Power Quality Under the Microscope

Changes in generation and consumption

The transition in the generator and consumer structure of Central European electrical grids is in full swing. Large-scale power plants and the centralised electrical generation they represent are gradually being replaced by more numerous but smaller decentralised generators such as wind turbines and solar panels. These, as a rule, use power electronics components to feed into the existing medium and low-voltage networks.

At the other end, ever greater numbers of consumers have joined the marketplace, which, because of the need for greater efficiency, have also obtained power electronics components. Their non-linear properties are the main cause of the increased frequency of voltage and current signal components in electrical energy grids. This development has resulted in a complex system with volatile load flows and changing load flow directions. In addition, through the legally mandated unbundling of generation, transmission and distribution, electrical energy as a product is ever more frequently transferred and billed between the most varied market participants. Thus, electricity, before it reaches the end user, may well have been produced by a number of different market participants and even transferred several times. This structure demands numerous transfer points and clearing houses, critical points where it comes to ensuring power quality.

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