Safeguarding power generation networks with reliable cables
The global utilities industry comprises of a network of systems which enable service delivery of electricity, gas, water and sewerage. In order 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 throughout the world. The methods used to generate electrical power, or energy, are constantly evolving as renewable energy sources become more important in the drive to reach net zero emission targets.
Reliance on quality cabling for utility applications will continue to increase as infrastructure upgrades are implemented. Efficient cables that can safely and effectively meet future usage demands are therefore of great importance.
1. Electricity generation
Investment in the energy sector has increased, specifically with diversification of generation sources led by carbon reduction initiatives. In line with this demand for power is also increasing as many systems and sectors adapt 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 potential new, environmental stressors impacting components and materials that are required in a cable’s design. Testing and certification evidences compliance to industry standards, or the levels of quality, required to enable safe power transmission.
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. It is important therefore that they are assessed to prove performance prior to 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.
3. Technology optimisation
Digitalisation of the utility sector and adoption of smart technologies allows for greater efficiency throughout the infrastructure. Rigorously tested cable systems enable distribution network operators, DNOs, to check ongoing conformity of products to the utility standards required, ensuring output targets can be consistently and reliably met.
Advanced cablings systems also provide the opportunity to streamline processes, for example collecting real-time data used to autonomously optimise plant operations, saving time and money. Cables are essential to maintaining energy supply across the utility infrastructure and connecting new or existing technologies.
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