Oct
19

How To Check For Harmonics In Electrical Power Systems

How To Check For Harmonics In Electrical Power Systems

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Harmonics are electric voltages and currents on an electric power system that can cause power quality problems. Because equipment and machinery can malfunction or fail in the presence of high harmonic voltage and/or current levels, harmonic distortion has become a growing concern for facility managers, users of automation equipment, and engineers. While the presence of harmonics won't make it impossible for a factory or office to operate, the degree of impact depends on how much the power system can withstand and how susceptible the equipment is to harmonic distortion.

What Causes Harmonics?

Harmonics are created by electronic equipment with nonlinear loads drawing in current in abrupt short pulses. The short pulses cause distorted current waveforms, which in turn cause harmonic currents to flow back into other parts of the power system. Harmonics are especially prevalent when there are many personal computers, laser printers, fax machines, copiers, or medical test equipment, fluorescent lighting, uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs), and variable speed drives all on the same electrical system.

Harmonics degrade the level of power quality and its efficiency, particularly in a commercial building or industrial facility. In general, most buildings can withstand nonlinear loads of up to 15% of the total electrical system capacity without concern. If the nonlinear loads exceed 15%, some non-apparent negative consequences can result.
Common Problems Caused by Harmonics

Overloading Neutral Conductors

The three-phase system consists of three individual phase conductors and a neutral conductor. If all the phase conductors carry the same current, the phase currents tend to cancel one another out provided there is a balanced load. This balanced load makes it possible to reduce the size of the neutral conductor. Unfortunately, switched mode power supplies used in computers have a very high third-harmonic current. While harmonic currents cancel out on the neutral wire, the third harmonic current is additive in the neutral. In buildings with a large number of installed personal computers, the neutral wire can carry much higher currents than the wire was designed to accommodate, creating a potential fire hazard.

Overheating Transformers and Increased Associated Losses

For transformers feeding harmonic-producing loads, the eddy current loss in the windings is the most dominant loss component in the transformer. This eddy current loss increases proportionate to the square of the product's harmonic current and its corresponding frequency. The total transformer loss to a fully loaded transformer supplying to a nonlinear load is twice as high as for an equivalent linear load. This causes excessive transformer heating and degrades the insulation materials in the transformer, which eventually leads to transformer failure.

Nuisance Tripping of Circuit Breakers

All circuits containing capacitance and inductance have one or more resonant frequencies. When any of the resonant frequencies correspond to the harmonic frequency produced by nonlinear loads, harmonic resonance can occur. Voltage and current during resonant frequency can be highly distorted. This distortion can cause nuisance tripping in an electrical power system, which can ultimately result in production losses.

How to Diagnose and Fix Harmonics

A harmonics analyzer is the most effective instrument for performing detailed analysis of power quality to determine the wave shapes of voltage and current on respective frequency spectrums. A harmonic analyzer is also useful in instances where the lack of obvious symptoms prevent you from determining if harmonics are a cause for concern.

A harmonics analyzer is used to provide a detailed analysis of the suspect source. Using this data, the harmonic ratio function calculates a value from 0% to 100% to indicate the deviation of non-sinusoidal and sinusoidal waveform. This value indicates the presence of harmonics.

With built-in harmonic ratio function, the Agilent U1242 Series handheld DMM helps technicians and engineers quickly verify the presence of harmonics in AC signals. This information can be used to prevent or reduce equipment downtime and repair costs.

Learn more about Harmonics in this month's PQU Harmonics seminars: http://www.p3-inc.com/power-quality-university/seminar-info/harmonics-seminar

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.
See the origial article at: http://www.grainger.com/content/safety-electrical-power-system-harmonics

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Oct
12

Principles for Controlling Harmonics

principles for controlling harmonics

Figure 1 - Variation of the voltage THD over a 1-week period

Harmonic distortion is caused by nonlinear devices in the power system. A nonlinear device is one in which the current is not proportional to the applied voltage. Harmonic distortion is present to some degree on all power systems.

Fundamentally, one needs to control harmonics only when they become a problem. Harmonic distortion is not a new phenomenon on power systems.

Concern over distortion has ebbed and flowed a number of times during the history of ac electric power systems.

There are three common causes of harmonic problems:

  1. The source of harmonic currents is too great.
  2. The path in which the currents flow is too long (electrically), resulting in either high voltage distortion or telephone interference.
  3. The response of the system magnifies one or more harmonics to a greater degree than can be tolerated.


When a problem occurs, the basic options for controlling harmonics are:

  1. Reduce the harmonic currents produced by the load.
  2. Add filters to either siphon the harmonic currents off the system, block the currents from entering the system, or supply the harmonic currents locally.
  3. Modify the frequency response of the system by filters, inductors, or capacitors.

Reducing harmonic currents in loads

There is often little that can be done with existing load equipment to significantly reduce the amount of harmonic current it is producing unless it is being misoperated. While an overexcited transformer can be brought back into normal operation by lowering the applied voltage to the correct range, arcing devices and most electronic power converters are locked into their designed characteristics.

PWM drives that charge the dc bus capacitor directly from the line without any intentional impedance are one exception to this. Adding a line reactor or transformer in series will significantly reduce harmonics, as well as provide transient protection benefits.

Transformer connections can be employed to reduce harmonic currents in three-phase systems. Phase-shifting half of the 6-pulse power converters in a plant load by 30° can approximate the benefits of 12- pulse loads by dramatically reducing the fifth and seventh harmonics. Delta-connected transformers can block the flow of zero-sequence harmonics (typically triplens) from the line. Zigzag and grounding transformers can shunt the triplens off the line.

Purchasing specifications can go a long way toward preventing harmonic problems by penalizing bids from vendors with high harmonic content. This is particularly important for such loads as high-efficiency lighting.


Filtering

The shunt filter works by short-circuiting harmonic currents as close to the source of distortion as practical. This keeps the currents out of the supply system. This is the most common type of filtering applied because of economics and because it also tends to correct the load power factor as well as remove the harmonic current.

Another approach is to apply a series filter that blocks the harmonic currents. This is a parallel-tuned circuit that offers a high impedance to the harmonic current. It is not often used because it is difficult to insulate and the load voltage is very distorted. One common application is in the neutral of a grounded-wye capacitor to block the flow of triplen harmonics while still retaining a good ground at fundamental frequency.

Active filters work by electronically supplying the harmonic component of the current into a nonlinear load.

Modifying the system frequency response

There are a number of methods to modify adverse system responses to harmonics:

  1. Add a shunt filter. Not only does this shunt a troublesome harmonic current off the system, but it completely changes the system response, most often, but not always, for the better.
  2. Add a reactor to detune the system. Harmful resonances generally occur between the system inductance and shunt power factor correction capacitors. The reactor must be added between the capacitor and the supply system source. One method is to simply put a reactor in series with the capacitor to move the system resonance without actually tuning the capacitor to create a filter. Another is to add reactance in the line.
  3. Change the capacitor size. This is often one of the least expensive options for both utilities and industrial customers.
  4. Move a capacitor to a point on the system with a different short-circuit impedance or higher losses. This is also an option for utilities when a new bank causes telephone interference—moving the bank to another branch of the feeder may very well resolve the problem. This is frequently not an option for industrial users because the capacitor cannot be moved far enough to make a difference.
  5. Remove the capacitor and simply accept the higher losses, lower voltage, and power factor penalty. If technically feasible, this is occasionally the best economic choice.

Learn more about Harmonics in this month's PQU Harmonics seminars: http://www.p3-inc.com/power-quality-university/seminar-info/harmonics-seminar

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See the origial article at: http://electrical-engineering-portal.com/principles-for-controlling-harmonics

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Oct
05

State-Of-The-Art Solutions for Controlling Harmonics

Introduction:
Harmonics are the multiples of fundamental frequencies. They are generated due to non-linear loads. Non-linear loads, by definition are the equipments which draw non-sinusoidal current even from a sinusoidal voltage source. The examples of non-linear loads are Rectifiers, Induction furnaces, UPS Systems, Variable frequency drives and so on . . .

The adverse effects of harmonics in industrial plant are well known:

Effects of harmonics:

The harmonics adversely affect almost all the components of any industrial plant :

  • Power factor improvement capacitors draw excessively high current if voltage is contaminated with harmonics.
  • The magnetic equipments like motors, generators and transformers are abnormally heated up due to harmonics. This is due to increased copper loss, hysterisis loss and eddy current loss.
  • Fuses, Circuit breakers, Protective relays malfunction due to harmonic currents.
  • Neutral cables get over heated due to addition of zero-phase sequence triplen harmonic current.
  • Due to the adverse effects of the harmonics, harmonics needs to be controlled.
  • There are two philosophies of harmonic control.
  • To eliminate or reduce the harmonics by taking care in the equipment design. This is essentially in the “Green Power Technology”.
  • Elimination or reduction of harmonics which are already generated by the non-linear equipment which was not designed to take care of harmonics.

In industries both these philosophies are prevalent for harmonics control.

Prevention of harmonics by design

1) Multipulse converter
3-phase rectifier consisting of 6-diodes having 6-pulse design is shown in Fig – 1. This is a basic building block of variable frequency drives, UPS systems, battery chargers and so on . . . This rectifier has typically 62% current distortion (THD).

1420808863 ER1412 Technology Power SB Mahajani 01

Please refer Fig – 2 showing the input current waveform. In order to reduce this current distortion by design multi-pulse converters are commonly used.

1420808878 ER1412 Technology Power SB Mahajani 02

Please refer to Fig – 3 showing schematic of 12-pulse rectifier. It consists of 12 diodes instead of 6 diodes. The two 6-pulse converters are connected to two secondaries of input transformer. One secondary is star connected and other secondary is delta connected to give 30º phase shift.

1420808890 ER1412 Technology Power SB Mahajani 03

The current distortion is reduced from 62% to about 8% in this configuration. The input current waveform of 12-pulse rectifier is shown in Fig – 4. This technology is further extended to 18-pulse or 24-pulse converters to further reduce the current distortion.

1420808899 ER1412 Technology Power SB Mahajani 04

This technique is used in high power rectifiers. For example in HVDC transmission (High Voltage Direct Current transmission) multiple converters are used. However, multi-pulse converters have disadvantage of using more number of devices leading to relatively poor efficiency. They also required intricate transformer design and balancing required for current sharing by multiple converters. Hence the state-of-art technology in converters is PWM converter.

2) PWM converter
The schematic of PWM converter is shown in Fig – 5. It uses 6-IGBTs in place of 6-diodes. PWM converter has following advantages.

  • It can work at unity power factor and it can also be made to operate at leading power factor to compensate for the poor power factor created by other lagging power factor loads.
  • It can work in both ways i.e. it can transfer the power from mains input to output as well as it can feed back power from regenerative loads to mains. Thus it can lead to energy conservation in case of some applications like Centrifuge.
  • It can stabilize DC link output voltage against fluctuations in mains input voltage.
  • All the above techniques of harmonics control are the examples of harmonics controlled by design. However, these techniques can not take care of existing harmonics in the plant. The equipments which controlled the existing level of harmonics are given in the following session.

1) Passive harmonic filter:
Passive harmonic filter consists of inductor and capacitor in series. This combination is tuned to the harmonics to be eliminated. The schematic of passive harmonic filter is shown in Fig – 6. The passive harmonic filter is simple and economical. It is very effective for applications where the load configuration is fixed and supply frequency is relatively constant. However, these filters have the following limitations.

These filters can be over loaded due to harmonic inrush current coming from some other load which can damage the filter.

  • This filter becomes less effective if the supply frequency varies.
  • If the load configuration changes this filter can not effectively filter the harmonics.
  • The inductor and capacitor used in the filter can resonate with power factor improvement capacitor used in the plant at some harmonic frequency.

To overcome these limitations Active Harmonic Filter is invented.

2) Active harmonic filter:

The schematic of active harmonic filter is shown in Fig – 7.

1420808912 ER1412 Technology Power SB Mahajani 05

Active harmonic filter has a current sensor connected in series with a non-linear load which is to be compensated to reduce the harmonics. The harmonic components of current in the non-linear load is sensed and equal and opposite current is generated by active harmonic filter. The current of active harmonic filter cancels the harmonic current of the non-linear load. As a result the source current is pure sinusoidal which does not contain harmonics.

Advantages of active harmonic filter

  • It reduces the harmonic current distortion by eliminating the harmonics.
  • The harmonics can be selectively eliminated by configuring the active harmonic filter in user programmable manner.
  • Like passive harmonic filter this filter does not resonate with any components of industrial plant.
  • This filter is dynamic by design and can adapt to changes in load configuration.
  • This filter can compensate for lagging power factor and it can also take care of 3-phase current balancing.
  • Thus active harmonic filter is a state of art solution for harmonic mitigation.

Conclusion :
Use of more and more non-linear loads is becoming common in today’s industrial plants. Therefore, harmonic elimination has become the necessity of the day. Depending upon the equipment used in the industrial plant different harmonic elimination techniques can be adopted. Whenever any new equipment is to be designed it should be designed to take care of harmonics by using multiple converter or PWM converter whereas, if the existing harmonics are to be taken care of either passive filter or active filter can be used.

Learn more about Harmonics in this month's PQU Harmonics seminars: http://www.p3-inc.com/power-quality-university/seminar-info/harmonics-seminar

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.
See the origial article at: http://www.engrreview.com/Articles/State-of-the-art-solutions-for-controlling-harmonics/937650/110250/45150

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Sep
28

"Harmonic Distortion": The Invisible Electricity Thief You've Been Paying For

"Harmonic Distortion": The Invisible Electricity Thief You've Been Paying For

New Solutions Help Optimize Power Usage and Eliminate Unnecessary Power Costs

Did you know that 10 to 30 percent of your energy costs might have been wasted because of bad power quality?

Harmonic currents, which are generated by non-linear electronic loads in personal computers, laser printers, photocopiers, fax machines, battery chargers, UPS devices, switch-mode power supplies (SMPS), and variable speed motors and drives, are a frequent cause of power quality problems. In fact, power quality problems can have a significant impact on electrical distribution systems and the facilities they feed. All computer systems, for example, use SMPS that convert utility AC (alternating current) voltage to regulated low-voltage DC (direct current) for internal electronics. Because these non-linear power supplies draw current in high-amplitude short pulses, significant distortion in the electrical current and voltage wave can occur. This is known as "harmonic distortion." In addition, this distortion can travel back to the power source and affect the other equipment that is connected to the same source. Most power systems can accommodate a certain level of harmonic current, but will experience problems when harmonic currents become a significant component of the overall load. As higher frequency harmonic currents flow through a power system, they can reduce system efficiency; cause apparatus to overheat as well as cause misfires in variable speed drives and torque pulsations in motors; and increase power costs, among other things.

Learn more about Harmonics in this month's PQU Harmonics seminars: http://www.p3-inc.com/power-quality-university/seminar-info/harmonics-seminar

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

 

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Sep
22

Rising Power Quality Issues Spur Demand for Surge Protection Devices

The global market for Surge Protection Devices (SPDs) is forecast to reach US$2.4 billion by 2020, driven by the growing need to protect sensitive electronic equipment from power fluctuations.

spdreport

GIA has released a comprehensive global report on Surge Protection Devices (SPDs). The global market for Surge Protection Devices (SPDs) is forecast to reach US$2.4 billion by 2020, driven by the growing need to protect sensitive electronic equipment from power fluctuations.

Surge protection devices such as transient voltage surge suppressors and surge arrestors are growing in importance, given the billions of dollars of losses caused by voltage fluctuations and power line abnormalities. Widespread use of sophisticated electrical, electronic communication and data equipment is driving the importance of power management solutions including SPDs, in both developed and developing economies. Proliferation of home appliances, personal computers, heating and air conditioning equipment in residential homes, and installation of high-end industrial electronic equipment in manufacturing plants are driving growth in the market. Future growth in the market will continue to benefit from the increasing use of electronics in the rapidly growing world telecommunication industry.

The commercial end-use sector is expected to witness strong growth in the coming years. With nationwide alternate energy programs gaining popularity in Germany, China and other major economies, demand for surge protectors is expected to gain strength. Substitution of conventional coil and core street lamps with light emitting diodes for outdoor lighting is also opening up new growth avenues for SPD manufacturers. Miniaturization and clock speeds of microprocessors as dictated by Moore’s Law comes at a price, namely higher sensitivity of the chips to power transients, electromagnetic interference, radio frequency interference and electrical field transients. The increasing sensitivity of modern electronic devices to even split-second electricity fluctuations bodes well for sales of SPDs. The global market for SPDs is extremely competitive characterized by a high degree of fragmentation, and pricing pressures. The relatively commoditized SPD technology leaves very little scope for differentiation. Pure-play SPD manufacturers face stiff competition from large diversified electrical equipment makers.

As stated by the new market research report on Surge Protection Devices (SPDs), the United States represents the largest market worldwide. Developing countries are forecast to spearhead future growth in the market led by mounting issues related to stable power supply. Escalating demand for energy as a result of robust pace of economic development and industrialization, inefficient energy infrastructure and power shortages, are key reasons responsible for poor power quality in these countries. Asia-Pacific, led by China and India, is forecast to witness the strongest growth over the analysis period. Key factors driving growth in the region include the growing consumer appetite for expensive electronic devices, and migration of industries towards digitization and automation of production and business processes.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.
The original article can be found at: http://ecmweb.com/power-quality/rising-power-quality-issues-spur-demand-surge-protection-devices

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14

9 things you should know about surge protectors

9 things you should know about surge protectors

spds

March 25, 2015
by Geoffrey Morrison

Surge protectors are an inexpensive way to protect your gear against random power spike damage. They're not all the same. Here are a few tips before you start shopping.

Whether you're just looking to add more outlets, or want to add a layer of protection between your gear and the outside world, you'll eventually want to buy a surge protector.

With an incredible range of prices and features, not to mention a barrage of questionable marketing promises, it's hard to figure out what's worth the money, and what's nonsense.

To help you sort through it all, here are nine things you should know about surge protectors.

For a little background, check out what makes a good surge protector. This article is the spiritual successor to that piece, though we'll cover some similar ground.

1. Not all are the same.

Power strips and surge protectors (also called surge suppressors) are different. Typically, power strips are cheap, multi-outlet products that are merely an expansion of a wall outlet. These usually have a circuit breaker of some sort, but most don't offer any real "protection" from electrical issues. Some might have the barest level of protection, but they're all pretty much just like plugging into the wall direct.

Surge protectors offer some level of protection against power spikes. How much and how well varies considerably.

2. It's all about the joules.

Surge protectors offer protection in amounts called joules. Think of this like a reservoir of protection. If a product has 1,000 joules of protection, that means it can take ten 100 joule hits, or one 1,000 joule hit. Generally, the more joules the better.

How do you know how many joules a protectors has left, or if the rating is even accurate? Well, you don't. The Wirecutter did a massive test on surge protectors, essentially blowing them up to see how well they worked, to see if they could answer this question.

3. A warranty...on your stuff.

Some surge protectors offer a warranty (up to a certain amount) on the gear connected to the protector. For example, in the US, one Belkin model has a $300,000 Connected Equipment Warranty, and states: "If your electronic equipment is damaged by a surge, spike, or lightning strike while properly connected to this power strip, we will repair or replace it, up to $300,000."

You'll probably never need it, but it certainly doesn't hurt to have it. Belkin has similar warranties in effect for other products, but they vary by region.

Edit 7/31: As some readers mention in the comments below, just because the warranty exists, doesn't mean you'll ever see a dime from it. A good point.

4. A power "conditioner."

There are a number of products on the market that claim to "condition" the power from the wall, promising improved performance in your gear. Here's the dirty little secret: your gear already does this. All electronics have a power supply that takes the incoming wall current (110v in the US), filters it for noise, and converts it into whatever the device needs. Almost nothing actually runs on 110 volts (or alternating current, for that matter), so unless you've got some really wacky (or cheap) gear, and live in an area with bizarrely inadequate power, a power conditioner isn't something you need.

5. Always get more outlets than you need.

You're always going to need more outlets. You'll undoubtedly add more gear, without necessarily getting rid of your current gear. I'm not saying that if you think you need 4 outlets get a 12, but a 6 is probably a good investment.

6. Power spikes can come over any wire.

If you want total protection, consider that phone and cable lines can carry power spikes too. Some surge protectors have connectors for these as well.

7. USB is great, but check the amps.

Many surge protectors come with USB connections, so you can charge your mobile devices. Handy, for sure, but check what the output amp rating is. Generally, this is either 1 or 2 amps (often labeled 1A or 2A). This is how much flow you can get through the pipe, so to speak. For a mobile phone, 1 amp is enough, but for a tablet, you'll want 2 amps for quicker charging.

8. Get a portable power strip.

While not offering much protection, a portable power strip might prevent marital friction, and/or invoke bliss from travel companions. Most hotels and hostels have few accessible outlets, yet everyone has multiple devices that need recharging. Most portable power strips add two to three additional outlets, plus offer direct USB charging (see number 7!).

9. They don't last forever.

Remember the joule rating we discussed earlier? Well, it means that over time, a surge protector is going to wear out. Some will give you a warning when they do. Many won't. If you know you've had a serious electrical event (like lighting blew out a transformer down the street), it's probably worth replacing your surge protector just in case.
Bottom Line

There really is no reason not to get a surge protector. How much you need it will vary. If you live in an area with lots of thunderstorms, your gear is probably more likely to experience power surges. Even if you live in the desert, your A/C or refrigerator could kick power spikes back down the lines to your A/V gear.

Since most surge protectors are cheap, they're worth getting just in case.

Click here for the source of this article.

 

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Aug
27

NEMA Surge Protection Podcast Series

The NEMA Surge Protection Institute (NSPI) is an educational outreach effort initiated by the Low Voltage Surge Protective Devices Section of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), a not-for-profit trade association. Our mission is to heighten awareness of the benefits of surge protection to all users of low voltage electrical systems in North America for the purpose of promoting proper application and usage.


This podcast series focused on low voltage surge protective devices:

Part 1: What is a surge protective device and how does it work?

Joining us today to discuss how these devices work is Jennifer Friedline, Associate Product Manager–Surge Protection Devices, with Thomas & Betts.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Part 2: How does surge protection differ in residential, commercial, and industrial settings?

This is the second of a podcast series focused on NEMA’s Low Voltage Surge Protective Devices Section. Today we’re chatting with NEMA Northeast Field Rep Jack Lyons about why surge protection is important in settings other than residential. We’ll also discuss what a surge is and how it damages equipment.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

 

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Aug
27

Uninterruptible Power Supplies and Your Data Center

uninterruptible power lights

What exactly is an uninterrupted power supply? How do you know which UPS is right for your data center? These two questions prove to be pivotal when setting up a data center or a data room that will service the needs of your organization. When you use technology, the most important part of the equation is power. With out power or a steady stream of power, it can be impossible to deliver services reliably through out your organization.


Even computer hobbyists could gain from using a UPS in their environment. Servers, computers and most other electronic equipment thrive off an uninterrupted power source. Data centers are the number one customers for UPS devices. Why? Electricity delivered from utility companies doesn’t remain constant. A slight power surge, power sag or outage could be detrimental to your organization’s objectives.


Infrastructure equipment works best when it gets a steady, regulated source of power. This helps ensure the longevity of the equipment you are using within your data center. When devices such as SANs or other types of storage appliances receive inconsistent power, you are directly putting the integrity of your organizations data at risk. Having a UPS within your onsite data center is easily one of the first things a data center architect should look at implementing within the facility.


How can you determine the best UPS for your needs?


You must first determine what you actually have. UPS devices come in large, small and modular designs that will fit inside of racks or as a standalone appliance within a data center. You should research the specifications of the specific UPS device you are interested in purchasing so that you can gather enough information which will enable you to make an educated decision.


Another factor you should consider is whether or not your site has a generator that could kick in during an outage. Most UPS devices use lead batteries to keep devices running during a power outage. If you do not have a generator onsite, you may want a more robust UPS solution. If you have a generator on site and you know that the generator will repower your facility within 60 seconds, having a super robust UPS could be overkill.


Uninterrupted Power Supplies sometimes comes with a flywheel design versus the traditional lead battery model. There are pros and cons and many organizations only utilize the flywheel design based on space constraints or green energy endeavors. The flywheel spins and when power loss is detected, the energy generated from the wheels motion is used by the data center’s equipment. The fly wheel slows down thus indicating that the perpetual motion that keeps the flywheel moving is waning. The flywheel design is gaining more popularity because it leaves a much smaller environmental impact than the traditional UPS systems, especially within green data centers of the future.

 

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Aug
27

NEMA Launches Updated NEMA Surge Protection Institute Website

NEMA Site

The website, home to the NEMA Surge Protection Institute, provides information and resources to residential, commercial, and industrial consumers related to surge protection.


The National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s (NEMA) Low Voltage Surge Protective Devices Section has launched an updated version of its website, nemasurge.org. The website, home to the NEMA Surge Protection Institute, provides information and resources to residential, commercial, and industrial consumers related to surge protection.


Citing a recent survey conducted by the section in which 71% of respondents indicated that they purchased surge protection after surge damage occurred, the section’s Industry Development Committee launched a campaign to inform property owners about protecting their electronic devices from lightning or voltage surges.


According to Committee Chairman Tom Colcombe, the mission behind the nemasurge.org website is to raise awareness of the benefits of surge protection to all users of low voltage electrical systems in North America. Educating users about proper application and usage is paramount to protecting these electrical systems.


The NEMA Low Voltage Surge Protective Devices Section encourages homeowners, building owners, business owners to use nemasurge.org, and to share with others information learned about surge protection.

 

Click here for the source of this article.

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Aug
27

KCP&L plans to install 1,001 more chargers for electric cars

SV green sign

KCP&L announced Monday that with one jolt it’s going to make the area one of the best places in the nation to drive an electric car.


The utility said it plans to install 1,001 public electric chargers in its Missouri and Kansas service territories — a 2,400 percent boost from the roughly 40 units now available. Each charger will be able to charge two cars at a time.


Public chargers are crucial to the success of electric cars because of “range anxiety,” the fear that a car’s battery power will be exhausted before reaching a destination. The chargers resemble a gasoline fuel pump but instead of hoses and nozzles, they have a cord and plug on each side

.
It will cost about $20 million to build the system, to be called the Clean Charge Network. KCP&L will ask state regulators to let it to recover the cost through its rates. If regulators agree, residential customers would pay an extra $1 to $2 a year.


But KCP&L noted that the extra revenue it would get from selling electricity for cars, which is also typically done when demand is off-peak, could eventually put downward pressure on rates.

Electric BIZ al 012615 0054f

An electric car and charger were displayed Monday as KCP&L announced the Clean Charge Network of charging stations. A few of the chargers have already been installed in the KC area, and the entire network should be deployed by summer.

Electric BIZ al 012615 0058f

A few of the chargers have already been installed in the Kansas City area, and the ambitious plan calls for the entire network to be deployed by summer.


Those able to take advantage of the program will get free charges for at least two years. For that period, the cost of the electricity itself will be shouldered by “hosts” such as movie theaters, shopping centers, grocery stores, restaurants and large employers where the chargers will be installed. The hosts will also provide space for the chargers.


The automaker Nissan has agreed to pay the tab over two years for 16 super-fast chargers that will be part of the network.


The Clean Charge Network will focus on the Kansas City area, where the bulk of the utility’s customers live. But the utility isn’t ignoring the rest of its territory. Clinton, St. Joseph and Sedalia are among other communities that will get the chargers.


“Wherever they live in our service territory they’ll be able to access this,” said Chuck Caisley, a spokesman for Kansas City Power & Light.


The plan also calls for building the electric infrastructure needed to supply the 1,001 chargers, which will allow the number of chargers to be easily doubled in the future if needed.


The only other state to have more than 1,000 public charging stations installed is California which has nearly 2,000, said Kelly Gilbert, transportation director at the Metropolitan Energy Center, using federal statistics. The only other state with more than 500 is Texas.


“This project will make Kansas City one of the best-equipped metropolitan areas in the nation to serve an electrified vehicle fleet, and sets us up to be a nationwide leader,” she said.


Terry Bassham, the president and CEO of KCP&L, said consideration about building the network began around six months ago after discussions about the low number of electric cars in the region. There are 260,000 plug-in electric cars in the U.S., and less than 1 percent are in this area.


“We are here to change that,” he said.


Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Ashok Gupta, program director for the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council, also spoke and praised the move. Gupta said electric cars are a definite boost for the environment.


Representatives from five automakers who sell electric cars also attended the announcement Monday. Automakers are eager to boost electric car sales because they will be increasingly needed to meet tougher fuel economy standards.


David Peterson, manager of electric vehicle infrastructure and business development for Nissan North America, said that because of the Clean Charge Network, electric car sales will rise here even with gas prices down. Though gasoline prices are about $1.75 a gallon in the Kansas City area, an equivalent amount of electricity is about 70 cents.


“We’re so impressed with KCP&L,” he said.


Nissan’s Leaf is the first plug-in electric car to top 30,000 in sales in the United States. Last year 30,200 were sold, a 23 percent jump over 2013. The Chevrolet Volt, Ford Focus, BMW i3 and high-end Tesla S are among the other plug-in models available, some with backup gasoline engines.


KCP&L is buying the chargers from ChargePoint, which will also manage the network. The California company manages 20,000 charging spots in what it calls the world’s largest and most open charging network.


Pasquale Romano, ChargePoint’s president and CEO, said the network in the area would be convenient and effective. A mobile app, for example, will locate the nearest chargers and their availability. The chargers will work on all electric cars sold in the U.S.


“It should be a big jump start for electric cars in the area,” he said.


The Clean Energy Network will have three to five chargers at each location — enough to fuel 6 to 10 cars — to help ensure one will be available when needed. Many locations have already been selected, although most have not been publicly disclosed.


At the news conference, there were hints that Harrah’s Casino, Starbucks and the Kansas City Chief will be partners in the project. It was confirmed that four Hy-Vee food stores in the Kansas City area will host chargers.


Some are already mulling the overall impact that Clean Charge will have on the area. Bob Marcusse, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council, said it is huge and as important as Google’s decision to bring its high-speed Internet service here.


“This sends the signal that Kansas City is on the cutting edge of technology,” he said.


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/business/article8179314.html#storylink=cpy

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27

Schneider Electric Introduces New Single-Phase Smart-UPS

ups

New APC by Schneider Electric UPS models provide power range from 5kVA-10kVA.


Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management, today announced the expansion of its family of single-phase Smart-UPS On-Line uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) with the inclusion of new 5 – 10kVA models. Delivering the most manageable, reliable, dense, and efficient UPS in its class, the 5kVA UPS units have a power factor of 0.9, while the 6 – 10kVA units feature unity power factor capability, helping reduce complexity when specifying power protection while providing more real power for active power factor corrected electronics.


“In today’s increasingly connected world, disruption or loss of power to critical equipment translates into high costs and potential reputational damage for businesses,” said Michael Maiello, Sr. Vice President, Home and Business Networks, APC by Schneider Electric. “Our new unity power factor Smart-UPS On-Line models provide simple, convenient, flexible, and reliable power back up, allowing users to feel assured their important equipment and electronics will be protected when they need it most.”


Ideal for a range of applications, from network and server rooms to branch offices and secure power uses, the new APC Smart-UPS On-Line provides scalable, extended runtime and efficient power quality and performance for critical applications. A flexible design that can be configured for rack-mounted or free standing applications also makes the Smart-UPS On-Line easy to install, operate, and service in almost any environment. Additionally, integrated PowerChute Network Shutdown and an embedded network management card with environmental monitoring and remote user interface enable further accessories and communication options to be conveniently added.


Allowing users to avoid costly loss or corruption of data and equipment caused by transients, noise or hard system shutdowns, the Smart-UPS On-Line utilizes built-in automatic bypass to ensure seamless power to the load even in the event of a failure. Double conversion online capability also provides tight voltage and frequency regulation and zero transfer time for reactive loads such as machinery.
New Smart-UPS On-Line models are equipped with a bundle of features to improve efficiency allowing end users to reduce their annual utility cost. New models are ENERGY STAR® qualified and are operable in a high efficiency “green” mode that can reach 97 percent efficiency.


The Smart-UPS On-Line’s graphical LCD display with multi-color backlight provides a real-time, at-a-glance display of UPS status as well as diagnostic and log information. Additional key features of the Smart-UPS On-Line include:
Switchable Outlet Groups: Enables non-critical load shedding, reboot of hung equipment, and sequenced start-up and shutdown.
Hot-Swappable Batteries: User-replaceable batteries ensure continuous operation of the load even when the batteries are being replaced.
Intelligent Battery Management with Predictive Battery Replacement: A temperature-compensated charger continually adjusts to enhance battery life, provides battery health information, and deploys an advanced warning and location information when a battery needs to be replaced.
Faster Recharge Time: Ensures system availability during successive power failures.
Added Resilience: Operates with or without a battery for guaranteed restart, diagnostics and logs.

 

Click here for more information.

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27

Research and Markets: Surge Protection Device Market

Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/k4vpkv/surge_protection) has announced the addition of the “Surge Protection Device Market in the Americas 2015-2019” report to their offering.

The Surge Protection Devices market in North America to grow at a CAGR of 5.95% over the period 2014-2019

Surge protectors are mostly installed in power distribution panels, communication systems, process control systems, and other heavy-duty industrial systems so that all electrical or electronic devices are safeguarded from electrical surges and spikes, especially the ones caused by lightning. Compact versions of the same are installed in the service entrance electrical panel of a residential house to protect all electrical and electronic devices used inside.


The growth of the renewable energy sector is one of the major trends emerging in the market. Solar PV panels and wind turbines are highly susceptible to lightning strikes which have led to the usage of surge protection devices for the protection of these types of equipment.


According to the report, one of the major growth drivers of this market is the demand for electronic devices. The Americas is perhaps the most developed region in the world, especially North America and, therefore, people have the financial power to use all possible electrical and electronic devices. It is necessary to protect these devices from over-voltage spikes and hence there is a demand for surge protection devices.


The lack of complete power quality solutions affects the market potential negatively. Vendors are still unable to provide their customers with a complete solution that protects devices from all kinds of electrical spikes. This is a major challenge for the market.

Key Vendors


Belkin
Eaton
Emerson Electric
GE Industrial Solutions
Leviton Manufacturing
Philips
Schneider Electric
Tripp Lite

Other Prominent Vendors


Monster Cable Products
Prime Wire and Cables
Protection Technology Group

Key Topics Covered:


1. Executive Summary
2. List of Abbreviations
3. Scope of the Report
4. Market Research Methodology
5. Introduction
6. Market Landscape
7. Market Segmentation by Product
8. Plug-in Surge Protection Device Market
9. Hard-wired Surge Protection Device Market
10. Market Segmentation by End-users
11. Buying Criteria
12. Market Growth Drivers
13. Drivers and their Impact
14. Market Challenges
15. Impact of Drivers and Challenges
16. Market Trends
17. Trends and their Impact
18. Vendor Landscape
19. Key Vendor Analysis

To see the full report visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/k4vpkv/surge_protection

Click here for the source of this article.

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1% Penetration of Containerized & Modular Data Centers Still Earns Millions

datacenter

With growth of new shipments estimated at roughly 20% for 2015, the installed base figure will grow to between 250MW and 300MW by the end of the year, making containerized and modular data centers account for 1% of the total data center IT load estimated.


Nearly 200MW of IT load capacity is estimated to currently be housed in containerized or modular data centers around the globe. With growth of new shipments estimated at roughly 20% for 2015, the installed base figure will grow to between 250MW and 300MW by the end of the year, making containerized and modular data centers account for 1% of the total data center IT load estimated. These findings are from a new report by IHS, Containerized and Modular Data Centers – 2015, that defines this market to include products that are “prefabricated, fully enclosed, mobile structures that house data center infrastructure.”


Liz Cruz, the report author, explains that “while 1% may seem like a small number to some, it should be remembered that containerized data centers have only been commercially offered for a few years, and we’re looking at its penetration of all data center IT load globally, which IHS currently estimates to be nearing 30,000MW. So a measly 1% ends up being an annual market worth almost three-quarters of a billion dollars.”


The installed base of containerized and modular data centers, as measured in IT load capacity, is projected to grow at a nearly 30% CAGR over the next five years. A wider swath of customers has become aware of the benefits of containerized and modular data centers, leading to increased adoption in recent years. The appeal of these units includes speed of deployment, outsourced data center design, mobility, offsite manufacturing, a single point of control for all systems, and potential tax and real estate cost reductions.


In addition to the hyperscale customers who helped to popularize the idea of putting thousands of servers in one mobile enclosure, the market now includes an increasing number of innovative and niche uses for these products. One recent example is a project by a Phoenix-area public utility which plans to deploy a containerized data center near one of its generation plants in order to provide power directly from a bulk transmission line, thereby negating the need for a backup generator.


Though the market has a high growth projection over the next five years, Cruz explains that “it will likely be 2025 or later before containerized data centers will account for as much as 5% of the total IT load capacity, and it is not expected that penetration will ever move much beyond that mark. So while containerized data centers are currently growing at a much faster rate than traditional ones, they will always remain a comparatively small portion of the market.”


IHS regularly analyzes all aspects of the data center infrastructure market. Containerized and Modular Data Centers – 2015 provides in-depth analysis across three world regions: the Americas, EMEA, and Asia. Unit shipments, average unit prices, and revenues are estimated for 2014 and forecast through 2019. The market is segmented by region, product type, vertical market, and IT load rating. Supplier market share estimates are presented, and an analysis of the competitive environment is also provided.

 

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P3 presented with annual awards from the Eaton Corporation

The Eaton Corporation announced today that it presented Power Protection Products, Inc. (P3) with two of its coveted manufacturers’ representative awards for the North American markets.

The Power Factor Representative of the Year


The Power Factor Representative of the Year was awarded to P3 based on a variety of factors that included sales goal obtainment, business development and contribution to the power factor correction product line. Richard Orman, Eaton’s National Sales Manager, commented, “P3 has done an outstanding job of combining sales, customer service and business development making a very successful year of growth for our product line.” P3 was chosen over a large group of manufacturer representative firms from across the Country.


Hybrid Representative of the Year


Also, on the same day, the Eaton Corporation announced that P3 has earned the Hybrid Representative of the Year Award. This annual award is given to the Manufacturers’ Representative firm that encompasses the best combination of sales obtainment, customer service and contribution to the development of the total Power Quality business.


“We are pleased and honored to receive the ‘Hybrid Rep of the Year Award’ from Eaton,” said Mark Cowart, Principal, at P3. “We have enjoyed our relationship with the Eaton team over the past several years and look forward to an even more successful future.”


P3 was established in 1996 and serves Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa with sales staff that combines experience and technical ability to provide its clients with a trusted advisor relationship. With over sixty years of combined power quality and critical facility experience, P3 has earned its reputation as one of the best in the business.


About Power Protection Products, Inc.


Power Protection Products, Inc. specializes in the sales, distribution and marketing of a variety of data center infrastructure, power quality and energy enhancing products and services including, surge protection, uninterruptible power supplies, harmonic conditioning and energy saving transformers and other data center power and cooling equipment. The Company also provides data center solutions, facility wide power quality studies, various conferences and seminars with respect to data center design, power quality and energy monitoring.


The Company is also the founder of Power Quality University which is a unique data center and power quality training and educational program. Educational programs are provided free to all interested parties.

Contact:
Brian Branigan
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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New Microsoft Data Center taking shape in Iowa

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa —For commuters on Highway 5, it’s impossible to miss: A booming construction site on the southeast corner of West Des Moines.


Microsoft’s new high-tech data center is taking shape. The city and Microsoft are pumping millions of dollars into the area for development. Hundreds of workers are constructing the first two buildings of the four-phase project.


More than $1 million square feet of new buildings have a cost of $1.1 billion.


“This is the first type of project like this that Microsoft has ever done. It’s probably one of the largest data centers that anybody has ever done in the country,” said Clyde Evans, West Des Moines Economic Development director.


West Des Moines is investing $87 million in infrastructure around the data center, which is money city officials said will spur future developments.


“It probably opens up about another 800 to 1,000 acres that doesn’t presently have infrastructure,” Evans said.


Infrastructure improvements include paving rural roads like Pine Avenue.


That has an immediate impact on local commutes.


“Huge impact when they put in the new road. It takes about five to seven minutes off my route to work,” said Renee Soper, who lives near the site.
City officials said the first phase is slightly behind schedule due to inclement weather, but is slated to be complete by summer.


Microsoft has assured 84 full-time jobs with this project.

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Bracing for a big power grid attack: ‘One is too many’

About once every four days, part of the nation’s power grid — a system whose failure could leave millions in the dark — is struck by a cyber or physical attack, a USA TODAY analysis of federal energy records finds.

 

Although the repeated security breaches have never resulted in the type of cascading outage that swept across the Northeast in 2003, they have sharpened concerns about vulnerabilities in the electric system. A widespread outage lasting even a few days could disable devices ranging from ATMs to cellphones to traffic lights, and could threaten lives if heating, air conditioning and health care systems exhaust their backup power supplies.


Some experts and officials fear the rash of smaller-scale incidents may point to broader security problems, raising questions about what can be done to safeguard the electrical grid from an attack that could leave millions without power for days or weeks, with potentially devastating consequences.

“It’s one of those things: One is too many, so that’s why we have to pay attention,” said Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Cheryl LaFleur. “The threats continue to evolve, and we have to continue to evolve as well.”

 

Part of the nation’s power grid is struck by a cyber or physical attack nearly once every four days. Some experts fear the rash of smaller-scale incidents may point to broader security problems with potentially devastating consequences. 


An examination by USA TODAY in collaboration with more than 10 Gannett newspapers and TV stations across the country, and drawing on thousands of pages of government records, federal energy data and a survey of more than 50 electric utilities, finds:
• More often than once a week, the physical and computerized security mechanisms intended to protect Americans from widespread power outages are affected by attacks, with less severe cyberattacks happening even more often.
• Transformers and other critical equipment often sit in plain view, protected only by chain-link fencing and a few security cameras.
• Suspects have never been identified in connection with many of the 300-plus attacks on electrical infrastructure since 2011.
• An organization funded by the power industry writes and enforces the industry’s own guidelines for security, and decreased the number of security penalties it issued by 30% from 2013 to 2014, leading to questions about oversight.


Jon Wellinghoff, former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said the power grid is currently “too susceptible to a cascading outage” because of its reliance on a small number of critical substations and other physical equipment.


Because the nation’s electrical grid operates as an interdependent network, the failure of any one element requires energy to be drawn from other areas. If multiple parts fail at the same time, there is the potential for a cascading effect that could leave millions in the darks for days, weeks or longer.

“Those critical nodes can, in fact, be attacked in one way or another,” Wellinghoff said. “You have a very vulnerable system that will continue to be vulnerable until we figure out a way to break it out into more distributed systems.”


‘A GAME CHANGER’


Some of the worst fears of those in charge of the power grid’s security came true shortly before 1 a.m. on April 16, 2013, when unknown attackers unleashed a coordinated attack on Pacific Gas & Electric’s Metcalf substation in northern California.

The attackers severed six underground fiber-optic lines before firing more than 100 rounds of ammunition at the substation’s transformers, causing more than $15 million in damage.

The intentional act of sabotage, likely involving more than one gunman, was unlike any previous attack on the nation’s grid in its scale and sophistication.

Yet officers did not begin investigating the scene until hours after the shooting took place. Security footage from the shooting is grainy. The attackers were never caught.

Power was not lost, but the nature of the Metcalf attack sent shock waves through the industry.

“Shooting at substations, unfortunately, is not uncommon,” Sue Kelly, president and CEO of the American Public Power Association, an industry group, said of the incident at a Senate hearing last year. “But this incident demonstrated a level of sophistication not previously seen in our sector.”

At a California Public Utilities Commission meeting last year to review the incident, PG&E senior director of substations Ken Wells said the Metcalf attack was “a game changer.”

“No doubt about it, …this event caused us and the entire industry to take a new and closer look at our critical facilities and what we can do to protect them,” Wells said.

Following the attack, FERC directed the industry to write new rules for physical security.

The rules, finalized in November, require utilities to identify critical infrastructure that could be vulnerable to attack and come up with security plans. But the new policy drew concern because it does not give FERC authority to independently choose which facilities are critical, leaving the decisions in the hand of industry.

Wellinghoff said while he is glad the new policy is in place, the lack of authority for FERC “could be a loophole that could miss some aspects of the utility infrastructure that are critical.”

Also as a result of the Metcalf incident, PG&E said it would invest $100 million over three years on new security around many of its critical facilities, including better security cameras, fencing and lighting.

Yet records from hundreds of other attacks in recent years show similar weaknesses still exist at thousands of electric facilities across the country, allowing repeated breaches.

‘SO BADLY BROKEN’


Between 2011 and 2014, electric utilities reported 362 physical and cyberattacks that caused outages or other power disturbances to the U.S. Department of Energy. Of those, 14 were cyberattacks and the rest were physical in nature.


Among the incidents:
• In 2011, an intruder gained access to a critical hydro-electric converter station in Vermont by smashing a lock on a door.
• In 2013, a gunman fired multiple shots at a gas turbine power plant along the Missouri-Kansas border.
• Also in 2013, four bullets fired from a highway struck a power substation outside Colorado Springs, Colo​.

No suspects were apprehended in those three incidents. Federal data show such attacks are not rare within the sprawling, interdependent network of transformers, power lines and other equipment that makes up the electrical grid.

Often, such incidents are shrugged off by the local law police who initially investigate.

In March 2013, security officers at the Jacksonville Electric Authority in Florida noticed a man climbing a fence surrounding St. Johns River Power Park, which produces energy for 250,000 northern Florida households.

The man fled when approached, Jacksonville Electric Authority spokeswoman Gerri Boyce said, and was later observed trying to enter a second facility. He fled again and was never caught.

Nobody filed a police report, according to Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office documents.


SMALL COMMUNITIES AT RISK TOO


Federal records show it is not just large communities that are at risk of attack. Even small, rural utility companies have been subject to foul play.

After a 2011 cyberattack struck the Pedernales Electric Cooperative — a non-profit utility that serves about 200,000 customers across a vast agrarian region of Texas — the utility’s CEO, R.B. Sloan, shared his surprise with the utility’s board of directors.

“You would think if they really wanted to have an impact, they would go for something (else),” he said in a public meeting. Sloan said at the time that the utility filed reports with the Department of Energy and FBI, but he was concerned about the way they handled it.
“It’s obvious to us that some of the regulatory bodies are not well-equipped to accept these and follow up,” he said during the 2011 meeting. “I think this event has made that very apparent.”

Now an executive for a Georgia utility software company, Sloan declined to discuss the attack.

While the Department of Energy received only 14 reports of cyberattacks from utilities over the past four years, other reporting systems show rising cyberthreats.

The branch of the Department of Homeland Security that monitors cyberthreats received reports of 151 “cyber incidents” related to the energy industry in 2013 — up from 111 in 2012 and 31 in 2011. It is uncertain whether the increase is due to more incidents or an increase in reporting.

Scott Aaronson, senior director of national security for the Edison Electric Institute, a Washington, D.C., group representing electric utilities, said it’s difficult to draw trends from figures reported by utilities due to because of loose definitions of what constitutes a cyber incident.

“Whether it’s 13, dozens, thousands — it’s been more art than science to identify what an attack is,” he said. “There are probes that happen all the time. Adversaries are essentially looking for weaknesses in a network. I’ve heard people say millions (of attacks occur) a day.”

Aaronson noted that there has never been a successful attempt to cause a power outage through a cyberattack in the United States.

Nevertheless, the interconnected nature of the grid and its reliance on communications protocols that predate modern cybersecurity problems are considered cause for concern by security experts. A simulated cyberattack conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory in 2007 exploited a vulnerability at the facility by altering the timing of a diesel generator’s circuit breakers, causing thick smoke to rise from the plant.

To prevent such attacks, some critical elements of the electricity industry’s infrastructure are completely disconnected from the Internet to keep them insulated from adversaries. The power industry also employs stronger cyberdefense mechanisms than, for instance, the retail industry, which has suffered a string of high-profile cyber intrusions in recent years.

For some industry watchers, physical threats to the grid loom larger. But to experts and officials, each reported attack is worrisome.
Former energy security regulator Josh Axelrod, speaking at a 2013 security conference in Louisville, described a “seven bullets theory” of how a mass outage could be triggered by a physical attack targeting key pieces of equipment.

The Eastern power grid is highly interconnected and relies on rolling power between different utilities, he said, according to a video of the presentation.

“If you know where to disable certain transformers, you can cause enough frequency and voltage fluctuation in order to disable the grid and cause cascading outages,” said Axelrod, who now heads the power and utilities information security practice at Ernst & Young. “You can pick up a hunting rifle at your local sporting goods store … and go do what you need to do.”

Thomas Popik, president of the Foundation for Resilient Societies, a Nashua, N.H.-based advocacy group, argued the power industry is given too much leeway to control its own security rules.
“The system is so badly broken,” Popik said. “For physical protection, the standards are very weak.”


PENALTIES DECREASING


Under guidelines set by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, an industry-funded non-profit – the North American Electrical Reliability Corporation, or NERC — writes standards for the industry, which are then approved or disapproved by FERC, the federal agency that whichhas jurisdiction over the power grid.

In a 2012 report, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service called the regulatory arrangement unusual and said it “may potentially be a conflict of interest” for an industry to write its own rules.
Federal regulators also look to NERC for enforcement of those rules, which has decreased in recent years.

The number of enforcement actions taken by NERC against utilities for failing to follow critical infrastructure protection guidelines decreased 30% from 1,230 in 2013 to 860 in 2014.

After issuing more than $5 million in penalties for critical infrastructure violations in 2013, the organization’s figures show NERC issued less than $4 million in such penalties last year.
NERC president and CEO Gerry Cauley said decreasing fines point to increased compliance, rather than decreasing enforcement.

“Longer term, you expect people to get the message and make the adjustments to keep improving,” he said. “It’s not because we’re being nicer.”

NERC, along with industry funded groups like the Edison Electric Institute, have also fought legislation including the Grid Reliability and Infrastructure Defense Act, or GRID Act, that would eliminate the industry’s self-regulation. Congressional lobbying disclosure records show industry-funded groups spent millions lobbying about the GRID Act since 2010.

Cauley said the industry’s technical expertise is essential to ensuring reliability of the system, and legislation lessening the industry’s oversight role would be “detrimental.”

“The people who run and manage and design the system have to be at the table there to figure out how it should work,” he said. “We wouldn’t want to lose that. I think we would actually take a step backward if we did that.”

 

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Rising Power Quality Issues Spur Demand for Surge Protection Devices

The global market for Surge Protection Devices (SPDs) is forecast to reach US$2.4 billion by 2020, driven by the growing need to protect sensitive electronic equipment from power fluctuations.

global market share report

GIA has released a comprehensive global report on Surge Protection Devices (SPDs). The global market for Surge Protection Devices (SPDs) is forecast to reach US$2.4 billion by 2020, driven by the growing need to protect sensitive electronic equipment from power fluctuations.

Surge protection devices such as transient voltage surge suppressors and surge arrestors are growing in importance, given the billions of dollars of losses caused by voltage fluctuations and power line abnormalities. Widespread use of sophisticated electrical, electronic communication and data equipment is driving the importance of power management solutions including SPDs, in both developed and developing economies. Proliferation of home appliances, personal computers, heating and air conditioning equipment in residential homes, and installation of high-end industrial electronic equipment in manufacturing plants are driving growth in the market. Future growth in the market will continue to benefit from the increasing use of electronics in the rapidly growing world telecommunication industry.

The commercial end-use sector is expected to witness strong growth in the coming years. With nationwide alternate energy programs gaining popularity in Germany, China and other major economies, demand for surge protectors is expected to gain strength. Substitution of conventional coil and core street lamps with light emitting diodes for outdoor lighting is also opening up new growth avenues for SPD manufacturers. Miniaturization and clock speeds of microprocessors as dictated by Moore’s Law comes at a price, namely higher sensitivity of the chips to power transients, electromagnetic interference, radio frequency interference and electrical field transients. The increasing sensitivity of modern electronic devices to even split-second electricity fluctuations bodes well for sales of SPDs. The global market for SPDs is extremely competitive characterized by a high degree of fragmentation, and pricing pressures. The relatively commoditized SPD technology leaves very little scope for differentiation. Pure-play SPD manufacturers face stiff competition from large diversified electrical equipment makers.

As stated by the new market research report on Surge Protection Devices (SPDs), the United States represents the largest market worldwide. Developing countries are forecast to spearhead future growth in the market led by mounting issues related to stable power supply. Escalating demand for energy as a result of robust pace of economic development and industrialization, inefficient energy infrastructure and power shortages, are key reasons responsible for poor power quality in these countries. Asia-Pacific, led by China and India, is forecast to witness the strongest growth over the analysis period. Key factors driving growth in the region include the growing consumer appetite for expensive electronic devices, and migration of industries towards digitization and automation of production and business processes.

 

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Inside Google’s Huge Iowa Data Centers

Google Iowa Aerial Shot

Above: Google’s ‘Council Bluffs’ data center facilities in Iowa. Image Credit: Google


Google confirmed that it is investing an additional $1 billion in massive Iowa data centers into which it has already put $1.5 billion. Below is a video of the massive project:

The so-called “Council Bluffs” project, which began in 2009, is still under construction. Google is said to be asking the state of Iowa for $19.8 million in new tax incentives for the project, according to the Des Moines Register.


Google told VentureBeat that:
"In new video footage we’re sharing, you can see for the first time what our two Council Bluffs data center facilities look like on the inside and from the air — that’s hundreds of thousands of square feet of computing power to deliver your most important search results and your favorite videos, the instant you want them. It’s all managed by more than 300 employees and contractors hard at work across the two campuses.
Google’s data centers are some of the most efficient in the world, using 50 percent less energy than the typical data center. Google is the first major Internet services company to gain external certification of the high environmental, workplace safety, and energy management standards of its data centers. And as always, one of our highest priorities when building a new facility is finding renewable energy sources to power it. For Council Bluffs, we’ve secured 407 [megawatts] of wind power from local utility MidAmerican Energy and 114 MW of wind power from a facility in Story County, Iowa. Separately, we’ve invested $75 million in a 50 MW wind farm in Greene County, north of Des Moines."

Data centers like these are used by Google to serve search results, videos, Google Apps, and much more. It has data center facilities scattered throughout the United States, Asia, Europe, and South America.

For Google to invest ten-figure amounts in data centers isn’t surprising, of course. In 2014, according to GigaOm, the company spent as much as $11 billion on “real estate purchases, production equipment, and data center construction.”

And the Register wrote that data center construction in Iowa is on the rise. Microsoft is currently building two billion-dollar data centers in the area, the newspaper reported, and Facebook also has a center under construction there.

 

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Factors Affecting Arc Flash Injuries

There are five primary factors that determine the severity of an injury from an electrical arc:

• Distance from the arc
• Absorption coefficient of the clothing worn
• Arc temperature
• Arc duration
• Arc length
Let’s take a closer look at each one of these items so you can better understand how to protect your workers or yourself.

Arc Flash

Distance from the Arc

The heat of an electrical arc is referred to as the “incident energy.” This is because the heat is made up of the radiated heat (infrared) and convection heat (heat flow through air). Incident energy decreases by the inverse square of the distance as a person moves away from an arc source. A simpler way to state this is that as a person moves away from an arc, the heat will decrease rapidly. This aspect is critical to understanding how to protect oneself from an arc.


Body position is a primary factor to consider when performing energized work. A person should stand as far from the device as practical, while still being able to perform the work effectively. Standing closer than necessary will increase the incident energy that person will receive if there is an arc flash event.


If incident energy decreases by the inverse square of the distance moving away from an arc source, it will increase by the square of the distance as the distance decreases. It only takes a small change in the distance to make a large change in the incident energy. The standard working distance for work on systems operating at less than 600V is typically 18 in., while 2.4kV to 15kV power systems typically have a 36 in. working distance.

Arc Flash Distance

Absorption Coefficient of Clothing Worn


The type and fabric weight of clothing being worn affects the heat that is transferred to the body. NFPA 70E recommends wearing either flammable, non-melting clothing as underlayers (cotton, wool, or silk) or arc-rated underlayers for additional protection. The general rule of thumb is that each layer of clothing worn under arc-rated clothing reduces the heat to the body by approximately 50%. Flammable underlayers do not increase the arc rating of a clothing system, but will reduce the probability of a burn underneath arc-rated clothing.

Arc Temperature

Arc Temperature

The temperature of an electrical arc is mostly determined by the megawatts of power being consumed by the arc. Megawatts (watts x 1,000,000) is a tremendous amount of energy. A 3-phase, 480V fault with 50,000A of short circuit current will consume 23MW of power. The heat from an electrical arc vaporized the copper in this circuit breaker.

Arc Duration

Arc Duration

Keeping overcurrent protective devices calibrated reduces the duration of the arc. The arc duration is the second most-critical injury factor in an arc flash event. Incident energy is proportional to time. If a person is exposed to an arc flash for 0.08 sec, they would receive twice the incident energy as an arc of the same magnitude that lasted 0.04 sec. This is why the NFPA 70E Technical Committee added Sec. 205.4 to the standard, which states: “Overcurrent protective devices shall be maintained in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions or industry consensus standards.”

Poorly maintained circuit breakers and other overcurrent protective devices (OCPDs) are unreliable. If an OCPD malfunctions, it will increase the time it takes to clear and extinguish the fault. NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance, and ANSI/NETA MTS-2015, Standard for Maintenance Testing Specifications for Electrical Power Equipment and Systems, should also be consulted to develop an acceptable maintenance program.

Arc Length

Arc Length

The arc length becomes a factor at higher voltages (i.e., greater than 600V). It has been demonstrated that with all other factors being the same a longer arc creates more incident energy than a shorter arc. Low-voltage power systems less than 208 V cannot normally sustain an electrical arc, as arc resistance causes a voltage drop of approximately 75V per inch to 100V per inch. Even though high-voltage electrical systems present the greatest risk of an arc, low-voltage systems can also suffer catastrophic failures.

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Methods of Grounding

What is Grounding or Earthing?


To connect the metallic (conductive) Parts of an Electric appliance or installations to the earth (ground) is called Earthing or Grounding.


In other words, to connect the metallic parts of electric machinery and devices to the earth plate or earth electrode (which is buried in the moisture earth) through a thick conductor wire (which has very low resistance) for safety purpose is known as Earthing or grounding.


To earth or earthing rather, means to connect the part of electrical apparatus such as metallic covering of metals, earth terminal of socket cables, stay wires that do not carry current to the earth. Earthing can be said as the connection of the neutral point of a power supply system to the earth so as to avoid or minimize danger during discharge of electrical energy.

Earthing can be done in many ways. The various methods employed in earthing (in house wiring or factory and other connected electrical equipment and machines) are discussed as follows:

1) Plate Earthing:


In plate earthing system, a plate made up of either copper with dimensions 60cm x 60cm x 3.18mm (i.e. 2ft x 2ft x 1/8 in) or galvanized iron (GI) of dimensions 60cm x 60cm x 6.35 mm (2ft x 2ft x ¼ in) is buried vertical in the earth (earth pit) which should not be less than 3m (10ft) from the ground level.


For proper earthing system, follow the above mentioned steps in the (Earth Plate introduction) to maintain the moisture condition around the earth electrode or earth plate.plate earthing, plate grounding.

Plate Earthing

2) Pipe Earthing:


A galvanized steel and a perforated pipe of approved length and diameter is placed vertically in a wet soil in this kind of system of earthing. It is the most common system of earthing.

The size of pipe to use depends on the magnitude of current and the type of soil. The dimension of the pipe is usually 40mm (1.5in) in diameter and 2.75m (9ft) in length for ordinary soil or greater for dry and rocky soil. The moisture of the soil will determine the length of the pipe to be buried but usually it should be 4.75m (15.5ft).Pipe Earthing and Grounding

Pipe Earthing and Grounding

3) Rod Earthing:


It is the same method as pipe earthing. A copper rod of 12.5mm (1/2 inch) diameter or 16mm (0.6in) diameter of galvanized steel or hollow section 25mm (1inch) of GI pipe of length above 2.5m (8.2 ft) are buried upright in the earth manually or with the help of a pneumatic hammer. The length of embedded electrodes in the soil reduces earth resistance to a desired value.

Copper Rod Electrode Earthing System

4) Earthing through the Waterman:


In this method of earthing, the waterman (Galvanized GI) pipes are used for earthing purpose. Make sure to check the resistance of GI pipes and use earthing clamps to minimize the resistance for proper earthing connection.


If stranded conductor is used as earth wire, then clean the end of the strands of the wire and make sure it is in the straight and parallel position which is possible then to connect tightly to the waterman pipe.


5) Strip or Wire Earthing:


In this method of earthing, strip electrodes of cross-section not less than 25mm x 1.6mm (1in x 0.06in) is buried in a horizontal trenches of a minimum depth of 0.5m. If copper with a cross-section of 25mm x 4mm (1in x 0.15in) is used and a dimension of 3.0mm2 if it’s a galvanized iron or steel.


If at all round conductors are used, their cross-section area should not be too small, say less than 6.0mm2 if it’s a galvanized iron or steel. The length of the conductor buried in the ground would give a sufficient earth resistance and this length should not be less than 15m.


General method of Earthing / Proper Grounding Installation (Step by Step)


The usual method of earthing of electric equipments, devices and appliances are as follow:
1. First of all, dig a 5x5ft (1.5×1.5m) pit about 20-30ft (6-9 meters) in the ground. (Note that, depth and width depends on the nature and structure of the ground)
2. Bury an appropriate (usually 2’ x 2’ x 1/8” (600x600x300 mm) copper plate in that pit in vertical position.
3. Tight earth lead through nut bolts from two different places on earth plate.
4. Use two earth leads with each earth plate (in case of two earth plates) and tight them.
5. To protect the joints from corrosion, put grease around it.
6. Collect all the wires in a metallic pipe from the earth electrode(s). Make sure the pipe is 1ft (30cm) above the surface of the ground.
7. To maintain the moisture condition around the earth plate, put a 1ft (30cm) layer of powdered charcoal (powdered wood coal) and lime mixture around the earth plate of around the earth plate.
8. Use thimble and nut bolts to connect tightly wires to the bed plates of machines. Each machine should be earthed from two different places. The minimum distance between two earth electrodes should be 10 ft (3m).
9. Earth continuity conductor which is connected to the body and metallic parts of all installation should be tightly connected to earth lead.
10. At last (but not least), test the overall earthing system through earth tester. If everything is going about the planning, then fill the pit with soil. The maximum allowable resistance for earthing is 1Ω. If it is more than 1 ohm, then increase the size (not length) of earth lead and earth continuity conductors. Keep the external ends of the pipes open and put the water time to time to maintain the moisture condition around the earth electrode which is important for the better earthing system.

 

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