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October 2020 Volume 254 | No 8

Informing the electrical industry for 140 years

Fast verification of partial discharge activity

Test & Measurement

Energy Storage & Batteries

The secret advantage businesses never knew they needed, until now.


Final Say Carbon offsetting: What exactly is it and why is it so important?

Could BACS really help save the world?



Conten t s Regulars


04 • Leader I give up.

06 • News Stories from the sector.

10 • Gossage The latest from our industry insider.

38 • Company Spotlight


From outer space to the deepest depths of the ocean, is there anywhere Yuasa batteries aren’t?

42 • Talking Point What Covid-19 could mean for DSOs in the long-term.

44 • Products


Innovations worth watching.

46 • Final Say What exactly is carbon offsetting and why is it so important?

Features 14 • Test & Measurement Remote testing: the secret advantage businesses didn’t know they needed, until now.


20 • Smart Tech Why electrical professionals should be getting smart with smart tech.

24 • Energy Efficiency Three steps to improved UPS efficiency as we adjust to the ‘new normal’ of shifting demand.


30 • Energy Storage & Batteries Could BACS really help save the world?

34 • Switchgear & Substations Six ways to mitigate some of the challenges presented by medium voltage substations.




Claire Fletcher


Jordan O’Brien


Alex Gold


Sunny Nehru +44 (0) 207 062 2539


Kelly Baker +44 (0)207 0622534


Wayne Darroch

Editor’s Comment Well, every editor’s comment I wish for change, perhaps some slight improvement on the diabolical year we’ve had so far, and every time, things appear to get worse, so I’m keeping my mouth shut. Considering we are 10 months into the year, I think we can safely consider this one a write-off, better luck next time. Trying to think of something positive to focus on right now is difficult, particularly now we are into autumn and I don’t recall summer swinging by. But, autumn is a time for big jumpers, hot drinks and a lot of Netflix – so basically no different to the summer lockdown here up north. The rise in Covid cases is apparently because “some of us weren’t following the rules”, and certainly nothing to do with the fact the government literally gave people 50% off if they went out to eat throughout the entirety of August and partially into September, resulting in packed out venues nationwide from a Monday to a Wednesday. And it’s certainly nothing to do with increased testing. But, so long as you’re safely out of the pub by 10pm and don’t associate with more than six people at a time, don’t worry, you’ll be fine. Claire Fletcher, Editor

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News New changes proposed to the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations The Institute of Engineering and Technology and the British Standards Institution has announced some important changes that could be made to the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations. Dubbed Amendment 2 2022, the changes to BS 7671 will have a wide-ranging impact on the way the electrical industry works. This is the second time the 18th Edition has been amended, following updates to the electric vehicle charging requirements which were implemented this year. One of the largest proposed changes in Amendment 2 is a new Part 8 – Functional Requirements. Part 8 includes Chapter 82: Prosumer’s Low-Voltage Electrical Installations, which sets out the requirements for Prosumer Electrical Installations (PEIs), including considerations for interaction with the smart grid, safety requirements (including earthing arrangements), proper functioning and implementation. Electrical installers will have a large part to play in the selection of the most appropriate equipment and a comprehensive knowledge of this area will be key as prosumer technologies develop. Important changes to fire safety requirements are also proposed in Chapter 4, covering the design of electrical installations in industrial, commercial and multiple-occupancy homes, as well as new information for ‘protected escape routes’. For further detail and updates, please visit the Electrical Review website.

EDF to assist UK public sector with EV transition The UK Government is eager to lead by example in the transition to electric vehicles. Now the Crown Commercial Service is leaning on EDF to make the switch a reality. While EDF’s name is on the contract with the Crown Commercial Service, it’s likely that Pod Point, the electric charger manufacturer that EDF acquired last year, will do most of the heavy lifting. That’s because the Crown Commercial Service requires the creation of a nationwide charging infrastructure. Vincent De Rul, director of EV Solutions at EDF noted, “This appointment further underlines EDF’s role in helping Britain achieve net zero. The installation of effective electric vehicle charging infrastructure is vital to enable progress towards this goal. We are looking forward to continuing to work with government and public sector customers to help deliver the infrastructure that the UK needs.”


While the 2050 deadline may seem like a distant problem, it is imperative that the industry begins laying the foundations for the UK’s net zero future as soon as possible. In order to do that, it’s important that the necessary workers are available to install the technologies that will be needed. Unfortunately, according to the latest findings from the Skills for Climate consultation, 70% of UK engineering services businesses lack the necessary number of workers to undertake low to no carbon work. That could seriously hamper the UK’s hopes of a ‘green recovery’ to the economy. The UK electrical industry is lacking the necessary expertise in a number of low carbon technologies, but firms argue that it’s particularly notable in terms of solar PV, heat pumps, energy storage systems and smart building technology. 6 Electrical Review | October 2020



Labour has joined calls to bring forward the ban on new diesel and petrol vehicles to 2030, following similar statements from the ECA and BP. Matthew Pennycook MP, Labour’s shadow minister for climate change, noted that 2030 was an “ambitious but achievable date” that would bring “life to the UK car industry, whilst combating climate breakdown and cleaning up the air that dangerously pollutes so many of our towns and cities”.

National Grid increasingly turns to batteries for grid balancing, up 149% The National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) is increasingly opting to use battery energy storage to balance the UK’s energy system, according to Cornwall Insight. The latest report from Cornwall Insight shows that there has been a 149% increase in the accepted volumes in the Balancing Mechanism for batteries between June and August 2020. Howev-

er, there have been even greater increases for gas reciprocating engines, which are up 338%, and aggregated units, which saw an increase of 518% year-on-year. Accepted volumes from wind have also increased by 125%, with coal the only technology to see a decline in activity for these three months.


SELECT launches Conditional Membership due to Covid-19 restrictions Companies will now be able to join SELECT and enjoy the full benefits of membership without undergoing in-person assessments, as part of the new Conditional Membership enrolment option. In the absence of in-person assessments, new criteria to ensure a high standard of members have been introduced. To be considered for membership, applicants must now satisfy two additional criteria – the nominated Qualified Supervisor must have a current SJIB (ECS) Grade Card and com-

8 Electrical Review | October 2020

pleted updated training in BS 7671:2018 Requirements for Electrical Installations 18th Edition. These technical assessments necessary for membership will be carried out remotely in two stages. If successful, the applicant firm is made a Conditional Member with full access to all member services, subject to conditions. At the earliest opportunity, and when physical distancing conditions allow, an in-person technical assessment will be carried out to confirm full membership.

During the second quarter of 2020, 60% of businesses in the engineering services sector saw a drop in their revenue versus what they had in the first quarter of the year. However, that drop was not as large as many businesses had predicted in the last survey that was taken in April. That’s led many businesses to be a lot more positive about the outlook of the economy going forward. While some businesses are bracing for an even further drop, some 67% of respondents believe that their turnover will increase or remain the same in the third quarter of 2020 – that’s if we aren’t hit with a second lockdown.

GOSSAGE Not lighting the way

Lions, misled by donkeys

At the start of this month the Government launched its ‘Green Homes grant scheme’. Over the next six months, £1.5 billion has been allocated to offer two-thirds of the costs of installing energy saving measures in the residential sector – worth up to £5,000 per household.

Does the electricity regulator Ofgem live in a different world to the rest of us? That seems to be the conclusion reached at the National Grid. The Grid, consistently one of the most impressively run parts of the electricity network, has told the regulator straight out that a significant part of its ‘draft determination’, regarding the company’s proposed investment expenditure over the next five years, is simply ‘unacceptable’.

When in early July Chancellor Rishak announced the grants scheme, briefings were sent out to all the media explaining what products would qualify. In that list, as reproduced endlessly – including in the Sun, the Mirror, the Express, the BBC website and, yes, also Electrical Review – was ‘energy efficient lighting’. But when one month later the Government issued its definitive list of qualifying products, there was no mention of anything to do with lighting. Why? The reason is simple. The overriding objective is to provide registered employment within the construction industry. Tens of thousands of new jobs will be delivered, according to Business Secretary Alok Sharma. And that sadly means that one of the products that has already brought some of the greatest electricity savings of all, but has the potential to deliver so much more, has been unceremoniously disbarred from entry into the entire grants scheme. Although why lighting featured so prominently in the government’s initial eligibility list, is anybody’s guess. Perhaps the old joke should now become: how many civil servants does it take to change an official scheme to exclude lightbulbs?

The Grid has a business plan committed to almost £10 billion of investment over the next five-year RIIO-2 period, but this has to be approved by Ofgem. More than 50% of the proposed electricity network investment and around 40% of the proposed gas network investment has been disallowed in Ofgem’s ‘draft determination’. If such a complete watering-down of ambition is enforced, the regulator’s caution will seriously delay key investment needed for the government’s net zero transition, and will seriously impact upon the long-term resilience of the energy networks. According to the energy system operator, Ofgem instead proposes to subject a large part of the company to wasteful, additional, time-consuming future approvals processes. National Grid calculates the amount it can invest in electricity network reliability will have to be cut by 80%. It reckons the energy regulator’s proposals will increase the risk to network reliability and resilience by 24%, and estimates that the current approach would take around 100 years to replace important electricity network assets. All this would increase the risk both of scuppering the path to net zero carbon emissions, and of substantial outages particularly during severe weather events, according to the National Grid. And who will get the blame for these shortfalls? Sadly, not that dreary grey man running Ofgem, little Jonny Brearley.

Assembly point In January 2020, over 100 randomly selected members of the public met in a secret location to begin taking part in the UK’s first ‘climate assembly’. Lasting five months, the assembly asked citizens to listen to advice from climate experts before coming up with a list of recommendations for how the country should reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Regarding electricity, there was extremely strong support for renewables – particularly offshore wind power. In other areas, however, support was somewhat lower, with assembly members expressing serious doubts over the costs and benefits both of nuclear and of bioenergy, as well as advocating for a conservative (small C!) approach to some cutting-edge clean technologies, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and direct air capture (DAC) systems. But above all, the assembly concluded that the most environmentally-friendly form of electricity occurred when its use was avoided. Well, who would have guessed it?

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The long and winding road Smack in the middle of this summer’s Covid-19 lockdown, Electricité de France decided to apply for formal permission to build its long-promised third nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk. To be called, with stunning originality, Sizewell C. The company has been spending copious funds, running public exhibitions explaining to residents how they are going to be so super-efficient that the new development would cost a mere £20 billion, making it a snip compared with its – years behind schedule – twin currently being constructed at Hinkley in Somerset. Instead of holding more public meetings, the French firm decided to run a mobile-library bus, on which people could check out the latest propaganda. Alas, nobody thought to check whether local car parks could accommodate the bus (they couldn’t). So, the bus was taken initially to a lay-by just off one of the main roads in the county, where it soon became wedged firmly into the grass verge. It then needed a tow-truck surrounded by TV cameras to drag it out, blocking all traffic either way for several hours. The relevant highways authority is Suffolk County Council. Precisely the same local authority that has to grant planning permission. In the light of this much publicised debacle, it should have come as no surprise when the usually supine County Council decided on September 22 that it really could not give its backing to the proposals. And what reasons did the Council give for this thumbs down? Introducing the formal report, Suffolk’s Cabinet member for the environment and public protection, Richard Rout, complained that, “we remain very disappointed at EDF Energy’s transport strategy… we don’t believe it is a sustainable solution with its massive impact on local communities, with a much higher number of heavy goods vehicles taking to Suffolk’s roads than our existing infrastructure can handle.” Not to mention its lay-bys.


Work safer on medium voltage systems When you work on medium voltage switchgear, your first and overriding priority will always be to maximise safety. But what can you do to protect yourself against hidden hazards that are not readily apparent? Damon Mount of Megger looks into this issue and offers some useful suggestions.

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f you’re professionally involved with MV switchgear, you’ll know that there are many ways in which it can fail. You’ll also know that the most common is insulation breakdown, and that the results can be catastrophic. Even a modest fault in an MV installation releases enough energy to wreck equipment and, if the circumstances are truly unfortunate, to kill. Which means that when you’re working with or even near MV equipment, you want to be as sure as you possibly can be that such a fault is not likely to occur. Unfortunately, equipment that’s about to fail rarely gives you an advance warning. Or does it? In fact, insulation breakdowns are very often preceded by partial discharge (PD) events. If you can detect and monitor these events, you will, therefore, have a strong indication of equipment and cables that may soon fail. You can then investigate further and, if necessary, take the equipment out of service before a really serious problem develops. At the very least, you’ll know that it’s a good idea to keep your distance from the suspect equipment if you want to stay safe. That’s reason enough for owners and operators of MV systems to insist that PD checks are always carried out on their equipment before any work takes place on or near it. That’s all very well, but how do you carry out these surveys? Equipment to detect PD is nothing new but, for the most part, it has been designed not only to detect PD but also to investigate and characterise it. That’s excellent in its place, but the consequence of all this functionality is that the equipment requires skill to operate and to correctly interpret the results. Also, if you invest in this equipment, it will undoubtedly serve you well in demanding applications, but if you only intend to use it for MV switchgear surveys, you’ll be paying for a lot of features you’ll never use. What you really need is a compact instrument – ideally handheld – that is very easy to use and that provides clear, unambiguous go/no-go results. You’ll need an instrument that works in a live environment, so that you don’t need to take equipment out of service to carry out your surveys. You won’t, however, need sophisticated functionality – you can always bring in other equipment when you want to investigate potential problems more fully – but you will need versatility, so that you can deploy the widest possible range of PD detection techniques. A PD detector can offer the versatility you need by employing multiple sensors – both internal and external – so let’s take a look at some of the possibilities. You will find an internal acoustic sensor – essentially a microphone that listens for the characteristic noise produced by partial discharges – is a good choice for PD testing on air-insulated MV switchgear and equipment that’s in direct line of sight. If you need more flexibility in where you can place the sensor, you can achieve this by using an external acoustic sensor that connects to the detector via a cable. For fully enclosed switchgear, you’ll want a contact probe that is sensitive to vibrations produced by partial discharge, while for switchgear where the components are not visually accessible – mostly vacuum and GIS equipment – an internal TEV (transient earth voltage) sensor will pick up RF radiation from the PD via the switchgear’s metallic enclosure. An external TEV sensor performs a similar function but will also help you to localise the PD source. If you have a PD detector that allows you to connect an HFCT (high-frequency current transformer) sensor, this will usefully extend its functionality to include simple on-line PD surveying of MV cables. Finally, a parabolic acoustic sensor will let you carry out outdoor surveys to detect, for example, corona and surface discharge in terminations, CTs, PTs and isolators.


Let’s remember now that if you’re going to be routinely carrying out quick pre-work safety surveys, your PD detector must be fast and easy to use, so what should you need to do to configure it appropriately for the type of sensor in use? The answer is nothing. The detector should automatically set itself up for the type of internal sensor you select, or for the type of external sensor you plug in. This not only saves you time and trouble, but also makes it near impossible for you to make mistakes that might produce misleading results. And what about those results? You may have heard – or even know from your own experience – that PD results can sometimes require skill and experience to interpret. But you don’t need that level of detail for a safety survey. So how about an instrument that provides you with ‘traffic light’ results? Green for all is OK, amber for caution – consider investigating further, and red for danger – further investigation definitely needed.

Even a modest fault in an MV installation releases enough energy to wreck equipment and, if the circumstances are truly unfortunate, to kill Of course, as you gain experience, you may well want to be able to alter the thresholds for amber and red indications to suit your own specific requirements, and you’ll almost definitely want a little more detail in the results so you can record and trend them. A phase-pattern PD display option will also be useful, as it provides a very useful way to distinguish between true partial discharge effects and random noise. Hopefully by now you’re convinced of the benefits of routinely carrying out PD surveys on MV equipment, especially before you start work on or near it, and so you’ll be interested to know that a PD survey instrument that meets all of the requirements we’ve discussed has recently been introduced to the market. This is the new PD Scan from Megger. In fact, this innovative device does rather more. It includes, for example, a camera that allows photographs to be easily attached to test reports, and which can also be used to read QR codes to identify equipment and documentation. It has a humidity and temperature sensor so that you can easily add these key parameters to your data, and there’s provision for you to download your results easily onto a PC and quickly generate comprehensive reports. For all of its versatility and functionality, this instrument is as simple to use as a smartphone. It has just three buttons, and a large colour touchscreen that is intuitive in use and shows only those options you need to deal with the current operation, rather than forcing you to plough through a rat’s nest of complicated menus. Every one of us in the electrical sector is constantly aware of the need for safe working, which is why many safety precautions are ‘baked’ into our routines: locking out circuits under test, for example, and grounding equipment that’s being worked on. Now the easy-to-use equipment discussed in this article provides us with the opportunity to adopt another safety routine: that of carrying out PD surveys before working on MV equipment. The process is fast, easy and non-disruptive; the results can save not just money, but lives. 13


Remote testing: The secret advantage Chris O’Conor, regional VP, service provider sales at HUBER+SUHNER Polatis, explains why remote testing can provide businesses with the edge they never knew they needed – until now. ver the years, the term ‘service provider’ has come to encompass a broad range of organisations, from traditional wireless and wireline telephone companies to Multi-System CATV Operators (MSO) and data centre providers, including those in the hyperscale community. With the scope of organisations expanding, so too are the types of services that they offer – but one thing that they have in common is that they all carry mission-critical data across their networks. Built to the highest standard, these networks rely heavily on the verification and reliability of even the smallest components. By testing systems in a host of real-world configurations alongside performance measuring equipment, service providers can ensure that secure customer experience and high service quality are achieved.


14 Electrical Review | October 2020

Testing also allows providers to troubleshoot issues by simulating specific network conditions, or quickly alpha test new services and the effect they may have on the current network. Testing requires the ability to quickly change most aspects of the network topology, but what happens when the test engineers are not able to work in the confined spaces of the network lab? Automation is more important than ever The ongoing pandemic has taught us just how important it is for companies across all industries to have remote operation capability. This is particularly crucial for businesses that rely on new, certified equipment for day-to-day activities, where a delay in testing could cause year-long delays in the deployment of new services.


The close confines of test laboratories make it difficult to comply with worldwide social distancing requirements, reducing accessibility for test lab engineers to manually patch each device, measure power readings and clean all fibres to the test equipment. This, in turn, impacts upon the testing of new devices prior to network deployment. The longer it takes to certify new equipment and services, the further away the goals for increased revenue and a competitive edge become. What was once considered a luxury, could now be your greatest asset As networks migrate rapidly to line rates of 400 Gbps and beyond, more connected devices come online. As such, the industry pushes for Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN), putting organisations under intense pressure to test and deliver enhanced network services. With technology advancements and the industry moving towards a more virtualised environment, traditional network test labs will face added pressure. All SDN-enabled components will require re-certification to confirm interoperability in the new dynamic environment, and lab operators will need to adapt to meet these increasing demands. In today’s ever-changing business climate, the automation of testing infrastructure and resources is vital to increase test capacity while reducing costs – enabling fast, repeatable and agile lab operations that are crucial to reducing time to market. While lab automation is not a new concept, many have fallen short of its benefits due to lack of investment in personnel, resources or simply awareness in the company on the advantages that a well-run automated lab can bring. The goal of a perfectly running network has driven providers to test all components before deployment – not just when introducing a new service or component, but also when first received from a vendor to confirm its individual performance compared to the specification. This results in a high number of tests and numerous cross connects. Automated labs result in lower costs and reduced timescales In many organisations, the cross connect function is outsourced to a subcontractor or another group within the company, generating a chargeback. These charges often result in long wait times and, almost a third of the time, the resultant circuit is completed incorrectly, causing further delays. With automation, labs can share expensive equipment and reconfigure tests remotely. Using readily available tools, resources can be shared securely between silos without conflict, allowing 24-hour global access to test equipment. Previously, this fight for resources would often interrupt testing and gridlock the schedule. Problem resolution is also accelerated. An automated lab has an efficient method to cross connect any network component within minutes, rather than hours or days. This level of dynamic connectivity cuts down on network troubleshooting and resolves issues in a fraction of the time compared to the traditional method. By adopting remote switching and related tools, lab engineers can reduce test times by 40% on the first run and close to 75% on repetitive tests, with zero manual intervention. Coupled with an ROI model of roughly 18 months, a switch which may seem initially expensive is easily justified when the reduction in staff or payments of subcontractor fees are considered – making a very compelling case for organisations to adopt a more automated approach in the future.

Evolution is critical to the survival of test labs The move from a traditional to an automated lab environment is not as difficult as lab managers may think. Perhaps the biggest hurdle faced is the technological investment – making a partner in the CFO Office essential. Though the costs associated with lab automation are usually not in the budget, the savings that they offer far outweigh the investment. The group also needs mindshare from the whole organisation to be successful; after all, when a company looks to implement an automated lab, it is likely to result in a reduction of staff or subcontractor fees. Once these obstacles are overcome, there are several specialised software companies with a focus on providing Lab-as-a-Service solutions: choosing the right one for your company is key. These programmes create the environment that allows for reservations of lab resources, the running of test procedures and the documentation of test results. A successful automated lab also requires a reliable all-optical fibre switch to provide the dynamic foundation for the lab network. A fibre switch allows the equipment cabling to be implemented just once, so all subsequent tests can be remotely configured on demand.

Testing requires the ability to quickly change most aspects of the network topology, but what happens when the test engineers are not able to work in the confined spaces of the network lab? This one-time cabling installation protects lab results from potential fibre hygiene issues, creating more repeatable and reliable results. Working with the integration software, the switch provides partitioned testing environments, allowing multiple groups within a company to run tests simultaneously, saving time and money. With the ability to be transparent to any optical speed, circuit type and wavelength, all-optical switching offers future-proofing to preserve the initial investment as line rates and transmission formats continue to advance. The ‘new normal’ calls for preparation for the future With ongoing uncertainty about the continued impact on today’s work environment, the adoption of innovative solutions that allow remote testing orchestration has never been so critical. What was once considered a luxury, is now a requirement as the current situation emphasises the inherent need for remote lab management. By adapting to a more automated lab environment, organisations can continue to operate as normal to ensure the timely completion of projects and leverage a geographically diverse workforce for a follow-the-sun approach to network service testing and development – allowing them to work across multiple test topologies simultaneously without concern for conflict. Lab automation may be evolutionary to some companies and revolutionary to others, but the positive results are being seen in every sector of the service provider industry. Especially in the current work environment, such savings in time, money and personnel have created the ideal incubator for lab automation, and most service providers have either started or are about to commence this new way of working. 15


Staying home, staying safe Darren Tonge, sales director at Hawkesworth, looks at the modern company’s obligations towards home working and whether PAT testing duties stretch to outside the office environment. uring the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in June, 30% of adults in the UK were working from home, with many still continuing to work outside the office environment. For example, Royal Bank of Scotland decided to allow 50,000 staff to work remotely until the start of 2021, with 50 of the biggest UK employers saying that they have no plans to return all staff to the office full-time in the near future. The pandemic was the first taste of home working for countless people across the UK, and it has provided workers across a range of industries benefits, including less stress commuting, more flexibility and an improved work-life balance. According to Eskenzi PR, nine out of ten employees have expressed an interest in working remotely even once the pandemic is over. However, just because employees are out of sight doesn’t mean that they should be out of mind. Regular health and safety requirements apply to all employees, whether they work in the office or at home, in line with The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974). This means that employers are liable if an employee injures themselves whilst working from home.


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The dangers of working from home One of the issues of working from home is that although employees are still bound by health and safety regulations, these regulations are much harder to enforce. This is due to two key reasons. Firstly, staff working from home are not necessarily aware of the potential fire risks of working at home. Electrical Safety First surveyed 3,000 people at the start of lockdown and discovered that a third of employees were unaware of the potential fire risks of overloading plug sockets, an issue that would typically be quickly resolved in the office by the company QHSE team. Secondly, employees do not have the same level of resources available to them that they would in the office. Given the rapid nature of how lockdown was enforced back in March, some employees had to make do with the resources they had at home, working from kitchen tables, sat on the sofa with a laptop on their knee, even using an ironing board as an impromptu desk. Although these approaches resolved these problems temporarily, they were not without their hazards. Leaving appliances like laptops and


phones charging on a sofa, bed, or other flammable surfaces can increase the risk of household fires, especially if the charger or battery is faulty. The Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) requires that any electrical equipment that could cause injury is maintained in a safe condition, ‘as may be necessary to prevent danger’. The easiest way of reducing the risk of injury due to fire at home is to ask employees to carry out visual checks of their appliances (like monitors, extension leads and printers) to see if there is any damage such as frayed wires or damaged casing. However, this means businesses are wholly reliant on employees to determine if appliances are fit for use, and does not account for any internal damage. PAT testing is the best way to ensure that printers, monitors and extension leads used, whether in the office or at home, are safe to use and will not pose a fire risk. Electrical appliance testing should be carried out by a ‘competent’ person, at a frequency appropriate to a businesses’ requirements. PAT and WFH If staff are working from home, there are two ways that companies can carry out PAT testing. Carry out PAT testing at an employee’s home This is when a ‘competent person’ (ideally an engineer) visits an employee’s home to carry out PAT testing there. This can be more expensive as engineers have to travel to employee’s houses, but is a direct and effective way of ensuring compliance. Staff may feel uneasy about having an engineer in their home, especially if they are concerned about coronavirus, but engineers can negate this risk considerably and reassure employees by wearing face coverings and using hand sanitiser.

Test appliances when staff attend the office If staff need to attend site for a performance review or board meeting, they can bring their appliances to the office, leave them with an engineer and take them back home with them after the meeting. This is a more cost-effective solution and allows engineers to test several pieces of equipment in one go, but it can be hard to coordinate, and requires staff to bring potentially heavy or cumbersome pieces of equipment into work.

The Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) requires that any electrical equipment that could cause injury is maintained in a safe condition, ‘as may be necessary to prevent danger’ In conclusion Homeworking has opened up a lot of opportunities for both employers and employees. With the risk of a second wave of coronavirus imminent, an increase in staff working from home could once again be likely. It is the responsibility of the employer to keep staff safe from harm, wherever they are working. Even small steps like testing appliances can go a long way towards making employees feel happier and more productive, and most importantly, safer. 17


Brand new ERA Protect Floodlight Camera arrives s part of the next generation of wireless smart home security, ERA, the UK’s home security specialist, has introduced the ERA Protect Floodlight Camera. Accredited by the BSI IoT (British Standards Institute Internet of Things), the innovative Floodlight Camera is part of the new ERA Protect range, which also includes the Alarm and Outdoor Camera. Working harmoniously together, the entire ERA Protect system is controlled via an intuitive smartphone app enabling users to access images of their property at any time from any location.


Discrete protection for your property Offering discrete security as it looks like a floodlight only with no indication that it also incorporates a camera, the ERA Protect Floodlight Camera is designed to work with the Alarm via the app, giving not only on-demand recording when in live view for instant recordings, but also allowing the user to check on and monitor their property at anytime from anywhere in the world. Featuring high resolution 1080P HD for superior picture quality, the ERA Protect Floodlight Camera is hard-wired for extra protection. Reassuringly, if the internet has failed and the Alarm has been triggered, thanks to the in-built Alarm SIM, data collected via the Floodlight Camera will still be recorded and stored directly to ERA’s GDPR-compliant UK-based cloud. Further Floodlight Cameras, which are installed in such a way that protect cabling to avoid vandalism by intruders, can be added easily to the system at any time. In addition, and unique for an affordable alarm system, a professional monitoring subscription is available. With the flexibility to opt in and out – use permanently or just when you are away on holiday for example – this feature brings real peace of mind to consumers. Tania Tams, head of marketing at ERA said, “Innovative and robust, our ERA Protect Floodlight Camera holds the BSI IoT Kitemark, along with the other products within the range. ERA is the first company in the industry to attain this prestigious mark of quality. “ERA Protect has been researched, designed and produced to the highest quality and has the well-known ERA commitment to service to back it up – welcome to the next generation.” For further information on ERA’s brand new ERA Protect range of smart home security, visit, email or contact the sales team on 01922 490000.

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Getting smart with the latest technology Richard Hopkins, lead marketing manager at Legrand UK and Ireland, outlines the opportunities for electrical professionals to become a primary source of knowledge in the smart technology market.

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e are in the midst of a smart technology revolution. As consumers become aware of the possibility of smart devices and systems, there is a growing expectation for them to be implemented into our nation’s buildings. While many search online to discern what technology is available, without technical understanding it can be difficult to fully understand what the full breadth of smart products can deliver when fully integrated. Demand for smart technology is growing. According to a recent survey of 1,000 consumers, two thirds of people have a smart device in their home, and over half of respondents were planning on purchasing more devices in the near future. Using phrases such as ‘exciting’, ‘interesting’ or ‘revolutionary’, 65% described smart technology positively, so it is clear that demand for the technology is present. However, the survey also revealed that 68% of respondents would turn to the internet to find out more about smart technology, while only 14% would approach their electrician. While the internet is a helpful place to understand the benefits, features and aesthetics of individual devices, it can be difficult to explore how products can be integrated and connected in smart building scenes. With smart technology growing so quickly, electrical professionals now have an opportunity to capitalise on this demand and become the source of smart tech knowledge. By understanding the intricacies of smart products and how they can interconnect within a building, electrical contractors and installers can offer bespoke advice and installations to fit exacting customer requirements. However, what can professionals in the industry do to become experts in smart technology?


Residential smart buildings To be able to offer the most appropriate service, it is first important for electrical professionals to be aware of what technology is currently available. A number of home functions can be enhanced and automated with smart devices, working together in scenes controllable with smartphone apps or central control panels. As we approach the winter months, consumers will be looking for innovations to intelligently heat their homes. Smart thermostats, radiator valves and outdoor weather sensors can be interconnected as part of a smart home scene, heating a home exactly when occupants require it as weather and occupant habits vary during the winter. This includes heating earlier to reach the chosen setpoint temperature at the exact time indicated in the heating schedule. As the smart system learns specific characteristics of the home and accumulated weather data, the system can optimise space heating in the home and increase overall efficiency. Smart lighting is also available for integration in a home automation scene. Controllable through the same system, the lighting can be programmed to turn on and off remotely and with changes in daylight. In situations where occupants are rushing to work or going on holiday, there is no questioning whether they switched all their lights off. Reducing unnecessary lighting use also lowers consumption, a particularly helpful cost saving feature for an increasingly environmentally-aware and sustainable population. To broach security concerns of residential end-users, smart camera systems can be installed easily to the interior and exterior of a property. Some smart cameras can detect different types of movement, be it a person, animal, vehicle or just harmless movement from an object. It can even use facial recognition to discern whether to send alerts to the end-user’s smartphone,

or trigger an inbuilt siren with certain devices. Smart lighting can also be programmed to work in tandem with such camera systems, to further deter intruders and make footage clearer for end-users. On top of these technologies, it is also possible to integrate audio systems, door and gate entry, and even control blinds and curtains within the same house. While consumers may feel they understand each device in isolation, they may need the services of an electrical professional when it comes to interconnecting the entire system and choosing which of these devices they truly require. This is where the opportunity for electrical professionals can be found.

Without technical understanding it can be difficult to fully understand what the full breadth of smart products can deliver when fully integrated Getting trained Clearly electrical professionals are likely to be seeing increased demand from their customers for smart technology installations. A concern for many installers is that this will require vast amounts of extra knowledge and training. As workloads increase and time is at a premium, electrical installers and contractors need training to fit into their busy working schedules. Whether installing a few smart devices or creating an entire automated building, electrical installers can usually upskill quickly and easily. Various companies have designed different training courses with electrical professionals in mind, helping those installing smart building technology to define the solutions that are right for their customer’s requirements. While smart devices and systems continue to become commonplace, electrical professionals can use such training to become a trusted source of smart technology knowledge. Whether working on residential or commercial developments, they can be armed with everything to offer bespoke and project-specific advice and products to clients. In such a consumer-led market, staying ahead of smart technology growth and being proactive in growing knowledge and competence is important for all contractors and installers. Now is the time to take the opportunity to upskill and broaden working opportunities with smart tech. 21


The future of smart installers With the demand for smart homes increasing, Ali Bullough, technical trainer at JTL, discusses the importance of an electrician’s understanding of the smart home market and how they can go about gaining this knowledge.


ccording to Smart Home Week, there are now 15 million ‘smart homes’ in Britain, with its 2019 survey revealing that 57% of homes now have some sort of device to control appliances, while one in six are using smart tech remotely.

The Internet of Things (IoT) Smart home technology is becoming more accessible to many UK households, giving rise to the term ‘home automation’, which refers to the enabling of the remote access of devices inside a household.

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As a result, it now means that we can monitor and adjust various controls remotely, including lighting, temperature, domestic appliances and security needs within our home. Home automation is reliant on the internet and as such, a term has been coined to describe this interconnectivity: the Internet of Things (IoT), which provides a platform for devices to communicate and interact with each other. Home automation began with features designed to save time and effort. This has now advanced into devices that can be controlled by artificial intelligence, such as Amazon’s Alexa, but the IoT is continually


Electric vehicle charging The electric vehicle and hybrid market is growing rapidly in the UK. There are more than 136,000 pure electric vehicles on the road right now in the UK and over 330,000 plug in hybrids (PHEVs). If you include PHEVs with full EVs, they account for almost one in ten new vehicles currently registered in the UK. There are currently over 30,000 electric charging points publicly available in the UK. This is up from previous years, but is still 0.06 chargers per EV/PHEV vehicle on the road. This needs to increase rapidly to meet the demand of EVs. There are also only just over 7,000 rapid chargers (50KW and above) in the UK, an area in dire need of expansion, as they are the only chargers that can effectively provide enough charge to continue travelling in under an hour. With high demand and lack of supply, the opportunity to install electric vehicle charging points as part of the smart home system, certainly forms the mindsight of what future homes look like.

Historically, the home automation market was focused on the ultra-highend customers, but is now an affordable reality for many households

growing. Efficiency is one of the main benefits of using home automation. Devices that can be controlled with pre-sets can have more energy saving benefits as they can turn themselves off when not in use. Assisted living solutions The Internet of Things has also been utilised for automated assistance for people with disabilities or elderly people. For example, people with disabilities who may have sight limitations can be guided with voice control. There are also motion sensing capabilities for seizure and accident emergencies. Additionally, living room hubs can be used as a safety measure at home. Elderly people can be monitored with the help of security cameras and smartphones can then be used to access the video footage at any given time.

The future of homes is big business The Internet of Things, digital lighting and the growing demand for home automation in general, gives way for the traditional electrician to seize these opportunities and become the go-to smart installer. Historically, the home automation market was focused on the ultra-high-end customer, but is now an affordable reality for many households. Plus, as prices continue to come down, the market will speed up. In the UK in 2018, the combined spend on home automation, security and assisted living solutions was estimated at £800 million, with an expectant growth just shy of 30% annually until 2021. The Internet of Things and the growing demand for home automation in general, is a long-term opportunity for electricians and an area worth upskilling in. As an electrician, being involved with home automation is the ideal opportunity to develop your business, as you can increase the value of projects and take advantage of upselling opportunities, significantly increasing your profit earning potential. If you are looking at upskilling and becoming an expert in home automation then there are no shortcuts, so it is recommended that you identify your knowledge gaps, whether that’s in heating or security, and train accordingly. It is advisable that you opt for a flexible training course that doesn’t lock you or your customer into one manufacturer. So, if you’re interested in learning about the future of smart technology in the home, or growing your understanding of electric vehicles and what is required for safe, compliant electric vehicle charger installations, there are a variety of certified training courses throughout the UK so you can choose the one that’s best for you. 23


Three steps to improved UPS efficiency Chris Cutler, Riello UPS business development manager, explains how improvements in UPS technology enable data centres and other critical sites to keep their energy use in check as they adjust to the ‘new normal’ of shifting demand. limate change has understandably taken something of a back seat in recent months as the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. But it remains the biggest challenge facing both the data centre industry and society as a whole. The Covid-19 crisis thrust data centres into the public consciousness more than ever. Organisations across the country relied on the cloud to facilitate remote working in unparalleled numbers. Total worldwide Microsoft Teams users shot up from 20 million to more than 75 million. While a staggering 4.1 billion minutes of virtual


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meetings occurred on the platform on a single day in April. And where would we have been without the streaming services, the online gaming and shopping that lightened the lockdown boredom? Many broadband providers reported a 60% surge in weekday web usage. Netflix obtained an extra 16 million subscribers. It’s forecast that many organisations will embrace the move to permanent remote-working. Indeed, a Gartner survey revealed that almost 74% of businesses will encourage more home working. The likely consequences of such a fundamental change in our day-


to-day way of life include a quicker migration to the cloud and a greater reliance on edge processing. Combine this with the continued rollout of superfast 5G, and data centres will face huge pressure to keep up with this increased demand. All this comes at a time where the Uptime Institute’s latest survey of global data centre trends finds that energy efficiency across the industry is flatlining – this places operators in a precarious position. How can they make sure that meeting demand doesn’t come at too much of an environmental cost? Several solutions are at hand, such as exploiting liquid cooling and increasing rack density. While they can find further energy savings in another key piece of critical infrastructure – the uninterruptible power supplies that ensure a site’s clean and continuous electricity. Here are three ways in which recent improvements to UPS technology can help sites keep their power consumption in check.

and cost more money to run and maintain. The main advantage of a modular solution is that you only install the power you actually need. Modular UPS’ comprise a frame that you populate with individual power modules – almost like building blocks – to match your load and redundancy requirements. This eliminates any possibility of wasteful oversizing. While the principle of modularity means that if your circumstances change, for example, a sudden surge in customers buying more rack space, you can quickly scale up by adding extra modules and cabinets. Modular UPS’ offer the vertical and horizontal scalability to deliver capacity ranging from as little as 25 kW to more than 1 MW plus redundancy in a single UPS. This enables any site manager to future-proof their power needs without wasting unnecessary energy, air conditioning, or floor space.

The Uptime Institute’s latest survey of global data centre trends finds that energy efficiency across the industry is flatlining – this places operators in a precarious position Upgrading a legacy UPS Industry best-practice recommends replacing a UPS system around year 10-12 of its service life. But in certain circumstances, it may make sense to refresh the unit earlier in the life cycle. This appears at odds with the recent trend for organisations to leave a longer gap between hardware refreshes as the gains of Moore’s Law begin to level off. Looking again at the Uptime Institute’s latest report, for instance, and it shows the most common timescale for replacing servers has lengthened from three years in 2015 to five years. But when you’re talking about a legacy UPS, there’s every chance you can recoup the upfront infrastructure cost of upgrading through improved performance and higher efficiency. For example, if you’re currently running an old, transformer-based UPS system, replacing it with a modern transformerless unit could produce anything up to a 5-6% efficiency boost. Transformerless UPS’ have a flatter efficiency curve too, which means many models can reach high efficiency (above 95%) even at loads as low as 25%. Compared to a new unit, an old 400 kVA UPS could have a 3.5% difference in efficiency, depending on the applied load. Then there are the other benefits of replacing old with new to consider. Transformerless UPS’ are smaller, lighter, and generate less heat, thus taking up less floor space and reducing your air conditioning requirements. Moving to modular UPS If you do opt for a hardware refresh, choosing a modular UPS offers significant scope for efficiency gains. Many legacy UPS installs are designed to carry a much bigger load than they’ll ever need. Oversized systems are inefficient, waste energy, 25


Modular solutions offer the added benefit that the modules – which are individual UPS’ in their own right with a rectifier, inverter, and static switch – are all hot-swappable, which ensures downtime-free maintenance. Exploring ECO mode Practically every modern UPS manufacturer now offers some sort of economy or energy-saving operating mode. In practice, these ECO modes see the unit run like a standby UPS. The bypass line (i.e. the mains supply) powers the load, while the inverter remains switched off. If there’s an interruption to the mains electricity, there’s a temporary break in continuous power of a few milliseconds while the inverter switches on and takes the load.

Industry best-practice recommends replacing a UPS system around year 10-12 of its service life. But in certain circumstances, it may make sense to refresh the unit earlier in the life cycle Running in ECO mode delivers operating efficiency of up to 99%. This is a considerable improvement on the typical 93-97% rating of most UPS’ in online mode. When even a 1% improvement in efficiency could equate to thousands – or even tens of thousands – of pounds worth of savings a year, the potential benefits are undeniable. However, using ECO mode exposes your critical load to raw utility power without any of the power conditioning provided by double-conversion online UPS’. That might not be too much of a problem if you have a stable mains supply and loads that tend to generate low harmonics. But if your site is prone

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to power quality issues, then you could be compromising your reliability. And if there’s an interruption to the mains supply, your equipment is also susceptible to the damage a short break in power can cause. To try and overcome these drawbacks, suppliers have used improvements in firmware controls and electrical design to develop what’s known as Advanced ECO mode. Often referred to as Active ECO, it is similar to standard ECO mode with the bypass line still powering the load. The crucial difference, however, is that the UPS’ inverter remains powered at all times. Even though it doesn’t carry the load current, it runs in parallel with the input. This means that in the event of a mains failure, power transfer is far quicker – almost instantaneous – than standard ECO. Another advantage is that the inverter also absorbs harmonic currents and provides power filtering in the same way online operating mode does. The extra energy required to keep the inverter powered at all times means that Active ECO is roughly 0.5-1% less efficient than ‘pure’ ECO mode. But it still offers higher efficiency than online mode. Many mission-critical sites such as data centres are justifiably cautious about running in ECO or Active ECO mode. The balance of risk and reward between the energy savings on offer and potentially undermining resilience is too big an ask. But while it might not be practical to run your UPS in one of these energy-saving modes all of the time, it could be an option when a site’s most critical loads are inactive, for instance overnight or out of hours. There’s another possibility for larger parallel redundant (N+X) UPS systems too. This would see one of the units running in online mode as the ‘master’, with the other UPS’ supporting in ECO or Active ECO mode until the condition of the mains supply changes and they’re called upon to support the load too. As demands on data centres grow in the months and years to come, effective use of modern UPS technology will prove pivotal in ensuring operators can keep offering a seamless service whilst stopping their energy use from spiralling out of control.


Old system, new revenue The energy grid is evolving and so is the relationship between energy sources and users. Here, Vertiv tells us how, with a little investment, your existing power infrastructure could help create additional revenue.

s governments, regulators and consumers continue to push for lower carbon emissions and electricity costs, the whole power generation industry is undergoing change. Vast wind farms, both on and offshore, are providing some of that low-carbon energy but it is intermittent. Every time a high or low-pressure system comes across the area where the turbines are sited, the speed of the wind goes up or down and the electrical power output rises or falls. The same applies to other renewable energy sources, like solar farms when clouds cover the solar panels or the time of sunrise and sunset changes. These power systems are connected via an electrical energy grid network and the parameter which ties the whole grid together is frequency: the measurement by which the whole system is judged. Too much power the frequency goes up, too little and the frequency falls. Across Europe, energy regulators provide strict limits to which the frequency must be kept within.


The effect of renewable energy sources Grid operators have a forecast of the days weeks and months ahead for the energy that a country requires. In the UK, the National Grid purchases electricity from a set list of generating stations that have tendered for the supply of electricity. It obviously chooses the lowest priced tenders first. So, if the predictions are correct, then everything is ok, supply equals demand and everyone is happy. But then, as we discussed earlier, the weather comes into play. When frequency starts to move in an unexpected way (from the prediction models), then the grid operator needs either less energy (frequency too high) or more electricity is required to be pumped into the system (frequency too low). These services have a variety of names and abbreviations, but are basically chunks of electrical power pumped into the system very quickly, some within one second of a frequency event occurring. Conversely, if large users can switch off demand (maybe transferring to generators or batteries, or in the case of industrial processes, just switching off ) for a short period of time, then the grid operator will pay for these responses. Around the world, anywhere where there is a need to reduce CO2 output from power stations, or where large solar or wind is installed, there is a need for these ‘on demand’ grid support services. These services can generate a lot of additional revenue for the organisations concerned. In the

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UK, the potential revenues from these services are published online and there are a number of organisations that do quite nicely from this income. Power systems: A new revenue source The prospect of new revenue sources has also attracted investors from a number of organisations, and even the UK government is investing (perhaps a little late). So how does this affect your business? Basically, everyone can have a slice of the pie.


The tenders to supply energy services are competed for by a wide variety of organisations. Most of these are so-called ‘aggregators’. These companies bring together groups of smaller generators, storage systems or other power consuming equipment, install special equipment on: • Uninterruptible Power Supplies and battery storage systems • Large fridges • Pumps and heating systems on industrial vats and tanks • Large power consumption items like crushers and mixers in industry • Gas and diesel generators. When required, the aggregator activates the system which triggers either the generator/UPS/battery to push power (or refrigeration, pump, crusher to turn off power) into the grid. This is a very simplistic description and some complicated engineering is required to safeguard the private producer from the local grid network and vice versa. In return for carrying out these arrangements, doing the invoicing and distribution of funds, the aggregator takes a commission from the amount paid by the grid operator. UPS systems and generators: An alternative for grid integration For organisations with enough technical skills and resources, there are also alternative ways to integrate with the grid. Specialist suppliers, including Vertiv, have developed systems to enable data centre operators, as well as other commercial and industrial organisations to take part in these schemes and generate revenue from existing, or newly-acquired, UPS and generator capacity. Grid integration with the UPS: Risks vs rewards There might be some concern that using infrastructure such as an uninterruptible power supply or generator for these kinds of grid integration activities might introduce some additional risks for an organisation. That’s a legitimate concern but only a proportion of the capacity is ever

used for grid support services – there is always sufficient resiliency capacity to cover any incidents should they occur. So, with the right strategy, grid support services should enable a lot of innovation in the way users and grid operators interact: • It could be that fewer new power stations need to be built as the traditional electrical grid inertia provided by power stations can be provided by batteries. • More electricity could be generated from renewable energy sources, like solar power systems, and stored for use overnight – something Vertiv was involved in in 1896. • Deserts and wastelands could be converted (in a sustainable way) to solar stations with batteries and high voltage DC connections over thousands of miles to centres of population – say the Sahara Desert to Italy or Spain. • Countries supplying all their power from ‘natural’ sources or using batteries at night. • Lower gas, coal and oil consumption worldwide. • Batteries could contribute to recharge our future electric cars, as well as our houses • The Internet of Things will integrate local supplies and users of electrical power leading to lower electricity prices. Using existing resources like large chilled warehouses, batteries and pumping systems many C&I organisations, not just in the UK, will be able to generate income. This income will vary depending on the power consumed, but the potential could be huge for property groups and owners of chains of properties. Vertiv’s Dynamic Grid Support feature enables businesses to increase adoption of renewable energy sources and slash electricity costs. The feature that allows the Dynamic Grid Support feature is currently available for the Vertiv Liebert EXL S1 UPS model and can be retrofitted to existing installations. 29


Could BACS really help save the world? Through green integration, is it possible that building automation and control systems (BACS) could help reduce emissions and subsequently, help save the planet? Raul Simonetti, HVAC/R corporate business manager at Carel, tells us more.

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owever dramatic the title may sound, there are good reasons to believe that BACS may play a prominent role in reducing the energy used by buildings and their related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Buildings in the EU consume around 50% of final energy usage and are responsible for approximately 36% of all CO2 emissions in the Union, as stated by the EU’s EPBD (Energy Performance of Buildings Directive), with similar values in other parts of the world. Given that the EU aims to decarbonise its building stock by 2050, an extensive range of green solutions will need to be deployed in order to reduce buildings’ direct and indirect GHG emissions to zero. The F-gas phase-downs being implemented worldwide following the Kigali Agreement are focused on reducing direct GHG emissions by minimising the consumption of F-gases in various sectors, notably the HVAC/R sector, in which refrigerants are emitted due to leaks from the systems where they are used (end-of-life venting is also a problem, but life-long leakages are much more significant). Policies such as the EU’s Ecodesign acts are designed to place products on the market with high energy efficiency, so as to perform the tasks they have been designed for while minimising energy input. The target for these policies is the reduction of energy consumed, meaning both the electricity generated by power plants and the primary sources directly consumed by the appliances. The consequence is a reduction in indirect GHG emissions, which in fact have a greater impact than direct F-gas emissions, as much as 80% to 2% (the 18% difference is due to direct emissions of N2O, CH4, PFCs, SF6, NF3).


tistical estimates, they could reduce the energy consumed by 20% to 50% by properly controlling and modulating all of the connected devices (the range is quite wide due to the various types of buildings and world climates).

The main advantage of renewables, the fact that they do not generate GHGs at the point of use, is unfortunately offset by their inherent instability Please see the image below, which can help better explain the importance of BACS in saving energy. If we had two identical AHUs serving the same space, the first one (blue) with a control system, part of a larger BACS, capable of simple on/off control of the devices (coils, dampers, etc.), and the second one (red) with a fully modulating controller, the ‘red’ AHU would save around 37% of total primary input energy compared to the ‘blue’ one, simply because the ‘red’ control system could fully exploit the modulation capabilities of the ‘red’ devices:

Buildings in the EU consume around 50% of final energy usage and are responsible for approximately 36% of all CO2 emissions in the Union Is this enough to decarbonise? Unfortunately not. Fossil fuels will have to give way to renewable energy sources (photovoltaic, wind, hydro, others) and energy storage systems (batteries, compressed air, e-hydrogen, e-methane, thermal storage, others). Renewables are already well-known and can be further used worldwide. The main advantage of renewables, the fact that they do not generate GHGs at the point of use, is unfortunately offset by their inherent instability. For instance, PV electricity is not generated during the night, wind power is absent when there is no wind, and so on. Therefore, there is a strong need to develop and run energy storage solutions alongside renewable-based power generation systems, as part of the renewable energy produced when available will need to be stored for later use. All of these green energy generation and storage systems will interact with buildings, vehicles and products, in general, to provide the required services and execute tasks. The interactions will not be free of constraints; on the contrary, they will very likely be controlled by controllers and supervisory IoT systems with different levels of hierarchy, in order to exploit the availability of green energy resources to the greatest possible extent. Focusing on buildings, BACS will play a crucial role because, based on sta-

This shows the importance of BACS for buildings and, by inference, of control and IoT monitoring systems to take full advantage of the integration of diversified resources (renewables, energy storage, buildings, devices of any type) to reach the goals of providing liveable conditions or process set points while minimising (zeroing) GHG-related emissions. BACS and IoT monitoring systems, however, can do much more. In addition to reducing the energy input of systems and buildings while accomplishing the required goals (a fundamental task, of course), they can also inform users of anomalies, or of preventative maintenance ahead of disruptive downtimes, or simply dispatch information and suggestions on how to better use the buildings and their services. Green integration will mean, in brief, full integration of green energy sources with buildings, vehicles, devices and equipment, in order to do more than we do today while minimising, if not eliminating, GHG emissions. 31


Keeping your options open Here, the experts at Power Control highlight the value of UPS systems when it comes to energy storage and renewables.

evelopments within the power industry are happening at accelerated rates. Technological advancements in other sectors are having a domino effect on the power grid, resulting in increased pressures being put on the electricity industry to transition to a ‘smart grid’. Variable renewable energy (VRE), such as wind and solar, are being utilised to form decarbonised electric power generation. For VRE to be successfully integrated into the grid, the future availability and cost of energy storage technologies are critical. Until recent years, the price of lithium-ion has made the technology seem unattainable. However, over the past decade, these prices have dropped significantly and the potential economic value that energy storage could bring to the industry has surpassed any preconceptions. With that said, there are still many hurdles to consider before VRE gains prevalence. For example, without firming the production in a cost-effective way, the industry would not be able to compete with fossil fuels.


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Options for energy storage Although the concept of storing energy is not new, batteries have been storing energy since the early 1800s, innovative technologies have led to the diversification of now utilising them as storage devices. They are evolving into being used to store energy from on-peak renewable sources, ready to be released when there is a greater need, such as in central, de-central and off-grid solutions. Lead acid was among the first battery technologies to be used for storing electricity. However, these batteries have a limited energy density and a working life that is not long to be economically viable for use as a grid storage device. The rise in electric vehicles (EV) has contributed to the drop in price of lithium-ion. This technology is now 85% cheaper than it was ten years ago, and is expected to continue to become more accessible in the future. Li-ion batteries have one of the highest energy densities of any battery technology today, they have a longer working life and are capable of increased lifecycles.


Additionally, because they can be easily sized, lithium-ion batteries are more likely to be used to solve curtailment issues, particularly behind the meter and off grid sites. What are the benefits of energy storage? Maximise time of use rates Batteries can store energy produced during low price periods and discharge it during high value periods. It is also beneficial for mitigating the shift in peak demand periods. For example, peak demand periods shift to the evening when there is no sun or wind to generate electricity. Improve reliability and resilience Just as a company invests in backup power on individual bases for specific devices or critical systems, the same concept applies for scaling up to an energy storage system at mains grid level. Batteries are charged during low demand and discharged during high demand to help with balancing the voltage and frequency. The risk of unexpected VRE disconnection is also substantially reduced. Power outages can be costly for the operator and so having reliability measures in place is key to business continuity. Integrate diverse resources Energy storage systems not only smooth out the delivery of variable resources but can also support the efficient delivery of electricity for inflexible baseload resources. When demand shifts and baseload resources cannot react quickly enough, an energy storage system will inject or extract electricity to match. Environmental benefits With the UK’s target to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, government initiatives are in place to encourage the switch to renewables by businesses and consumers. Energy storage sits at the heart of increasing renewable energy uptake, it accelerates the broader adoption of renewable energy by improving the overall efficiency of the power grid. On a more local level, an energy storage system has no emissions so it can be placed anywhere within a facility and have no immediate impact on the environment. Peak looping for high demand and EVs Energy storage configured for peak looping is an ideal solution for applications that demand more power than what is available from the supply. A typical example of this would include EVs. With the increasing popularity and a shift towards EVs, there is an increased demand for shorter charging times. EVs now require larger chargers, some of which consume 250kW to ensure rapid charging. However, some charging stations with multiple rapid chargers are restricted by the maximum available supply. For example, if the local supply is only 200kW, the capacity isn’t large enough to supply ten chargers with a maximum capacity of 50kW at peak demand. Battery storage systems resolve this problem by enabling batteries to charge from a smaller supply whilst enabling higher peak power outputs directly connected to the EV charging infrastructure. When there isn’t enough supply to meet the demand, this can prove to be a cost effective and environmentally-friendly solution.

Additionally, the batteries can be used as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), keeping the EV charging throughout a mains failure and preventing some chargers from having to be reset or locking when power is lost. Participation in demand response programmes Energy storage opens up demand response programmes. Unlike the traditional demand response, this emerging technology allows consumers to shift from an event-based demand response, where utility requests the shedding of a load, towards programmed utility price signals. A 24/7 demand response where consumers see incentives for controlling their load. Demand response will also help the grid to maintain stability during periods of high supply and low demand, giving financial incentives for grid operators too.

Energy storage sits at the heart of increasing renewable energy uptake, it accelerates the broader adoption of renewable energy by improving the overall efficiency of the power grid

Where do uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) fit? “As lithium-ion technology becomes more commonplace among UPS specialists, a UPS’ usage as an energy storage system will increase. Existing UPS topology can be modified effectively to grid tie and charge and discharge without the need for separate inverter and charger systems. UPS’ inherently have advanced battery management that can be used to ensure balanced charging and safety cut-outs in the event of thermal runaway,” comments Graeme Tucker, director at Power Control. As with typical energy storage systems, the modified UPS is connected to the grid. The batteries are charged during low electricity price periods, storing that power and discharging it back to the grid when necessary. The reasons for which may be to smooth out the delivery of variable or intermittent resources (renewables), or to support the efficient delivery of electricity for inflexible baseload resources, injecting electricity as and when required. The amount of power that can be stored/pushed back on to the grid is dependent on several variables. One of which is the number of batteries used. It is possible to configure the bespoke energy storage system with a large UPS system and a few battery strings or a small UPS system and many battery strings. The variations affect power availability and runtimes. A modified UPS can also be used to manage battery storage, discharge and charge in applications requiring peak load looping. In this instance, the UPS charges the batteries at a constant rate while having the capacity to supply higher peak demand. Some UPS’ can also be used in conjunction with solar, hydrogen or other green energy sources to balance the peak load between the energy source, batteries and mains connection. 33


The smart substation Medium voltage substations are marvellous inventions, but they don’t come without their problems. Thomas Naul, utilities director for power systems, UK & Ireland at Schneider Electric, gives us six ways to mitigate some of the challenges. he energy sector is shifting to a decarbonised, decentralised and digitised model, and the utilities industry needs to adapt alongside this change, or it will struggle to keep up with end-user expectations for green and clean renewable power. Ofgem’s recently announced five-year investment programme to deliver greener energy networks has made it clear that minimal costs should be passed onto consumers to prevent enthusiasm for green energy from waning. One of the great challenges utilities face is how to manage the increased integration of distributed energy resources (DER) into the grid and the growing pressure to keep down costs and optimise assets, while at the same time improving and maintaining power quality and service continuity.


One of the great challenges utilities face is how to manage the increased integration of distributed energy resources’ (DER) into the grid Smart technologies are being introduced to medium voltage (MV) and low voltage (LV) substations to combat these challenges. Substations are prime candidates for the innovative smart capabilities that are becoming a crucial element of a digital national grid, because substations play a central role in electrical power distribution systems. They hold the switches, capacitors, transformers, and other assets utilities need to keep grid power flowing, balanced, and routed appropriately. So, what are the ways in which smart grid technology can solve medium voltage substation challenges? Managing and optimising assets remotely Utilities are under constant pressure to reduce their capital and operational expenditures as the industry shifts to more cost saving technologies. This means they must optimise assets and manage them more efficiently in order to extend their life span and reduce operation and management costs. Once the sector has all their ducks in a row with the basics, then they can look at how to juggle both keeping costs low and getting the most out of their strengths whilst maintaining the high-quality power and service. Smart investment in smart meters Smart meters are an enormous investment for utilities, in fact it is esti-

34 Electrical Review | October 2020

mated that there will be 800 million smart meters deployed worldwide by 2020. A key benefit of deploying these smart meters is their ability to both empower consumers and improve their energy usage. However, investing in them may also result in numerous costs. For example, some utilities have not been able to reap the financial benefits from the billing perspective as of yet. In the UK, the rollout is expected to be completed by 2024, although a ‘false start’ with the digital limitations of SMETS1 models initially held up adoption among consumers. For utilities to reap the benefits, they should leverage smart meter data to optimise their distribution networks. They can do this with smart meters that communicate through power line carrier (PLC) technology. Through this method, utilities can add value to their assets that are currently in place. All connected smart meters communicate through the substation they are attached to, making medium or low voltage substations a critical point of a PLC-based smart meter measurement aggregation. Providing a quality service Another way utilities can solve substation challenges is by improving their quality of service. One of the most critical elements of quality of service is minimising customers’ interruption time. Even short interruptions are inconvenient, disruptive, costly, and potentially damaging and dangerous. A key factor when improving the quality of the service is the location of the distribution grid. Underground distribution grids typically have fewer interruptions and better performance than overhead grids, which are vulnerable to vegetation and storms. As it is not always technically or economically feasible to move overhead lines underground, utilities can focus on smart technologies that reduce the difference in performance between overhead and underground grids. This can be achieved by adding smart reclosers in distribution network feeders where transient self-clearing faults frequently occur so they can reduce outages, allow for rapid recovery, decrease the number of end-users affected by an outage, and reduce the amount of non-produced energy and non-distributed energy. Smart fault passage indicators (FPI) offer ways for the utilities to increase quality of service for a maximum of grid users, especially when switches are remote controllable. It also enables grid operators to optimise maintenance activities if it is necessary for field crews to fix assets on the site. The FPI also allows for faster diagnoses of issues and can warn connected distributed generation sources of the feeder status to avoid islanding the grid. Monitoring and managing voltage fluctuations Voltage fluctuations are a major pain point for utilities and a key challenge they need to overcome. They can be costly, inconvenient and affect power quality, safety, and reliability, which can damage customers’ facili-


ties and equipment. The task of managing fluctuations has become more difficult as an influx of distributed energy resources (DER) have been integrated into the grid. Further to this, the supply of weather-dependent sources of energy like solar and wind power cannot be predicted with complete accuracy or turned on at the push of a button, which forces utilities to monitor and adjust power levels more actively. To combat these fluctuations and mitigate the risk of under supply, utilities can harness an array of technologies. One way is with smart transformers that can meet dynamic voltage regulation needs, and are an appealing option for utilities that are planning for how they’ll meet their future distribution network challenges. These smart transformers include actuators that can help manage voltage, as well as active and reactive power. They automatically regulate the medium voltage to increase or decrease the low voltage and ensure it keeps within the contractually allowed limits. Alternatively, utilities can use feeder switches that have intelligent local controls which can constantly monitor the system to identify and react quickly to fluctuations and faults.

phases of a particular transformer. Finding this feeder load balance is becoming more difficult as utilities cope with the growing addition of DERs, which range from supply-side to demand-side resources, and can magnify the imbalance because of an unsteady power influx. If utilities can better balance LV feeder loads, they can achieve optimal performance and reduce energy loss, which, in turn, cuts costs. Smart technology can improve the feeder load balance by equipping LV readers with energy meters that connect to the remote terminal unit (RMU) in the substation and can calculate imbalances in real-time, as well as rebalancing loads using repartition units.

Balancing LV feeder loads Another obstacle smart grid technology can solve in the substation is when the feeder load is unbalanced. This can happen when low voltage ends of the distribution networks are unbalanced between transformers, between low voltage feeders within a transformer, or between the three

Steer clear of unwanted islanding Intentional islanding is when a distributed generator continues to supply power to a portion of the grid when the main public electrical power grid is no longer present. This is a useful tool for utilities in an emergency when the grid is showing signs of impending failure.

Now is the time for utilities to formalise their roadmap for MV/LV substation and grid transformation 35


However, unwanted islanding is a safety hazard and can lead to damage to the distributed generator unit, network components, and customers’ equipment. It most commonly occurs when protection devices located at the DER site don’t properly detect the occurrence and therefore don’t trip, or when the incorrect operation of a switch or breaker creates islanding conditions. Unwanted islanding is becoming a more common occurrence because of the injection of DER, along with the rise of microgrids connected to the distribution network, which can disrupt system stability. Anti-islanding protection based on communications with the MV/LV substation creates a more flexible, localised option. For example, smart fault passage indicators may be able to warn connected, distributed generation sources of feeder issues and by doing so help avoid islanding part of the grid. Smart technology can be used to force a disconnection by asking the feeder components to communicate with all attached DER.

36 Electrical Review | October 2020

Moving forward and thinking smart Utilities today face ever higher expectations to maintain power quality and achieve greater service continuity. With the widespread integration of distributed energy resources all along the network, more smart grid capabilities are being introduced into MV/LV substations to meet these expectations. MV/LV substations lie at the heart of the needed evolution of the electrical distribution network. Now is the time for utilities to formalise their roadmap for MV/LV substation and grid transformation. Smart technologies are now available to enable such a transformation affordably. Utilities companies that have begun looking ahead to a greener future and are investing in smart technologies will be able to equip the skills to build a healthier, more resilient energy network that drives sustainable economic prosperity and aligns to the national goal of net zero by 2050.

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Leading the charge Whether it’s watching international sports from the comfort of your lounge, or having your shopping delivered to your door, life simply wouldn’t be possible without batteries. Notice it or not, this technology is omnipresent in every facet of our daily lives. As European market leader for over 30 years, no one is more aware of this than battery manufacturer GS Yuasa, whose products are quite literally everywhere. From powering the submarines traversing the deepest depths of the ocean, to the technology aboard the International Space Station and everywhere in between. In this Q&A, we delve into the GS Yuasa ethos, the secret to the company’s success and how the manufacturer of Yuasa batteries has not only survived, but thrived, in the face of a global pandemic.

For anyone unaware of Yuasa (god forbid), for the uninitiated, could you please briefly surmise what it is you guys do and how long you have been involved in the industry? GS Yuasa (Yuasa’s parent company) have been making batteries for over 100 years, celebrating its centenary in 2017 and 2018. It is the world’s leading battery manufacturer, dedicated to innovation and growth. Yuasa has been Europe’s market-leading industrial battery for over 30 years. Here in the UK, we are the market leader for industrial and vehicle batteries. When it comes to the Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) battery market, the type of battery supplied for UPS equipment, Yuasa is without question number one. We supply VRLA batteries to data centres via UPS equipment manufacturers, the likes of Schneider Electric, Eaton, Vertiv and Socomec. We also supply original equipment manufacturers for the telecom industry, as well as the telecoms industry directly. For instance, we have had a contract with British Telecom (BT) for 30 years, which is testament to our cemented position within the industry. How would you describe the Yuasa ethos? Yuasa’s ethos from the top down is the customer. We always put the cus-

38 Electrical Review | October 2020

tomer first, and provide the best possible service, support, and supply. It’s all about having the right supply, right products, and right stock availability at the right time. We make sure we provide a high-quality service, knowledgeable people, support from start to finish and can correct any errors ourselves. All that combined with the quality of the product itself is why people deal with us. And if problems do occur, the customer knows we will support them in getting it right. So, what do you think is the secret to Yuasa’s success? What does Yuasa do differently? If you look at the UPS industry in the UK, Yuasa probably has 70-75% of the market. We believe that is because we always listen to what the customer wants and design a response based on their needs. Customers are individuals that may require different services, therefore we provide a very high-quality product, at a reasonable price, with a customer service set up that outstrips that of any of our competitors. What is it that makes the Yuasa customer service offering so unique? We strive to go above and beyond in everything we do. We offer a com-


prehensive service from conception to completion, including installation. We have a large team based in the UK that includes dedicated account managers, a technical help team and customer services team, along with a robust logistics set up. Our technical expertise also sets us apart from our competitors. The expert staff within our UK factory and laboratories mean we have even further resources to hand. So, while many of our competitors may have various teams to take care of bits and pieces, we work as one, in essence our whole team is the dedicated team.

Go through the Square Mile and you’re never more than 50 yards away from a building containing a GS Yuasa product Building customer relationships is one thing, but how does Yuasa maintain these relationships? We have very strong relationships with all our customers, they work closely with us and trust us. We have regular visits and meetings to see how we can help with upcoming projects and improve things. Our route to market is via our own customers, which are the UPS manufacturers and telecom companies. If we are loyal to them, they are loyal to us, garnering a mutual respect that is crucial for maintaining relationships.

For instance, sometimes the end customer will approach us directly for projects. We simply don’t allow that to happen. Yuasa is an honourable company in all respects, and we will never say our product can do something it can’t or won’t do. Unlike some manufacturers, we never speculate; our product is a high-quality product that will do exactly what it says on the tin – thanks Ronseal circa 1994. Yuasa has been/is involved in many high-profile UPS projects many of which go under the radar. What have some of these projects encompassed? I understand some of these projects have been not of this Earth? It never ceases to amaze me where our batteries are. We’re in every industry there is. The vast majority of global blue-chip organisations trust and rely on Yuasa products. Banks, retailers, online grocers, supermarket chains, sports stadiums, medical facilities, you name it. Yuasa actually powers most of London. For instance, go through the Square Mile and you’re never more than 50 yards away from a building containing a GS Yuasa product. Our International Space Station (ISS) project is dealt with by our parent company GS Yuasa, and alongside the ISS we also have more batteries in orbit on satellites than anyone else. Without sounding too gimmicky, if nothing else this is testament to the reliability and trust in our product. At the end of the day on a satellite, you can’t go up and service the battery, so if the battery fails, you’ve had it. We are incredibly proud of our involvement and we sat and watched 39


prioritised production to supply batteries for all of the UK Nightingale Hospitals and other medical projects. We were and are very much focused on being part of the solution. We have worked extremely closely with our customers to make sure they get what they want, on time, to the correct location. In essence, the customer facing experience remained identical to pre-pandemic.

footage of our batteries being installed with an actual spacewalk, so we must be one of the only battery manufacturers who have had astronauts installing our batteries. Another exciting project we’ve been involved in is with deep sea investigative submarines (the ones that go lower than any other submarine) – these also carry our batteries. So not only are we up in space, but we are in the depths of the ocean, another place where reliability is absolutely critical.

It never ceases to amaze me where our batteries are. We’re in every industry there is At the moment, due to Covid-19, we are reliant on power more than ever before. Yuasa products are renowned for their long life and reliability (and they’d have to be if they’re operating in orbit). What is it that makes Yuasa products so dependable? The difference with Yuasa is that we control everything; the design, development, and manufacture of our products. And we are drawing upon over 100 years’ of experience which is absolutely invaluable. Every single component of the batteries that we produce is made in our factories and goes through QA processes at every single point of production. Raw products go in at one end of the factory and a battery comes out at the other. When the battery is built and all of our own self-produced components are put together, the battery is then tested within the factory itself. We can tell you every single component that went in and when it was put in. The people who make them in the factory are specific on the job they do, they know what they’re doing and they’re experienced. How has Yuasa been impacted by Covid-19 as a company? During Covid-19, production capacity did go down for a while, but we

40 Electrical Review | October 2020

I understand Yuasa was part of the successful delivery of a dual chemical container in Portsmouth Port. What is the significance of this project and how will it shape future innovations towards zero-emissions around the rest of the UK, Europe and even globally? This is just one of a number of exciting new projects we’re working on. The whole idea of the Portsmouth project is to take energy when it’s available from a port building by solar, wind or whatever means available, store it, and use it for powering the vehicles that are going to be used on the site, and if not export it back into the grid. Our dual chemical systems and backup systems allow organisations to take their buildings out of the grid. So, when the grid is at peak demand and everyone needs energy in the evening for example, the grid struggles. However, if organisations can take themselves off the grid during these peak times and run off energy they’ve stored themselves during quieter periods, as a result this helps alleviate the grid, achieve sustainability and help the environment. As far as we know, we’re the only manufacturers whose lithium-ion product and VRLA product can work side by side. This is the first time this technology will be used to charge hybrid vehicles. It’s safe to say we are pioneering this duel chemical technology. Does the future of sustainability hinge on energy storage? Until they come up with a clean and instant way of generating energy, the only way to do it is by storing it. If it’s the middle of winter on a still night, you’re not generating any sun and you’re not generating any wind. And yes, you can put in as many nuclear power stations as you like, but when everyone’s gone to bed at night, what do you do with that energy that’s been generated? You can’t just turn them off. So a storage system is definitely the best way to do it, and that’s what the industry is looking at right now and our dual chemistry technology fits into that. VRLA is probably one of the most environmentally-friendly ways of storing energy out there, you can recycle 99.9% of the components within our batteries, and we do. Finally, are there any new projects on the horizon? What’s next for Yuasa? We all want a greener future, and regardless of what anybody says, electricity is going to be a major part of that, so we have to learn to control it better. If everyone put solar panels on their roofs the grid couldn’t take the energy. So the natural thing to do is to put in some way to store it, and right now, most of these are trials. Eventually, what we are doing today will be mainstream. As for what’s next, GS Yuasa is continually developing and studying what the market needs in terms of energy storage, and is continually focused on moving forward with the very latest technology that’s available. Rather than being driven by what we could produce, we are driven by what the market wants us to produce – to the highest quality.


Covid chaos: The good, the bad and the different Anja Langer Jacquin, CCO at DEPsys, examines what Covid-19 could mean for DSOs in the long-term. ummer has been and gone, but Covid-19 is still with us. Though parts of society are reopening, full normality will be a slow, potentially irregular process – three steps forward, two steps back. Nonetheless, the situation has improved enough that we can start to think about the future. A shock as profound as the pandemic will spark lasting changes: some good, some bad, some simply different. Distribution system operators (DSOs) and distribution network operators (DNOs) will not be exempt from this. These utilities have had to rapidly pivot to handle the immediate challenges of the crisis, and now are in the midst of managing low- and medium-voltage grids through the transitionary phase as societies reopen. Now they must ask themselves what is at the other end of that transitionary phase. It can’t be a simple return to life before – Covid-19 has changed the game and besides, the industry’s commitment to the energy transition means there can be no backwards movement. So, what will those changes be? What are the lessons Covid-19 has


42 Electrical Review | October 2020

taught us? Above all, that grid digitalisation – what many call the smart grid – may already have been a long-time industry talking point, but in reality, it is more important and urgent than we ever thought. A different day-to-day Many have speculated that Covid-19 will have lasting effects on how work is structured in our lives, with swathes of employees worldwide having adapted to working from home. One piece of research suggests that as many as 80% of German workplaces now have a flexible working policy in place – the most of any country worldwide. Four other European nations make the global top ten. For grid managers, there is no substitute for a certain amount of field work. However, many functions such as grid monitoring, optimisation and power quality analysis are computer-based and therefore could easily be done remotely. At least, they could be if grid assets were sufficiently digitised to feed back real-time information to such systems remotely. Those DSOs which did have such digitalisation in place were ready


In future, budgets are likely to emphasise sweating assets, only making capital-intensive physical investments when absolutely necessary. To do this safely, DSOs will need greater insight into grid and asset performance at a granular level, which ultimately means widespread digitalisation and the collection of real, hard data across the network. Armed with this data, utilities can make far better informed and targeted investments where and when they are needed, avoiding waste, and increasing operational excellence. Of course, digitalisation itself requires upfront investment. However, this will be orders of magnitude less than physical infrastructure, and can give DSOs confidence they are getting the most out of every pound or euro. A digitally-enabled shift to more working from home may also help DSOs save on some office-related overheads.

What many call the smart grid – may already have been a long-time industry talking point, but in reality is more important and urgent than we ever thought

to deal with reduced on-premise staff headcounts and could do a large amount of anomaly investigation remotely without dispatching field engineers. This was vital during the throes of the crisis. However, even after the pandemic passes, many workers may wish to continue with their new, more agile working arrangements, making digitised DSOs more attractive workplaces. What’s more, such DSOs will be better prepared for future major shocks. On a day-to-day level, digitalisation makes grid managers more resilient from both operational and talent perspectives. A question of cash Many of the longest-lasting impacts of Covid-19 will be economic. With the threat of major recession and significant debt accumulation, there may well be less funding available for both publicly- and privately-owned DSOs to invest in their grids. This could fundamentally alter utilities’ approach to investment. Traditionally, there has been a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach. This means pricey investments in physical infrastructure, such as new transformers and cables, when a local network looks like it might be approaching capacity.

Profound changes Of course, there may be other society-level changes that affect DSOs (other than more home working). For example – though utilities did a tremendous job keeping the lights on through lockdown – both individuals and businesses may take a greater interest in self-sufficiency, accelerating investments in microgrid technologies or distributed energy resources (DERs), such as solar panels and batteries. Similarly, consumers who have switched to working from home may have seen their energy bills increase as a result. They will also be spending far more time in their homes and may be more open to investing in energy technologies that decrease their bills and increase their comfort, such as heat pumps, solar panels, or home-batteries. Finally, we must not forget the electric vehicle (EV) revolution, which was already underway across Europe, but may be accelerated by the pandemic. Though EVs are still more expensive and we are undergoing economic shock, EU sales jumped by 6.8% in the first quarter of the year, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, while total passenger vehicle sales plunged by 41.5% from mid-March to the end of May. Taken together, these changes could accelerate the energy transition and amount to a reshaping of the distribution grid, shifting loads from commercial areas to residential ones and introducing many more behind-the-meter DERs. If so, DSOs will be called upon to invest and adapt – and digitalisation will give them the insight to de-risk those investments and increase return. Ultimately, no one can predict the future. But if Covid-19 can offer any lesson to the electricity distribution sector, it’s that investments in deep digitalisation can both help overcome the challenges of today and build-in resilience for those of tomorrow, while smoothing utilities’ path through the energy transition. 43


Introducing Wieland’s new HMI ECO touch panels Wieland’s new HMI ECO touch panels have become essential for machines and systems in their use for visualisation, operation and diagnostics. When used in conjunction with the samos PRO safety controller, the HMI ECO touch panels offer complete automation, including seamless data exchange between the visualisation software hmiPLAN and the planning software samos PLAN6. The unit offers flexible communication and seamless integration with over 40 different PLC and device manufacturers. This robust IP66 display is easily programmed via an Ethernet or USB client, while commissioning is quick with only one project file, which is easily converted to suit each screen size. Wieland’s HMI ECO touch panels also offer VNC (virtual network computing) functionality and as part of Wieland’s ‘MyLogo’ campaign, a customised design with your own logo and individual colour scheme is available.

Transparency and control across IT racks’ power consumption

Thorn raises the standard at 2 Stockport Exchange

Rittal has integrated measurement functionality and detailed energy analysis within its new PDU (Power Distribution Unit) product range. The new PDUs can be configured online to deliver high-quality power distribution quickly and easily across any IT rack according to individual requirements. The new PDU range is made up of five basic models that are functionally based on each other and can be individually configured. These are: PDU basic, PDU metered, PDU metered plus, PDU switched and PDU managed. Rittal PDUs can also be installed in the zeroU-space; in other words, in the space between the side panel and the 19in mounting frame. This means no height units are blocked and allows for maintenance and installation, even with a fully configured IT rack. Rittal IT racks are designed for easy installations without the need for any additional tools – simply by using a clip-fastening on the 19in frame.

Thorn has supplied the lighting for 2 Stockport Exchange, a new six-storey office building that has been constructed next to Stockport’s mainline railway station. Thorn’s Beta 2, Katona and Voyager luminaires were chosen for their ability to address the exacting design criteria and ensure a high-quality lighting solution with low total cost of ownership for the Grade A office development. Thorn’s design team worked in close collaboration with KNG Building Services and after submission of various samples and on-site trial mock-ups, were able to devise a scheme that addressed the exacting criteria and achieve an energy efficiency rating of A and LG7 standard for office lighting. Thorn’s slim, square Katona E3D LED luminaires have been installed in the stairwells. The smooth aesthetic design of Katona helps to reduces dust and dirt accumulation, is easy to clean, and lowers maintenance requirements.

Wieland • 01483 531213

Rittal • 01709 704000

Thorn Lighting • 01388 420 042

New Modbus-enabled earth leakage relay from Bender

Knightsbridge rewrites the script with new blockbuster catalogue

ESP adds new sounders and strobes to its fire protection range

Knightsbridge has published its new 2021 catalogue, available to the trade now. The handy A5sized, full colour publication is packed from cover to cover – over 2,500 products across nearly 400 pages – with new range developments, impressive innovations, and lots of inspiring ideas. It features a new Smart section comprising a comprehensive range of commercial, domestic, and outdoor Smart products that are easy to use and all controllable via one simple app, ‘SmartKnight’, allowing users to control all their lighting and wiring, compatible with Google Home and Alexa. For outdoors, there’s plenty to choose from: an innovative new range of weatherproof wiring accessories; a selection of stylish 20AX outdoor switches; and new outdoor enclosures. For commercial work there is a comprehensive new range of self-test emergency lighting products – they put safety first while requiring minimum manual intervention post installation, therefore keeping costs down.

ESP has added a new range of fire sounders and combined sounder strobes to its portfolio of MAGfire conventional fire systems products. Designed as a range of entry-level products that are suitable for conventional systems, it offers installers more options – with compact designs and the ability for surface-mounting, or flush-mounting for a more discreet fitting. The range comprises two sounders – a sounder and a bedroom sounder, with both available in a choice of red or white and providing the option for three distinctive tones. The combined sounder and strobe offers additional visual indication where VIDs (Visual Indication Device) are required. The maximum sound output is 96db and the flash rate of the strobe is 40 per minute. Compact in design, the products are constructed from fire-rated ABS and offer UL approval to EN 54-3.

Bender has launched a new earth leakage relay designed to continuously monitor installations for developing earth faults within earthed power systems (TN and TT systems). This new device - RCM410R – is designed to be paired with a current transformer (CT). It identifies the deterioration of insulation resistance quickly and with high accuracy. This means developing earth faults are identified at an early stage, enabling planned intervention, ensuring the maximum level of electrical safety and system availability for system operators and maintenance teams. The key feature of the new RCM410R is Modbus RTU communication protocol. This allows connectivity to existing communications networks, meaning operators can monitor the leakage current of their power systems remotely, eliminating the need for manual data collection. RCM410R is also AC and pulsed DC sensitive, compliant with IEC 62020 and IEC 62020-1, to fulfil the requirements for regulatory checks without power shutdown.

Bender • 01229 480123

44 Electrical Review | October 2020

Knightsbridge • 01582 887760

ESP • 01527 515150


Introducing Wieland’s new sensor PRO safety limit switches

Stay safe and make the switch with contactless lighting

Ovia introduces new threein-one multi-function dimmable LED driver

The new sensor PRO safety limit switches (series SLS) from Wieland provide safe position monitoring in virtually any industrial application. With a metal actuator that can be turned and swapped without tools, sensor PRO SLS switches are a highly reliable position monitoring solution rated to IP66/ 67. Series SLS switches are suitable for use in conveyor object detection, end-position control, door position detection, and many other safety applications. Actuation of the switch contacts are monitored by Wieland’s safety relays, samosPRO COMPACT safety controller, or similar devices and will shut down the machine immediately, addressing any safety hazard. The new switches have self-cleaning contacts that provide a maximum reliability of 1mA at 24VDC and a life of up to 30 million operations. They can be used in almost any industrial application for safe position monitoring.

BEG Lighting Controls is highlighting the importance of safer ‘contactless light switching’ to electrical specifiers and lighting consultants – and how it can help deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. BEG Lighting Controls has a range of wall-mounted sensors with different features. The German manufacturer’s products include the BEG Indoor 180-R motion detector with acoustic sensor and relay version, the BEG Indoor 180 KNX with integrated KNX BUS coupler and up to three additional switching channels, and the Indoor 180 2C with acoustic sensor and additional potential free contact for the added control of the HVAC. This innovative product set means electrical contractors, specifiers and lighting designers are equipped to offer a safe and practical contactless light switching solution to end users. The BEG Indoor 180 range is ideal for businesses as well as for schools, colleges and universities and more.

Weiland • 01483 531213

BEG • 0870 850 5412

Scolmore stays one step ahead with new anti-viral testing

Omicron implements customer feedback for its COMPANO 100 software V 2.30

Centiel partners with Seahorse Electrical and Maintenance Services Ltd

With an increasing emphasis on building cleanliness, Scolmore has taken a further step to ensure that its wiring accessory products offer enhanced hygiene properties. The company’s popular Mode, Mode Part M and Polar plates have now been independently tested and have shown to have anti-viral properties against enveloped and non-enveloped viruses. After a contact period of four hours, all tested plates were shown to have a 99.9% kill off rate against enveloped viruses and a 92% kill off rate against non-enveloped viruses. This new anti-viral testing is in addition to the anti-bacterial testing already carried out. Mode Part M and Polar are all manufactured using Urea Formaldehyde, which has similar inherent properties to antimicrobial additives that inhibit the growth of infectious diseases. When independently tested, all products achieved a 99.99% kill off rate across all four types of the strains of bacteria – MRSA, E-Coli, Salmonella and Klebsiella Pneumonia.

COMPANO 100 is Omicron’s universal, battery-powered, easy-to-use solution for all kinds of basic testing tasks in electrical power systems. Due to the intensive cooperation with Omicron customers, new wishes regarding testing possibilities arise continuously. Wherever possible, the company integrates these wishes into the COMPANO 100 software to support customers even better in solving their tasks. The software update for COMPANO 100 to version 2.30 is free to download in the Omicron Customer Portal and brings the following new features: • Visualisation of target output values in result screens • Calculated measurements outside of active tests • Customisation of soft key values (‘Hold’ feature) • Displaying timer values both in seconds and cycles • Further smaller improvements. Find the new version at:

Centiel UK has joined forces with electrical sub-contractor Seahorse Electrical and Maintenance Services Ltd. Seahorse has now become one of Centiel’s preferred partners for DC and AC works. Louis McGarry, sales and marketing director, Centiel UK explains, “We have a long-standing relationship with the team at Seahorse and have recently completed several large projects with them including a 7.2MW installation at a major medical facility. We are now delighted to cement this relationship on an ongoing basis. “Most recently we have worked with Seahorse to complete the installation of a new UPS to protect the power to a central London Venue. Located close to Covent Garden, the entertainment space is within a historical building used for dining, parties and drinks receptions, meetings and conferences for up to 1,000 delegates. The new UPS now supports the power for the entire building.”

Scolmore • 01827 63454

Omicron • 01785 848 100

Always looking for products that make installation and operation quicker and easier, Scolmore Group company, Ovia, has introduced a new multi-function driver to its commercial lighting range. It offers three dimming options in one driver – dali, switch and 1–10V dimmable. The new driver is designed to enhance Ovia’s commercial LED panel offering and means that Ovia Inceptor Slate and Jura LED panels now have a multi-function driver as an option, offering even more flexibility. The multi-function drivers are available in 29-48W and 38-69W variants to maximise their potential across a range of applications. With the new multi-function drivers compatible with Inceptor Slate and Jura, contractors now have digital dimming options available across premium and economical LED panels, providing them with products to suit a range of projects, including hospitals, hotels, offices and shop floors, to name a few.

Ovia • 01827 300640

Centiel • 01420 82031 45


Climate contributions ‘Carbon offsetting’ has been getting a fair amount of airtime lately. But, what exactly is it and why is it so important? Here, the experts at Flogas unmuddy the waters. ne rising issue that the UK faces is how to tackle climate change. As our populations and economies grow, the environment is feeling the strain of our increased energy needs. This means we all need to look for ways to reduce our carbon footprint, and quickly. For some, choosing to reduce the amount of plastic we use, recycle more, or even turning down the thermostat in our home by one degree, the journey towards a greener way of living has already begun. Despite this, more is needed to be done. Last year the UK government announced plans to achieve ‘Net Zero’ status by the year 2050, a target which aims to stop the UK from contributing to the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.


Until the day comes where we are entirely carbon neutral, creating a carbon footprint is unavoidable However, public awareness on how this will be achieved is still lacking. In fact, a recent report from the Citizens Advice Bureau found that just 38% of us are aware we’ll need to change the way our home is heated if we’re to achieve the goal of Net Zero by 2050. The reality is, until the day comes where we are entirely carbon neutral, creating a carbon footprint is unavoidable. From heating our homes and offices, to driving our cars or even making a cup of tea, it’s inevitable that we can’t always live up to the green standards we’d like to. However, for those wanting to find ways to avoid being accountable for some of these inescapable emissions, there is a solution – carbon offsetting. Here, we look through the benefits and how it can lead to a greener life. Defining carbon offsetting For the emissions that can’t be prevented, carbon offsetting provides an alternative to this. A process in which people compensate their emissions by funding projects that provide sustainable development in communities around the world. These projects offer an equivalent reduction in emissions to those you create; either counteracting or absorbing carbon

46 Electrical Review | October 2020

dioxide and bringing balance to the environment. For many big brands, this strategy has already been adopted. The likes of EasyJet, Shell and Gucci, all now use carbon offsetting to help improve the environmental impact of their businesses. The importance of carbon offsetting When emissions can’t be avoided, carbon offsetting allows for people to make a positive contribution to the environment. These causes have also received huge funding, helping to improve the economic, social and health situation to whole communities. With people at the heart of carbon offsetting, as well as ecosystems, it allows us to begin future proofing for a cleaner, greener world. Why choose to carbon offset my emissions? All of us have a shared responsibility to lower carbon emissions for the future. For the likes of homeowners, this means being given the chance to balance their carbon footprint. For the environmentally conscious and those looking to reduce their impact on the climate, carbon offsetting gives them the tools to make a difference. Whilst it shouldn’t be used as a standalone approach and is best used as part of a wider carbon reduction strategy, it will help people reduce their impact on the environment. Additional changes that individuals make in order to lower the impact they have on the environment is by switching from gas to Liquefied Petroleum Gas. Offsetting the carbon emissions I can’t control? From helping some of the poorest households in West Africa to access eco-friendly cooking equipment, to supplying clean hydroelectric power to the local grid in rural China, there are a diverse number of benefits to carbon offsetting. One example is the Kariba REDD+ Forest Protection project in Zimbabwe, Africa. Since its launch in 2011, it’s avoided more than 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere and has prevented deforestation in an area of nearly 750,000 hectares. Although carbon offsetting isn’t the only answer, it can play a part in the bigger solution. Many individuals and companies are already doing much to reduce their carbon footprint, but choosing carbon offsetting is another step in the right direction, by supporting worthy sustainability projects that deliver quantifiable greenhouse gas reductions.