With the recent COP27 climate summit focusing on industrial decarbonisation, ABB Electrification has stated that prioritising retrofitting measures such as replacing outdated circuit breakers, upgrading defective low-voltage breakers, and installing AI energy-monitoring tools are some of the simplest ways industries can achieve carbon savings.
Taking place in Egypt between the sixth and the 18th of November, the COP27 climate talks focused on practical solutions for delivering COP26 commitments made by governments in Glasgow last year. These include the decarbonisation of key industries – including manufacturing, food, cloud computing and energy – by investing in new technologies, making older equipment more energy efficient, and changing management practices.
With this in mind, ABB Electrification’s servicing unit is urging utilities providers to make better use of widely available retrofitting solutions – not only to become more sustainable but also to address safety concerns, rising inflation and potential supply chain disruption currently facing the sector.
Stuart Thompson, ABB Electrification’s service division president, commented: “One of the greatest untapped opportunities for carbon and cost savings in the utilities sector is upgrading existing electrical equipment so that it lasts much longer, uses minimal energy in production and prevents downtime from breakdowns with real-time monitoring.
“Amid the energy security issues, we know utilities companies need to have absolute uptime and cannot afford to have a run long-term shutdown of vital grid equipment. In terms of best practice, early adopters are instead taking a preventative approach, replacing non-digital, older circuit breakers with more intelligent, sensor enabled breakers linked to cloud-computing platforms.
“These can provide real-time data and analysis on asset condition, performance and potential safety issues – helping operators prevent potential hazards before they arise, minimising disruptions to production while extending the lifecycle of an asset by as much as 30 years.
“At a time when the industry is being compelled to raise safety standards and take tangible action on climate change, the question is not how can we afford to prioritise retrofitting but rather how can we afford not to.”
ABB recently helped extend the life of LondonEnergy’s energy-from-waste plant by installing its Electrification Monitoring and Control ZEE600 – one of the first to be deployed in the UK. Acting as a hub to integrate data from five generators, as well as power distribution systems, grid connection, and drives and motors in waste-handling units, the control system enabled operators to interact with the system via a touch-screen interface that gives visibility and control, as well as access to alerts and historic performance data.
As a result of the upgrade, ABB helped LondonEnergy improve the plant’s resilience. It also enabled the plant to connect to an additional steam turbine that will increase annual green energy production to 1,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) – equivalent to the electricity consumed by 80,000 homes and businesses.