utility standards required, ensuring output targets can be consistently and reliably met.

Advanced cabling systems also provide the opportunity to streamline processes, for example, collecting real-time data used to optimise plant operations, saving time and money autonomously. Cables are essential to maintaining energy supply across the utility infrastructure and connecting new or existing technologies.

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Your insights into cable testing and certification related to the sector.

Reliable cabling that meets the utility sector’s requirements is vital to driving higher levels of efficiency throughout the infrastructure.

Approved cables are more sustainable because they have been tested to prove their current flow efficiency levels, maximising distribution output. Quality cables holding independent certification are also less likely to encounter future failures, critical to successful operation and implementation of digital technologies.

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