There are a wide variety of applications for transmission line and substation sensors:
- Safety: Sensors allow for continuous monitoring of equipment conditions, helping to identify when a component is in imminent risk of failure.
- Workforce Deployment: Personnel can be deployed to address identified at-risk conditions, preventing outages or reducing their duration.
- Condition-Based Maintenance: Sensors allow maintenance to be scheduled based on equipment conditions rather than on a pre-determined schedule.
- Asset Management: Information from sensors, along with other performance information, allows asset managers to make better decisions when managing the fleet.
- Asset Utilization: Real-time information on equipment condition can allow for dynamic rather than static rating of transmission lines.
- Diagnostic Analysis: Sensors provide additional information to help identify the root causes of events, allowing solutions to be applied and improvements made.
- Probabilistic Risk Assessment: Information on component condition can be used to perform probabilistic rather than deterministic contingency analyses in order to increase grid utilization.
Sensors under development will typically require a sensing mechanism, a controller to format measurements into readings, and a communications mechanism. They are expected to harvest power from the environment and require little to no maintenance. Sensors may be directly attached to the item being monitored or may be remotely located. They may operate periodically (at specified intervals) or continuously, depending on the application.1
The following information is required for each sensor reading:
- Unique sensor ID
- Raw data measurement or processed result
- Date and time of the reading
- Sensor type and geo-location
There are numerous challenges in the development and deployment of new sensors. Challenges include ensuring that the sensors are well-designed, cost effective to deploy, and easy to implement. They also include power issues such as how to harvest, manage, and store the energy required to power the sensors. Other challenges include how to communicate, interpret, and present data as useful information.
Sensors are being deployed for the purpose of condition monitoring. These sensors can automate diagnostics, anticipate possible equipment malfunction, and initiate necessary maintenance action. The Sensor Database provides searchable information on currently available sensors. Searches can be filtered by area, component, sub-component, parameter sensed, and technology.
The EPRI Sensor Lab contains a collection of sensors and sensor-enabling technologies. It is designed to demonstrate and test new sensor technologies both in a laboratory environment and in the field. Data gathered from sensor tests can then be used as a foundation for work in data management and visualization.