We’ve grown accustomed to thinking of electricity as a utility delivered to our home or office. And it is the correct perspective. Electrical power, like water and natural gas, is transmitted and distributed for general consumption. Voltage “moves” electrical current in the same way that pressure (or the difference in pressure between two places) moves water and gas. Electrical power must go through several revisions before it can be given to end-users.
Through the use of smart grids, medium-voltage power distribution provides more economical and responsible use of electrical power. Green cities, energy-efficient infrastructure, buildings, and industrial electrical box uses, and high supply dependability all require an integrated approach to medium-voltage power distribution. In this article, we take a detailed look into the elements of a medium voltage system and the pros and cons of medium voltage.
The range of 100,000V is commonly referred to as medium voltage (MV). Even though most equipment ratings stop at 38kV, this includes 4160V systems up to 69kV systems in normal voltages.Many electrical switchgear manufacturers provide MV that can withstand high voltage.
Owning your medium voltage distribution or loop system comes with its own set of obstacles, but it also adds to your toolkit for dealing with issues on the low voltage system. A dedicated MV substation, commonly designated “The main substation,” is used to connect an electrical installation to an MV utility distribution network. The installation may include additional substations designated as “Secondary substations” depending on their size and specific criteria primarily related to the loads (Rated voltage, number, power, location, etc).
Electrical power distribution equipment rated over 600 volts was only found in two areas not long ago, utility networks and large industrial sites. The power system in utility systems is owned and operated by the utility. This system consists of generating from a remote location, high-voltage transmission lines, and high-voltage distribution lines that terminate at a transformer and serve premises wiring at less than 600 volts.
Facilities with systems over 600 volts were previously managed by professionals who were well-versed in the design, installation, and operation of such systems. The handling, splicing, and terminating of wires is one such installation operation that necessitates a high level of expertise. Many electrical enclosure manufacturing companies used to avoid doing this type of work since it was such a specialty, preferring to subcontract it to other contractors that specialized in this type of work.
Much has changed since then. Hospitals, wastewater treatment facilities, shopping malls, assisted living complexes, and schools (even elementary schools) are all being supplied by medium voltage switchgear manufacturers (often in the 5 kV to 15 kV range) and benefiting from utility rates at main metering.
For electrical transmission, there are various reasons to prefer one voltage level over another. The cost is a key factor. It’s a balancing act: higher voltage means less copper for wiring, but more money for electrical equipment. The length of the lines is another factor. Higher voltages make sense for longer power lines, but this comes at the expense of wider wire spacing.
The selection is frequently influenced by the presence of existing transmission lines in the area. Using the same voltage system allows interconnecting multiple lines into a grid easier, which could make a certain voltage level highly appealing, even if the immediate costs are higher.
MV distribution systems have several advantages over LV distribution systems, but they also have some drawbacks. The decision must be the product of rigorous consideration, with cost and safety as the primary considerations.
The usage of significantly less copper in the form of smaller conductors and fewer sets of conductors, as well as fewer power losses and reduced voltage drop, are all advantages of MV systems. Much greater power capacity is distributed to the load. Larger equipment sizes, greater working clearances necessary around electrical equipment, more training costs, and longer maintenance intervals to repair equipment are among the disadvantages of MV systems.
Despite these benefits and drawbacks, it is sometimes impossible to distribute at LV, in which case MV distribution is used. In such cases, workers’ safety should be prioritized by developing detailed maintenance procedures for MV equipment. It’s also important to think about the safety of non-maintenance personnel.
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