Smart and sustainable connectivity has emerged as a key challenge for energy networks and systems

conectividad inteligente y sustentable

Cities of the future will require effective solutions for aggressive and mission-critical environments, which means a wide range of challenges related to such digital transformation must be overcome. A specialist from Furukawa explains why companies must invest in appropriate communications infrastructures that facilitate data analysis, thereby reducing faults and guaranteeing continuous service.

There are extensive distribution networks behind the water, gas or electricity services that we all rely on. These networks travel long distances and must overcome geographical obstacles between the generating plant and homes, businesses or industrial facilities.

Currently, the infrastructure, applications and new technologies associated with digital transformation require that electrical networks, as a element vital to the operation of this complex ecosystem, offer safety, reliability and be made available at all times.

Engineer Lucas Samyn from Furukawa Electric Latam explains: “The use of optical fibers increases reliability in this critical environment and guarantees communication between electrical substations due to the fact these wires are immune to electromagnetic interference, offer a high performance in terms of data transmission and allow several telecommunications services to be integrated into the same environment.”

The enormous amount of data traffic that circulates between generating units and control centers means that power plant must be intelligent and completely digital. Investment in network infrastructure is therefore essential to avoiding losses to companies in the event that services dependent on data, voice or image processing are interrupted, among other contingencies.

The digital substation represents an important stage in the evolution of the electrical substation and is central to the implementation of new fiber optic automation and communication systems. Digital substations are transforming the way in which cities, companies and manufacturing plants develop their electricity networks, and include essential solutions such as:

-Smart Grid+ Microgrid + Grid Edge: infrastructure for increasingly intelligent networks through automation, system-wide monitoring and the building of connections between renewable energies.

-Smart Metering: smart meter installed in consumers’ homes: a device that records information such as voltage, current and power levels, thereby allowing energy consumption to be optimized.

-Decarbonization: offers a road map for technologies used by the electricity sector over the coming years and is marked by the intensified use of green hydrogen.

-WIRELESS – LTE: increased range and reliability through a private 250MHz frequency.

As Engineer Lucas Samyn explained: “The movement towards the use of fiber optics in the telecommunications sector allows Furukawa to transfer this experience to the energy field, offering analyses and diagnostics for substation communication infrastructure, specialized engineering support at all stages, pre-project support appropriate to the needs of clients and an extended warranty for passive networks”.

Samyn added that an adequate network infrastructure at the substation aggregating data services will allow faults to be quickly resolved, remote monitoring, equipment automation, and preventive maintenance to be carried out, risks and accidents to be reduced, and increased agility in decision-making processes.

Fiber optics is one of the many green technologies that currently have the capacity to offer ecological support in these complex environments together with increased bandwidth and faster Internet connections.

The advantages offered by the fiber optics include:

  • The decreased use of copper: copper extraction results in a high level of pollution in the environment and affects various life forms found on the plant. Fiber optic cables can be used to prevent such damaging effects on the environment.
  • Fiber optics are made from silicon dioxide, which is a stable material and one of the reasons why fiber optics is a greener technology.
  • Reduced energy consumption: Fiber optic cables have a proven capacity for providing energy savings. Unlike copper wire cables, fiber optic cables consume less energy, which reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

There is no doubt that technological advances have revolutionized our quality of life. However, these technologies will no longer offer benefits if the Earth is no longer a suitable place for us to live. We are all responsible for protecting the environment through the development and use of innovative technologies, Samyn added.