Power Quality – A subject of increasing interest
Prof. Sarath Perera
School of Electrical, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering
Technical Director, Australian Power Quality and Reliability Centre (APQRC)
University of Wollongong
By definition there is a distinct difference between reliability and power quality (PQ) where power quality refers to the purity of the electricity that supplies the connected equipment. Similar to the impurities/nutrients and the associated concentrations in the water we drink or the food we consume, a range of features and their acceptable levels characterise the quality of electricity. Some PQ features will be persistent (continuing or sometimes they are known as variations) and some are events (they appear from time to time). Both variations and events have detrimental impacts depending on the environments in which the equipment operate. Some power quality problems cause slow deterioration of the connected equipment and some lead to their almost instant failure. This means that the associated economic consequences are sometimes hidden (and go unnoticed) and sometimes immediately evident. Hence, it is vital that stakeholders ranging from those who: generate, transmit, and distribute electricity, electrical equipment manufacturers, electrical system designers and operators, economists, the rule makers and the lawyers and the like should aim to acquire adequate understanding on the subject. The aim of the first part of the presentation is to give a quick overview of the types of power quality problems, how they originate and propagate and how they impact on connected equipment. Some discussion will be presented on the responsibility sharing associated with power quality.
The second part of the presentation aims to highlight some of the power quality aspects related to changing electricity grids, ie those associated with the integration of renewable and distributed energy sources at all voltage levels, ranging from domestic solar photovoltaic systems to large scale wind and solar farms. Some efforts which aim to combat or minimise these problems are presented with examples and need for a holistic understanding is highlighted to ensure cost effective solutions.
Sarath Perera was born in Kandy, Sri Lanka and received his primary and secondary education at Kingswood College. He received his tertiary education at University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka (aka Katubedda Campus) and graduated in 1974 with his BScEng degree specialising in electrical power engineering. Postgraduate education he received under a Colombo Plan scholarship include the Master of Engineering Science degree from University of New South Wales in 1979 and the PhD from University of Wollongong in 1988 for the work he carried out on special purpose electrical machines. In 1988 he joined University of Wollongong as a lecturer where he developed his life long career as an academic. In 1996, with the setting up of the industry funded (then Integral Energy and now Endeavour Energy), Australia’s first centre of excellence specialising in power quality Sarath moved his research interests in to power quality. In 2004, he took up the position of Technical Director of, now well-known both nationally and internationally as, the Australian Power Quality and Reliability Centre (APQRC).
Sarath’s mainstream work in the field of power quality incudes voltage fluctuations and flicker, voltage unbalance, harmonics, modelling and simulation, equipment performance, contributions to the development national and international of guidelines and standards and contributions to professional development and consulting to the industry.
For the presentation slides click here.