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According to the EU mandates, electrical Distribution System Operators (DSOs) are responsible for enhancing the efficiency and productivity of their electrical distribution networks by a significant percentage every year. However, they face challenges in developing innovative ways to integrate renewable energy systems and EV charging stations into the Distributed Energy Resources (DER).

In order to rectify this problem, the professional team needs to be equipped with the right tools and resources to control the voltage levels tightly. Therefore, one of the best cost-effective solutions for DSOs will be to integrate strong RTUs (Remote Terminal Units).

With the incorporation of distributed energy resources, the DSOs are also required to handle instances where voltage shoots in one section of the grid while dropping down in another. Therefore, DSOs are actively trying to gain additional support by deploying a variety of digitalized solutions to monitor and control voltage across the feeder networks that are distributed in the grid infrastructure.

With the emergence of top-notch feeder automation, there is a significant increase in vital processes like monitoring medium voltage (MV) and low voltage (LV) electric flows and distribution network control.  In fact, digitalization is prospering at a diverse rate when it comes to distribution feeders. However, upgraded smart ring main units (RMU) and remote terminal units (RTU) assist Distribution System Operators in solving various challenges of automating power restoration, voltage regulation, and improved fault detection.

Significant Gains in Multiple Cases Using RTU And RMU

Now, let’s get into two cases where European DSOs have deployed these smart technologies to address challenges like power quality improvement, grid evolution, decreasing the duration and frequency of power cuts, and downtime. In the first case, DSO faced a complex challenge–there was a need to improve fault detection capability.

So, first, by collaborating with a reliable partner, they automated their substations and developed distributed intelligence. This transformed them into LV/MV concentrators that collect feeder data and smart meters. Next, the substations carry interlinked feeder equipment to link corporate systems like advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), supervisory control, and data acquisition. Therefore, the solution applies to both new and existing switchboards.

In the above case, the operator was provided with a design to ensure cyber-security with voltage regulation and fault detection features. Additionally, with their scalable and modular solution, the DSO measured power quality and power usage.

In the second case, the DSO had millions of customers across rural areas and large cities. The challenge was to standardize and modernize the vast network of feeders, and the goal of the business was to reduce the figure of feeder configurations by allowing RTU’s to collaborate with any RMU that is available on the network.

Now, to develop a solution, pilot remote terminal units were planted across substations once the testing stage was over. However, a problem occurred in one of the many network rings, but fortunately, the system reconfigured the network and maintained the stability of the network. Since there was a requirement of numerous RTUs, the equipment manager organized and planned their supply chain to make the product easy to be ordered, shipped, and deployed with convenience. As for DSO’s, with the help of RTU’s and RMU’s, it was easy to adopt automation, which was equivalent to having the right technology and automation on the network.

However, it is good to research and collaborate with a leading service provider around you when it comes to the electrical field. Even if you have the best tools and resources, it is imperative to get on board with a team of professionals comprising skilled technicians, engineers, and operators to carry out your installation process smoothly.

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