2018 EEA Conference Paper - "Lasting the Distance When the Lights Go Out"

“Lasting the Distance When the Lights Go Out” will be presented by Bevan Cooper and Matt Hall at this year’s Conference.  A modern-day switchboard replacement is a study in evolving technologies.  Electromechanical relays are replaced with more accurate and versatile electronic relays; copper-based secondary cabling is replaced with much faster and more efficient fibre; and the switchgear itself is safer, cheaper to maintain, and more environmentally friendly than ever before.  But the same cannot be said of backup power supplies.  Although modern valve-regulated lead acid (VRLA) batteries are safer and cheaper to maintain than the original flooded lead acid batteries, the fundamental technology behind backup power supplies has not changed in the entire history of New Zealand’s power network.

However recent advances in emerging technologies could be a catalyst for change.  An increased focus on electric vehicles and home battery systems has accelerated developments in alternative battery chemistries; increasing adoption of solar schemes has contributed to price reductions for solar panels; and fuel cells are starting to bridge the gap between early adoption and mainstream acceptance.

In the modern operating environment, it is important for electricity industry participants to ensure that the carryover period of their backup power supplies reaches an appropriate level.  Where the carryover period falls short, it can prove difficult to make up the difference.  Space constraints are often a limiting factor, with reliability, safety, environmental, and maintainability issues also constraining the solution.  This paper investigates the extent to which emerging technologies and other approaches can be used to assist industry participants in meeting their carryover targets.  For more information email enquiries@tesla.co.nz