Energy Source and Distribution catches up with Eaton Corporation’s vice president, general manager and managing director of Australia and New Zealand to discuss improving the safety of power distribution networks and how utilities can improve their environmental footprint.
As a global power management company, what are Eaton Corporation’s key priorities?
Eaton provides energy-efficient solutions, so we’re concerned with helping our customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more reliably and efficiently. Safety and sustainability are very important to the company’s 101,000-or-so employees, which sell products to customers in more than 175 countries.
Utility managers are under extreme pressure to implement safety measures across the grid. How is Eaton proactive in helping utilities protect themselves against new security vulnerabilities and concerns resulting from grid digitisation?
Regardless of workforce changes or stakeholder expectations, it’s important utilities manage their grid, which is where Eaton comes in. We can help utilities support and train an ageing workforce, comply with local and federal government regulations and help make the smart capital investments to prepare for the future. Solutions and services like project management and life-extension solutions can help keep existing equipment up and running, while engineering services help replace lost expertise, reduce unplanned outages and recover from both planned and unplanned power interruptions – all while keeping your workforce and plant safe.
How do you support utilities to manage their grid in extreme weather events, for example bushfires?
The Black Saturday bushfires of 2009, in Victoria, is a good example. Following the devastation, local power utilities worked with Eaton to implement a field replacement program using the company’s dropout boric acid fuse links, ELF full range pole top fuses and Smart SWER Reclosers. The Eaton Boric Acid Fuse product was chosen due to improved safety features and reliability versus other manufacturers products such as it’s hermetically sealed construction and improved cement mixture in the mount for long-term durability in the field and its Class A certification. The ELF full range fuse was chosen because it retrofits into a standard expulsion fuse mount, limits the energy supplied to a fault and has Class A certification. The Smart SWER NOVA Recloser substantially reduces the risk of bushfires relative to previously installed reclosers.
Of course, utilities also need protection from fire associated with mineral oil-filled switchgear.
Definitely; utilities need support to deal with fire and handling risks relating to mineral oil or SF6-filled switchgear. Additionally, safety and handling concerns with SF6 can raise issues with environment, health and safety policies. Consequently Eaton offers SF6-free medium voltage poletop and indoor switch gear.
What importance does Eaton place on preserving the environment?
We take, very seriously, our responsibility to improve the environmental footprint of power utility distribution networks. Eaton offers an array of equipment, tools and services to reduce energy consumption and leave a smaller footprint on the world’s environment. As customers work to achieve individual goals for environmental sustainability, when partnering Eaton customers can be sure that their power equipment is doing its part too. The solutions minimise impact on the environment by offering automated products that reduce emissions. Eaton’s extended R&D capability has produced industry first safety solutions that help to reduce customer environmental footprint, in a world where carbon reports and impact statements drive operation decisions.
What benefits are expected to arise from the recent Cooper acquisition?
In the utility market, our Cooper Power Systems business provides us with a broad portfolio to target the transmission and distribution side of the utility business, where Eaton has strength in the commercial and industrial side. Now we can offer our utility customers a holistic solution for their entire power chain. Two companies, both with accomplished histories of industry-changing innovations in manufacturing processes and product design, are now combined. Together we are more focused and more capable than ever of providing holistic solutions to today’s and tomorrow’s most critical electrical power management challenges. Our unified strength lets us see more possibilities and better opportunities, enabling our customers to more efficiently manage their energy consumption, increase uptime, lower costs and help keep personnel, equipment and data safe.
Why should companies consider power protection and power quality?
With society’s ever increasing reliance on information technology and communications, along with an increasing focus on safety, productivity and security, a stable and reliable power is a “must have” for mission critical applications. Eaton has been tracking power outages in the ANZ region over many years.
In 2013, the frequency of reported power outages across Australia and New Zealand increased by 72 per cent, so businesses should really consider power protection and power quality to ensure critical systems are available and protected 24/7.
Eaton is an established market leader in the power quality market. From desktop PCs to complex data centre IT infrastructure, Eaton’s full portfolio of UPS, rack and facility-level power distribution and surge protection products are designed for maximum uptime, guarding against everything from surges to outages.