|| Shylendra Kumar CM || Vice President || ABB India ||

  • 07/07/2017

"ABB provides its customer, the products which are long lasting and are based on the latest technologies available as of date. It is a well-known fact that today we have very high transmission and distribution losses which are one of the many side effects of poor power quality. "


Q. What is the ABB about as a leading industry in power quality solution provider at all ?

ABB is a leading supplier of solutions that improve the power quality of electrical networks. Based on extensive experience and use of latest technologies, ABB develops and manufactures a comprehensive range of products and solutions. They improve the power quality of electrical networks by eliminating disturbances and improving power factor in line with grid requirements. ABB power quality products and solutions are available for low-voltage (LV), medium-voltage (MV) and high-voltage (HV) systems. The technologies range from LV, MV Capacitors (fixed and dynamic) and go upto EHV levels so far as high voltage applications are concerned and range from Dry and Impregnated film Capacitors to Power electronic based solutions. All of these perform the basic job of keeping both the quality of power (high) and cost of the power low.

Q. What is the great success story and the hurdle of the ABB in Indian market, how do you cope up with this hurdles ?

In transmission systems, reactive power is needed to maintain the voltage to deliver active power. A lack of reactive power leads to an inefficient use of the electrical network and results in voltage sags, overloaded transformers, lines, cables, etc. The 800-kilovolt North-East Agra ultrahigh-voltage direct current (UHVDC) link will transmit clean hydroelectric power, equivalent to the generation of eight large power plants, from India's northeast region to the city of Agra, a distance of 1,728 kilometers. UHVDC transmission is a development of HVDC, a preferred solution to transmit large amounts of power over long distances to high consumption centers with minimum losses. The North-East Agra project, which will have a record converter capacity, is ABB’s fifth HVDC transmission link in India. On March 2, 2017 the UHVDC Multi-terminal operation started in Agra successfully, with parallel operation of two 800 kV UHVDC converters for the first time in history.  
 The North-East Agra project is also boosting the ‘Make in India’ - launched by Prime Minister in September 2014 - since the first 800 kV HVDC transformer, a key component of the Project, was produced by ABB India. HVDC a highly efficient alternative for transmitting large amounts of electricity over long distances and uses lesser right of way (ROW) in comparison to alternative HVAC. In India POWERGRID has been using HVDC since 1984 and shown confidence in this technology by again choosing ABB as their partners to execute another 6,000 MW UHVDC Project. This time to interconnect Western Region Grid (Raigarh, Chattisgarh) and Southern Region Grid (Pugalur, Tamil Nadu). In total ABB have six HVDC projects in India. From a power quality perspective all the reactive power generation and filter capacitors were delivered from ABB India facilities
While we say with some pride about our success in few critical projects as mentioned above we have a lot more that we can do at MV (discoms and Industries) level and LV distribution levels. Some of the many hurdles are the mind set with which even the best of qualified electrical engineers think about power quality. Unless there are  penalties for low power factor and harmonic distortion, there are very few who practically utilize the benefits of improving power quality. Electrical Power is a basic input for most of the industrial loads and it is not difficult to imagine that if the quality of power is not good it does affect the quality, cost and operational parameters of the process and inturn impacts the cost and the lead time of the product which the industry produces. So whether or not penalty is levied by power distribution authorities, it must be the priority of power system planning engineer to plan for power quality improving methods. 
There are some cases where large solar installations were put up and they planned power quality solutions initially and then withdrew it because the penalty on power factor and harmonic distortion was either removed or diluted in some cases. 
As it is, with any product that we make. high quality cannot be an option if “make in india” has to succeed and it is true for quality of power as well. Integration of renewables into distribution grid network has its own challenges and if reactive power and harmonic issues are not mitigated at the point of coupling then we are inviting more problems.
These are some of the hurdles that we need to overcome and by continuous education and communication by all people who understand the significance of these issues and authorities and policy makers in power sector would do their bit by either rewarding (incentives) good power quality and/or preventing (penalties)bad power quality.

Q. Do you have product to offer for Renewable Power sector like Solar, Wind, etc to ensure the supplied power from these sources are of high quality ?

As a principle, Renewable Resources (RR) such as Photovoltaics should contribute to the reliable operation of the Grid. The increasing penetration of RR has led to the need for them to contribute more significantly to system voltage and reactive power regulation. Many utilities stipulate the RR to be capable of providing reactive power support in any of the following three modes : Voltage, Power Factor or Reactive Power Control. There are many solutions that are available from multiple suppliers. What we have found to be most effective for RR segment are the family of high speed PQC (Power quality compensator)A sophisticated as well as important application for dynamic generation and loads is now a reality in both low and medium voltage systems. The high switching frequency of latest power electronic switching devices allows extremely fast control, which can be used in areas such as mitigation of poor power factor, current balancing caused by dynamically varying loads andof power generation in wind mill and solar applications. If the reactive power requirement is fluctuating fast or is high, MSC (Mechanically switched capacitors) or FC(Fixed compensations) may not be the right option due to time delay in switching and as well as limit on number of switching operations/switching surge voltages . If harmonic distortion is present in the network and if plain capacitor banks are used, excitation of resonance frequencies can occur leading to further harmonic voltage amplification. This causes failures in other loads connected to the same network. Also, the capacitor current stress may well go above the nominal rating. This typically leads to premature failing of the capacitors itself. All these problems can be avoided by installing PQCs and these products are designed for mitigating both reactive power demand that is dynamic and harmonics. Power electronic(PE) based solutions due to its high frequency switching devices tend to have relatively higher losses compared to passive capacitor based solutions however there are developments that gives optimal hybrids utilizing combination of PE based and Passive components without compromising on dynamic response of the solutions.

Q. Globally ABB has its own agenda for marketing but as changing trends in the Indian market and policies of the government, what are your expectations from the Indian market and what are your suggestions for the government efforts what so ever they are making in the market as a whole ?

Improvement in power quality is now the essence of life. Generally, it is noted that improvements in technology and the superior products available in market, do not get sustained business unless there are regulations enforced by the government authorities. ABB provides its customer, the products which are long lasting and are based on the latest technologies available as of date. It is a well-known fact that today we have very high transmission losses which are one of the many side effects of poor power quality. The expectation from Indian market is to understand and appreciate the essence of power quality and in the present world it is no longer an optional subject. Power system planners in both power generation and distribution companies need to make it essential to budget in the investment capex plan sufficient portion for power quality improvement. This part will pay back for itself at the fastest speed.
Major concern for Indian electrical power system is to maintain reliable power supply. The end customer has become more demanding and conscious about interruption free supply. High DT failure rate - which forms a critical piece of the distribution network reduces quality and reliability of supplied power. Public distribution companies are facing huge burden of losses (Rs. 2.4 lakhs cr. (Rs. 2400 billion)) and high average AT&C losses (28%). Investing in ‘Network Improvement’ improves power quality, reliability of supply which in turn will reduce technical losses and improve Energy Efficiency. Power Quality (PQ) can be key differentiator for tomorrow’s utility business models that is fast changing and it is no more about 24X7 supply alone. 
Harmonics, one of the growing PQ issue, are caused by the non-linearity of customer loads. Harmonic currents flow upstream from nonlinear loads, through the impedance of cables and transformers and creates harmonic voltage distortion. Harmonic currents also create increased heating in electrical cables, leading to premature ageing and overstressing of the electrical insulation. Nuisance tripping of protective devices, often dependent on periodic zero crossing of waveform, overheating of conductors (burn off, damage), etc.
Common Power Quality aspects such as Reliability, Voltage, current & Harmonics are covered under current regulations for distribution licensees, however there is no well-established monitoring and implementation framework for Power Quality in Indian Regulations. Different states have different provisions for voltage and harmonics control but no effective mechanism for monitoring. There is inconsistency in voltage variation limits for the various voltage levels (33 kV, 66 kV, etc) between the various states. Similarly, it is observed that there are differences in approach towards the voltage unbalance amongst the selected States. The definition given by CEA is not the same as implemented by several states. Likewise there is inconsistency in harmonics standards amongst various states for THDv.

In our opinion, following regulatory interventions are required :

  • Power quality indices/ KPI need to be additionally considered while evaluating the standards of performance of DISCOMs. PQ KPI shall include voltage variation, neutral voltage variation, voltage unbalance, dips, swells, transient, interruption at point of supply and harmonics.
  • Making the norms consistent among central and state regulations by considering all relevant power quality parameters and aligning the same to widely acceptable international norms.
  • Establishing procedures for monitoring and management of all aspects of power quality i.e. continuity of supply, voltage regulation, and harmonics for all voltage levels in the regulations. • Monitoring cum reporting methodology, monitoring frequency and responsibilities need to be additionally incorporated in existing frameworks. Some of the existing regulations already specify the voltage monitoring and management provisions, but only at select voltage level.
  • Mandating installation of power quality monitoring instruments at transmission and distribution sub -station and provision for phase wise installation of PQ monitoring systems at sub stations.
  • Mandating smart systems for network which communicates the real time information and power quality deviations existing in upstream and downstream to all stakeholders.
  • Measurement and monitoring of harmonics is a largely ignored area. Therefore, specific provisions need to be created by the Regulators to limit harmonics injection by consumers and utilities
  • Introducing penalties and incentives for actions in either non-compliance of regulations or meeting/exceeding regulations respectively. 

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