Product Announcement: Aclara Expands Reach of its Smart Grid Sensors

by | Feb 5, 2019

Smart grid sensor installation. Image courtesy of Aclara.

Aclara, a supplier of smart infrastructure solutions (SIS) to electric, gas and water utilities worldwide, recently announced the expansion of its grid monitoring platform power sensor product line that operates on sub-transmission networks up to 48kV to increase visibility beyond the distribution network.

According to Aclara, the inductively-powered smart grid sensors offer accurate detection of faults and transient events as well as measurement capabilities such as current, power factor, phase angle and real-time voltage within 0.5%. These capabilities support diverse applications, such as fault detection and location, Volt/VAR optimization, power quality monitoring, power flow modeling, bi-directional power flow for distributed generation, and monitoring of substations and network interconnections.

Simple solutions for collecting real-time data from sub-transmission networks, which cover large territories as they convey power from major transmission lines to regional distribution substations, are critical today because many smart grid applications alter the voltage and load profiles of circuits. Circuits that are fed from multiple sources of generation and have a limited number of sectionalizers make it much more challenging for field personnel to quickly identify the location of faults.

With the ability to monitor lines up to 48kV, this addition to the product line offers a solution at a fraction of the cost of alternative approaches used by operators to monitor sub-transmission lines, according to Alcara. Inductive powering, integrated measurements and wireless communications eliminate the need to install separate RTUs and provide 120v power.

In the UK, where sub-transmission circuits are often fed from multiple sources, the availability of the next-generation power sensor has simplified the process of identifying the direction of faults for UK Power Networks. Prior to deploying this new generation of power sensors, the utility discovered faults by first “walking the line” to identify their causes. If no visual evidence of a fault was found, each line segment was tested independently to identify the source of the fault, a process that sometimes took several days.

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