Electrical Infrastructure Audit: 10 reasons to upgrade your business’ HV electrical infrastructure
10 reasons for an electrical infrastructure audit to upgrade your business’ HV electrical infrastructure to a more efficient, modern, alternative
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With the energy transition getting into its stride, companies are looking to save money as costs increase. One such method is to carry out an electrical infrastructure audit to see if you can upgrade electrical infrastructure to more efficient, modern alternatives. Conducting an electrical infrastructure audit has many tangible business benefits.
1. Living on borrowed time - HV Switchgear systems generally have a design life expectancy of 25-30 years. As equipment becomes older, the probability of failure becomes greater due to the electrical stress under which it operates. All HV electrical infrastructure is subjected to constant low-level partial discharges, which weaken or have a corroding-like effect on the equipment that grows over time until it fails. It’s not a matter of if - but when. An electrical infrastructure audit can identify the need for upgrades before catastrophic failure occurs.
2. An electric future - The switch to large-scale electrification is gaining pace in many industries. For example, all commercial transport businesses need to plan for a fleet electrification infrastructure and assess the infrastructure upgrades needed for electric vehicle fleet charging. A fundamental upgrade will be needed to deliver for increased power demands in most cases.
3. Cutting energy consumption - HV infrastructure is often overlooked by businesses in terms of energy consumption. However, the European Commission estimates that 2.9% of all energy generated across the EU and the UK is wasted through transformer losses. Modern transformers, meanwhile, adhere to the Euro Tier 2 directive 548/2014, meaning they offer significant reductions in losses compared to older units.
4. Ready-to-go replacements - Parts for outdated infrastructure are often no longer manufactured, or the manufacturers no longer exist. In the unavoidable instance where outdated equipment eventually breaks down or malfunctions, there are no spare parts to replace them. Upgraded, more advanced infrastructure equipment is readily available on the market, alleviating delays and cost of downtime.
5. Ditching downtime - Long-term stress failures are called disruptive discharges and result in arcing faults, causing short circuits between phases and earth. Such failures are usually catastrophic, resulting in prolonged power outages and critically impacting production. An electrical infrastructure audit will highlight the need for modern equipment that is highly unlikely to fail, and if it does, results in significantly less downtime.
6. Safe by design - Overpressures in outdated equipment can result in an electrical arc that exceeds 22,000°C - hotter than the surface of the sun. Air expands rapidly and can lead to the equipment exploding and releasing super-hot gas and flames. Mineral oil-based equipment exasperates this issue greatly. Modern equipment is designed and tested to be able to withstand internal arcing faults and to minimise the risk to personnel and property in the event of an internal fault.
7. Responsibility and liability - Owners of HV infrastructure have a legal responsibility to protect workers within the vicinity of HV equipment, and those seen to have been neglectful in their approach to safety can end up with fines or even jail time. Upgrading to a more reliable, safer alternative is in everyone’s best interest - not only operators and personnel but also the duty holders.
8. Pure cost savings - As energy prices soar throughout Europe, so does the demand for more cost-efficient energy sources. Upgrading 30-plus-year-old transformers will yield an ROI in 3-5 years, with pure savings thereafter. Vattenfall’s Power-as-a-Service offer provides free electrical infrastructure audits as well as the finance for cost saving, equipment that uses less energy to run will save businesses money in the long run through lower energy bills.
9. Green and clean - Many old Switchgear systems are often filled with oil and contain sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), listed by the EPA as one of the most potent greenhouse gases known. Oil was designed out of switchgear decades ago, and today's modern switchgear is seeing the phasing out of SF6 gas for green alternatives, whilst at the same time, manufacturers have embraced more sustainable cleaner supply chains.
10. Reputation at stake - Global demand for sustainable practices is increasing, meaning sustainability has become mission critical for businesses. Those who aren’t viewed as taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint are at risk of being left behind. By upgrading HV infrastructure, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to sustainable practices, increasing consumer retention and enhancing a company’s reputation in our environmentally conscious world.
Vattenfall can provide Capex and electrical infrastructure services for businesses looking to upgrade their private wire networks under an operational lease contract. Our Power-as-Service model can help you with an electrical Infrastructure audit and if necessary, support your business by upgrading your HV electrical infrastructure, Capex free, to make your business fit for tomorrow.