Traditional generation systems had a small number of very large generating plants. New energy sources like solar PV and wind turbines have many individual generators that continuously vary their electrical output. The control and protection systems need higher levels of precise timing to do their job. The best source is from satellite-derived systems such as GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and BeiDou. Synchrophasors and sophisticated electrical protection schemes are increasing the need for more precise timing. Electrical control systems getting faster, driven by distribution automation and substation automation.
Water pumping stations, gauging instruments and monitoring facilities are often in awkward-to-reach locations without regular communications. Serial UHF radio communications provide flexible solutions for monitoring and protecting critical infrastructure.
Utilities have to gather large amounts of data in the field under difficult and harsh conditions. Rugged handheld computers with full working day battery life, sunlight-readable displays and diverse communication provide the best solutions. Trimble has a long history supplying these solutions and the latest generation Juno T41 and Yuma 2 products are the best-in-breed.
UHF RFID technology can track inventory, support access control and provide safety enhancements for utility workers. Standard ISO 18000 6-C tags are low cost with more flexibility that bar code systems. Many manufacturers have created innovative solutions for tags on metal, tags on liquid containers and tags on people. Durability, flexibility and security are all valuable to utilities and help drive down cost.