Power Systems and the environment is a very scarcely
discussed issue but one of utmost significance. Various economics of Power
Systems ly in the environment because Power Systems per se is one of the major system that is constantly exposed to the
vagaries of the environment. By and large the Environment would mean the weather
at whose mercy Power Systems operate.
Transformers of various kinds, Transmission cables, Breakers,
Relays, Fuses,Power Electronic Devices,
and Insulators all come under the
pressures of Weather.
Let us see how weather influences Transmission cables. It can
vary the resistance, inductance and the capacitance of cables altering line to
line voltages and also the phase voltage. Sometimes such influences are not
properly taken into account. Such variations can influence power delivered and
such vagaries exist every single minute for any cable that is outdoor. Over a
period of twenty four hours it is influenced by varying degrees of temperatures
and add to that such fluctuations over a year. It can also influence the
frequency of the system. Various countries must be having various kinds of defense mechanisms for such issues and also
note that such influences are not uniform over a long distance. Power losses
can be traced to such phenomena. Underground cabling could be one of the ways
this problem can be mitigated but environmental influences of a different kind
hamper underground cablings.
Transformers of various ratings bear the brunt of
environmental influences…from rain to cold weather to heat. I have seen many
bushings of transformers literally burning themselves out in the rain..a very
dangerous and delicate phenomena. Pressure inside the transformer must be
properly maintained as it can lead to transformer bursts…Laminations inside the
transformer get heated varying transmission properties. Transformers are largely placed in the open because of
natural cooling that it gets. Transformer oil properties change with weather. Predictive
maintenance on Transformers is often undertaken to prevent breakdowns.
Many a times Single phasing happens at the Transformer points because some fuse
gives away because of Environmental influences. Rusting of Transformer surfaces
and possible leaks can result from such situations. Transformer behavior variations
can lead to variation in Power System parameters in a very pronounced way. Windings
could get heated up influencing the input and output voltages. Breakers
associated with Transformers that are manually operated get stuck sometimes and
in an emergency to disconnect power would be difficult.
Relays are sensitive electromagnetic equipment that come with
Electrical systems. They are costly to replace but form an important protective
aspect of Power Systems. Extreme fluctuations in weather lead to relay misbehavior
and to my observation very often overlooked by the maintenance personnel. Nuisance
tripping of relays is one of the issues .Relays have to be constantly reset to
compensate for weather influences.
Various countries face various kinds of such issues if not
handled preemptively can lead to mal judgment’s of various kinds leading to larger breakdown
times and complications.The essence of the matter is that environment
influences Power Systems and for location to location design of systems must
take note of such issues and compensate for them in advance at the design stage
itself if possible and also take corrective action from time to time. . How
forces like weather influence a particular Electrical component must be
properly estimated and periodic actions initiated; Weather is an umbrella under
which Power Systems work and Power
Systems Engineers around the World must acknowledge it first in their day to
day engagement of this sector.