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Top Trends in the Electrical Industry for 2020

As we venture further from the industrial age of mass production and manual labor into the information age of electronic and automation systems, we see a dramatic shift in nearly every industry. This is especially true in the electrical industry, and the way we develop infrastructure, design cities, and consume energy will be almost unrecognizable.  

Technology has paved the way and is continually shaping and shifting markets and economies. Here are some of the top trends for 2020 in the electrical industry that will develop and drive us into the upcoming decade.

Energy Storage – 

A significant and essential trend this year is energy storage. Those who work in energy space believe it’s a critical component to improve and evolve the integrity of the grid. Consumers want more control over their energy, but the current system doesn’t allow for this type of movement on a mass scale. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has already implemented a “Pay-for-Performance” pricing structure to incentivize energy storage technologies development. This is one of the main ways that the U.S. energy grid will bring stability, and it has the potential to become a cost-efficient solution on a commercial scale. 

Increasing Energy Demand – 

Energy demand is expected to rise by 57% in 2050, and it has already grown more than 25% within the last decade. Embracing emerging technologies coming into the market seems to be the best way to address concerns of expanding energy demands. Technology like Distributed Energy Resources (DERS) for better energy storage and more accessible energy options will be a significant factor in optimizing energy consumption in the years to come. 

Renewable Energy – 

The EIA forecasts a 15% growth rate in 2020, which is the fastest rate in four years. The adoption of renewable energy is also increasing as consumer interest leads the charge for eco-friendly considerations based on emerging technology alternatives. By 2021, wind and solar are expected to grow by more than 17%, when coupled with more efficient energy storage options, it will lead the way for a larger energy source as the industry shifts towards grid parity. 

Grid Parity –

Grid parity is the next stage for all utility companies in the U.S. Grid parity happens when an alternative energy source like solar can generate power lower or equal to the price of a traditional energy source – say fossil fuels. Led by the interests of consumers wanting to have sustainable energy, companies that adopt with supplying the renewable energy market can capitalize on this widespread interest if implemented quickly.

Smart Cities –

Over 35% of mid-sized cities in the U.S. surveyed are already implementing smart city projects. Many electrical companies offer utilities that are already connected through homes and businesses, which can be used to detect water leaks, integrated air quality sensors, power smart streetlight systems, and so much more. Utility companies can also automate their operations and install backup power sources, battery storage options, and microgrids to prevent outages. However, these are only the first stages of smart cities. In the upcoming decades, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine smart streetlights that talk with your home devices to give you traffic updates, solar panel roads that charge nearby businesses and possibly your car. 

IoT & 5G – 

Undoubtedly, these two advances in technology will dramatically shape the landscape, not only in terms of energy but also in almost every other space that technology touches. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a blanket term used to refer to every device that is or will be connected to the internet. 4G has been the primary way data has been communicated; however, 5G will have 10X data transmission capacity of 4G. 4G will only accelerate IoT capability. As IoT increases in popularity, more connected devices will become typical and electrical contractors will begin encountering more of them. Electricians who become familiar with IoT devices could open themselves up to new job opportunities. 

Read about more trends emerging in 2020 within the electrical industry here

J&P Electrical | Providing the Products You Need, At Competitive Prices.

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Largest Solar Panel in U.S. History Approved to be Built

The most extensive solar panel in U.S. history was approved to be built by the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). U.S. Secretary of the Interior, David L. Bernhardt, signed the Record of Division (ROD) for Solar Partners XI, LLC, to erect a 690-MW photovoltaic (PV) solar electric producing structure and ancillary facilities near Las Vegas.

The project is estimated to cost $1 billion and is being built by Gemini Solar. Once complete, it could be the eighth-largest power facility in the world. The on-site construction workforce is expected to employ roughly 500 – 700 construction workers, possibly peaking 900. The project will be implemented in a multi-stage approach, with the first phase slated to begin in 2021 and completed in 2022. 

The entire project will include a 34.5 kV (kilovolt) overhead and underground collector lines, a 2-acre (0.8-hectare) operation and maintenance facility, three substations, internal access roads, access roads along generation tie-lines, a perimeter road, perimeter fencing, water storage tanks for fire protection, drainage control features, potential on-site water well or new water pipeline, and improvements to the existing NV Energy facilities to support interconnection. 

“Our economic resurgence will rely on getting America back to work, and this project delivers on that objective,” said Secretary Bernhardt. Read more at: https://www.power-eng.com/2020/05/18/interior-approves-plan-for-the-largest-solar-project-in-u-s-history/

J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical equipment company. At J&P, we supply contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of electrical equipment, such as bus plugs, ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers. 

Trump’s Order to Secure Power System Met with Favor and Uncertainty in the Utility Industry

On May 1st, 2020, Trump signed an executive order that established regulations of foreign-made equipment used in the United States bulk-power system. The order stated that Energy Secretary Dan Bouillotte would assemble a task force to oversee current policies that identify threats to securities and establish risk-management procedures to inform future procurement.

The order will have an impact on the future of power and electrical equipment purchases and possibly already installed and commissioned components at the generation and transmission level. “This is much broader; it reaches across the entire industry, not just the telecommunication infrastructure,” said Jason Johns, an energy market attorney with Stoel Rives, LLP. “At the same time, it is particularly broad and imprecise in terms of its application.’

The utility sector looks uncertain about how they will react to Trump’s order. It’s not clear how the mandate to secure the bulk power system from foreign cybersecurity attacks will affect the industry’s current infrastructure.  

Read more about Trump’s secure power system order here.

FERC Eases Regulations During COVID-19 Crisis

In this article, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has initiated several steps to ease the regulatory burdens within the energy industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the actions taken was moving most FERC employees to telework status, and technical and settlement conferences will be moving to video conferencing. 

FERC has been communicating with North American Electric Reliability Corporation and the Independent System Operator (ISO) and Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) and does not expect the crisis to impact the reliability of the bulk electric system.

As the FERC’s actions have been primarily concerned with easing regulatory burdens in the energy industry, it provides little relief to the financial and commercial sectors which are expected to be significantly impacted. Read more here.

Fuse Development Company Updates in 2020

Taking a closer look at the electrical fuse market that is available today, we see new companies that continue to change the safety and quality standards within the industry. In this article, four new fuses are explained in more detail in how they operate and what makes their new characteristics unique.

The first fuse mentioned is the pulse resistant SMD ceramic fuse. This fuse has a very low release characteristic, designed as a failsafe device for demanding applications. 

Secondly, a company called Infineon Technologies AG from Germany announced the introduction of the OptiMOS IPOL’s IR3387M, IR3888M, and IR3889M devices to the company’s integrated point of load voltage regulators.

Next, Toshiba Electric recently entered the electronic fuse market with the new Toshiba TCKE8xx family that includes six devices. 

Lastly, in February, the Japanese company ROHM announced the availability of its BV2Hx045EFU-C family of high voltage, dual-channel switches. The global circuit protection market expects to have a value of $65.45 billion by 2026.

New Circuit Breaker Monitor Released

The company, Dynamic Ratings, has introduced a new Breaker Performance Monitor (BPM) that is a complex circuit breaker designed to monitor utilities. This new equipment has a unique feature that combines offline and online testing with high-speed waveform capture. This feature allows for a complete diagnosis of a breaker’s mechanical and electrical system that can detect operating defects before a breaker failure takes place. Read more about this new product and its performance here.

Introducing the World’s First Gas- Free Circuit Breaker

GE Renewable Energy has secured 2.2 million in funding from the European Commission to develop a sulfur hexafluoride free, gas insulated substation circuit breaker. This new circuit breaker will have the same high performance and small size as a traditional SF6 insulated circuit breaker but will reduce the gas mass by 99% CO2 amount. The technology used for this new equipment will rely on GE’s Green Gas for Grid or G3 technology. This new breaker will be a fresh addition and alternative to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The completion is scheduled to be done in 2022 and will be added to all high-voltage electrical networks in Europe. To read more on this new technology, read this article.

Tips For Industrial Plant Safety

Industrial plants are full of potential electrical hazards, so it’s important to understand and follow the proper safety policy provided by the company for everyone’s protection. It is common for workers to encounter a variety of safety hazards, including machinery and electrical wiring/cables, on a routine basis. 

Here are some helpful safety tips you can follow:

  1. Identify electrical hazards and review proper safety precautions for specific equipment being handled.
  2. Use a lockout/tagout plan when machinery will be turned off and left alone for the safety of fellow workers.
  3. Do not over exceed the maximum current rating stated for electrical outlets which can cause overheating or fire.
  4. Utilize proper safety signs and warn others of potential hazards that are nearby.
  5. Perform regular maintenance on equipment and machinery.

In this article, you can read about these important tips to guarantee your safety in an industrial working environment. Accidents can always happen, but if the correct safety measures are observed and followed, it can make the difference between life and death.

Big Things Are Happening Here at J & P Electrical Company!

We have recently opened our second location in Warren, MI. This new ITE location will also specialize in transformers and panel boards. Just a few steps away from our original warehouse, this 7,200 SF building has its own staff and offices, with our newest employee, Dennis Stenzel, managing it.  Dennis will be in charge of all aspects of this location and will report to Travis Hill, our General Manager.  Also, at this location is Marvin Cammon, our ITE Bus Plug Specialist, and Shop Techs Bobby Smith and Jon Ozzello round out the crew. We now have three total locations to serve you, including our Bus Duct Warehouse in Port Huron, MI. 

What To Know About Measuring and Calculating Voltage Unbalance

It is important to understand what causes and how to fix voltage unbalance when dealing with a 3-phase electrical system. An example used in this article, for instance, shows a 480V nominal system that may measure phase-to-phase voltage: 463V, 482V, and 474V. The voltage unbalance will create a current unbalance or magnify any present current unbalance. According to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), for every 1% of voltage unbalance, 6% to 10% of current unbalance will be created. Voltage unbalances can be caused by several issues in the electric utility system. There is also a simple formula that can be used when taking phase-to-phase voltage measurements. 

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