Energy Disturbance Resiliency through Automated Fault Isolation and Restoration
Lee Melville | SEL Engineering Services, Inc.
The primary objective of this project is to improve reliability of the electrical supply to critical infrastructure within Department of Defense (DoD) bases. Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) technology will provide monitoring capabilities using intelligent Distribution Automation and fault location devices, so DoD personnel are immediately alerted to electrical network disturbances. This will support faster responses to electrical outages. The new technology supports remote communication which will allow for automated restoration of sections of the electrical network, isolating the faulted location(s). This compares to the present lack of visibility for the distribution network, requiring phone calls from affected base locations to alert to electrical faults.
A combination of the latest reclosing device technology with intelligent recloser controllers will replace manually operated switches on the electrical distribution network. This adds to the protection capabilities within metering stations and substations, penetrating further into the distribution network for increased visibility and control. The most recent innovations in recloser controllers will be used with this project, ensuring that compatibility with distributed generation is also taken into account. These controllers will communicate with a centralized SEL controller utilizing industry standard protocols to monitor system topology, feeder loading, voltage levels, and other valuable system information. Fault location devices will also be installed to communicate with this centralized controller for improved decision making related to fault location, isolation and restoration.
This system will provide real-time visibility into DoD distribution network status, allowing for improved fault response times and reduced outage time in the event of an electrical distribution fault. This increases energy resiliency for base operations by recovering more rapidly from disruptions. Safety of DoD personnel will be improved as more information during critical events can be used to better inform field crews of network conditions, as well as reducing their risks through automated operations.