Stable outlook for UK sector

Jon Lawson

Duncan Biggins reveals why voltage stabilisation is the key technology for tomorrow's renewably powered UK

Voltage stabilisation (VS) may not be the most familiar acronym to business, but it soon will be. VS is gradually becoming essential, as the UK's power networks change for the greener.

UK power is changing. And VS is about stabilising the UK's mains voltage supply, so that mains voltage peaks, troughs and surges don’t damage firms' equipment and plant.

This is more and more relevant; today UK mains voltage is becoming ever more volatile. This is largely because of the increasing mix of renewables coming onto the grid, and the forthcoming closure of ageing nuclear and coal fired power stations.

The problem is this; renewables aren't always 'on', because the sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow.

But when wind does blow, power peaks, then troughs when it drops. This causes mains voltage fluctuations, and these feed straight into your kit, be it a computer or a blast furnace. Peaks and troughs in voltage level can seriously damage equipment and reduce its lifespan.

For the first time on record, wind turbines generated more electricity than was used in the whole of Scotland on a single day. That's great news, but it shows the extent to which renewables are now powering the UK, and thus the extent to which grid fluctuations are a real danger. Mains stability is essential, and the best way to deliver it isn't to wait; it's to install VS yourself.

Every single piece of equipment, from lighting to freezers, production plant or computers, is affected by mains voltage. Keeping voltage safe and controlled across your estate is essential.

The switch to VS is happening across the world, in tandem with the renewables revolution. But how does it actually work?

How VS works: the basics

VS systems use latest generation semiconductors controlling the output from specially designed multi tap transformers. These provide plant and equipment with stabilised voltage, ironing out peaks and dips from the grid before they hit essential kit. The e-ST voltage stabilisers from e-fficient Energy can be designed to accept an exceptionally wide range of voltages (-65 <+45% of a 400V Nominal voltage).

These solutions are specifically designed for use in areas where the electrical supply grid is prone to sudden changes such as spikes or sags (500V/s rates of change). At the minute, that's most of the UK.

VS is an essential investment for every business. Companies can't afford for peak in voltage from the mains to damage and shorten the lifespan of their crucial business assets.

But VS can simply and affordably prevent this from happening. E-fficient Energy is keen to see renewables coming online in the UK and believes its role is to enable this transition by making the power they generate reliable and safe for end users.

Duncan Biggins is MD of e-fficient Energy.

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