Power Line Monitoring Technology Increases Visibility into Electricity Networks

Aug. 19, 2019
SSE Enterprise Telecoms joins forces with Synaptec to enable real-time analysis of UK energy networks, paving the way for smart grids and a more sustainable energy supply.

SSE Enterprise Telecoms formed a technical partnership with Synaptec, a provider of monitoring technology for electrical power networks. Deploying Synaptec’s passive sensor networks into existing fiber infrastructure means SSE Enterprise Telecoms will be positioned to deliver greater visibility and control of increasingly complex and distributed networks more affordably and conveniently.  This will lead to improved wide-area protection, control and asset management functions across their networks and work to meet the challenge of delivering smarter grids in the future.

With the UK’s drive for Net-zero 2050 and increased renewables development, electricity networks are investing to become more flexible and manage changing energy demand. At the same time, they’re driving efficiencies and innovation. As a result, SSE Enterprise Telecoms’ partnership with Synaptec will offer more cost-effective, scalable visibility and real-time monitoring, enabling electricity network operators to manage grids more proactively. 

SSE Enterprise Telecoms already underpins the connectivity requirements of energy company SSE plc. Its 12,000-km-plus core fiber network spans the UK, including some of the most remote areas of the Scottish Highlands. Adding Synaptec’s condition monitoring capability gives energy providers more than a connectivity offering, allowing them to make more informed decisions about network upgrades and preventative maintenance as well as enhancing real-time control of critical high voltage assets. The network meets government-grade security certifications, thanks to SSE Enterprise Telecoms’ CAS(T) accreditation. 

Synaptec’s technology promises to significantly reduce the capital cost of monitoring complex circuits. It also has the potential to realize efficiencies at scale with enhanced protection, automation, control and asset management functions to reduce both outages and engineering costs. Network operators will also see improved maintenance capabilities from these scalable sensor networks, delivering data to a newly created real-time analytics platform for predictive maintenance of critical assets, which are often remote or inaccessible. This will allow early identification of issues such as ice build-up on power lines or impending failures in underground cable systems. Access to such a wealth of real-time network data will aid future development and decision-making, particularly for the upcoming DNO to DSO (Distribution System Operator) transition.

Colin Sempill, chief executive at SSE Enterprise Telecoms, says, "The global demand for energy is changing significantly, due to the pursuit of cleaner energy and greater consumer awareness of how we generate and use our power. Supporting this shift to smarter energy requires suppliers to rethink how networks are managed in real-time, and to keep them safer, more efficient and reduce waste.

“We are always on the lookout for new and innovative technologies – and partners – that improve the operational capabilities of customers, that’s why we are excited to be working alongside Synaptec. This trial, once completed, will give the UK energy market the real-time analysis they require, now and in the future.”

 Philip Orr, managing director at Synaptec says as demand for electricity increases, network operators must be equipped with the tools that enable full visibility over their operations.

"SSE Enterprise Telecoms’ UK-wide fiber-optic infrastructure makes it the perfect partner to develop this service with," Orr says. "We look forward to the continued development of our relationship, which will ultimately lead to the UK energy sector having the capabilities to make more informed, safer and more cost-effective decisions. We’re future-proofing the industry for years to come, paving the way for smart grids and more environmentally conscious energy consumption.”

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