Transmission of electric power is transfer of bulk electrical energy to substations from power generating plants. Substations/population centers are located near demand centers and electrical energy is further delivered through a distribution system network, distribution being the final stage in delivery of electricity to consumers. Electrical transmission is distinct from electrical distribution, in terms of carrying large quantities of high voltage power over large distances; thus there are differences in the equipments used for each. Cables, conductors, switches, circuits, convertors, capacitors, breakers, transformers, meters, etc., of varying capacities and characteristics; form the basic components in this process. Technology wise categorization includes: high temperature superconducting equipments, sulfur hexafluoride emissions reductions, variable frequency transformers, new transformer core shapes, amorphous core transformers, arc-fault circuit interrupters, HVDC and smart grid. Products demanded are transformers (power, distribution, others) and switchgear and switchboard apparatus.
The type of transmission lines used: overhead transmission, sub-transmission or underground transmission, determine the equipments necessity. A basic distribution system consists of substations, poles, lines, distribution feeder circuits, switches, protective equipment, primary circuits, distribution transformers, secondaries and services to handle voltages ranging from 120-34000 volts. Components of the distribution system are determined by the end user to be served, customers being industrial, commercial, residential and transportation. The market size and sales revenue have been increasing, driven by the increasing office, commercial, industrial and residential needs for electrical energy.
A major concern to be tackled is the loss of electrical energy during transmission and distribution. Equipments which prevent maximum loss over longer distances need to be devised. The power, reliability, frequency, voltage and load factor capabilities of the system need to be designed to fulfill the customers’ needs as well as be cost effective. Equipments need to be blackout, brownout, fault, fluctuation and climate variation resistance evaluating the investments made in them. Wireless power transmission options are also being explored for this purpose. Transmission and distribution equipments need to meet protective equipments guidelines, regulatory standards of respective governments and quality, material and performance standards set by the industry regulatory body.
Manufacturers and suppliers of electrical transmission and distribution equipments have been growing in the USA, India and China with UK, Taiwan, Germany and Turkey not far behind in manufacturing. Mitsubishi Electric, ABB Ltd., Tebian Electric Apparatus Stock Company Limited, Osram AG, Eaton, Crompton Greaves, BHEL, Siemens AG, GE, Larsen & Toubro, Kirloskar Ltd., Acme Electric Corporation, Schneider Electric etc. are few key players of this sector.
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