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Backfeeding is flow of electrical energy in the reverse direction from its normal flow. For example, backfeeding may occur when electrical power is injected into the local power grid from a source other than a utility company generator.
By definition, backfeeding causes electrical power to flow in the opposite direction from its usual flow. When studying backfeeding, engineers must understand the transfer of electrical power, and not confuse this with momentary AC voltages or current flows viewed in isolation from the overall situation.
Power grid generators normally pump energy into the grid, making it available for others to use. A power station will typically backfeed (and thus consume power) when it is shut down, due to its own local loads (e.g. lights or repair equipment).
Power grid loads may backfeed if they also have distributed generation installed, such as a grid-connected photovoltaic solar power system or a microturbine-based power generator. It is also possible for an electric motor to temporarily backfeed if it is mechanically driven (see regenerative braking).
Distributed generation, also distributed energy, on-site generation (OSG) or district/decentralized energy is electrical generation and storage performed by a variety of small, grid-connected or distribution system connected devices referred to as distributed energy resources (DER).
Solar power is the conversion of energy from sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics (PV), indirectly using concentrated solar power, or a combination. Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. Photovoltaic cells convert light into an electric current using the photovoltaic effect.
Microturbines are 25 to 500 kilowatt gas turbines evolved from piston engine turbochargers, aircraft APUs or small jet engines, the size of a refrigerator. Early turbines of 30-70 kW grew to 200-250 kW.
For cost reasons, many of the circuit (overcurrent) protection and power quality control (voltage regulation) devices used by electric utility companies are designed with the assumption that power always flows in one direction. An interconnection agreement can be arranged for equipment designed to backfeed between an electric utility customer with distributed generation and their power company. This type of interconnection can involve nontrivial engineering, and possibly equipment upgrade costs to keep the distribution circuit properly protected. Such costs may be minimized by limiting distributed generation capacity to less than is locally consumed, and guaranteeing this condition by installing a reverse-power cutoff relay that opens if backfeeding occurs.
Because it involves transfer of significant amounts of energy, backfeeding must be carefully controlled and monitored. Personnel working on equipment subject to backfeeding must be aware of all possible power sources, and follow systematic protocols to ensure that equipment is fully de-energized before commencing work, or use special equipment and techniques suitable for working on live equipment.
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Electric power transmission is the bulk movement of electrical energy from a generating site, such as a power plant, to an electrical substation. The interconnected lines which facilitate this movement are known as a transmission network. This is distinct from the local wiring between high-voltage substations and customers, which is typically referred to as electric power distribution. The combined transmission and distribution network is known as the "power grid" in North America, or just "the grid". In the United Kingdom, India, Malaysia and New Zealand, the network is known as the "National Grid".
In electrical engineering, the power factor of an AC electrical power system is defined as the ratio of the real power absorbed by the load to the apparent power flowing in the circuit, and is a dimensionless number in the closed interval of −1 to 1. A power factor of less than one indicates the voltage and current are not in phase, reducing the instantaneous product of the two. Real power is the instantaneous product of voltage and current and represents the capacity of the electricity for performing work. Apparent power is the average product of current and voltage. Due to energy stored in the load and returned to the source, or due to a non-linear load that distorts the wave shape of the current drawn from the source, the apparent power may be greater than the real power. A negative power factor occurs when the device generates power, which then flows back towards the source.
A high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) electric power transmission system uses direct current for the bulk transmission of electrical power, in contrast with the more common alternating current (AC) systems. For long-distance transmission, HVDC systems may be less expensive and suffer lower electrical losses. For underwater power cables, HVDC avoids the heavy currents required to charge and discharge the cable capacitance each cycle. For shorter distances, the higher cost of DC conversion equipment compared to an AC system may still be justified, due to other benefits of direct current links. HVDC uses voltages between 100 kV and 1,500 kV.
The electric power industry covers the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electric power to the general public and industry. The commercial distribution of electric power started in 1882 when electricity was produced for electric lighting. In the 1880s and 1890s, growing economic and safety concerns lead to the regulation of the industry. What was once an expensive novelty limited to the most densely populated areas, reliable and economical electric power has become an essential aspect for normal operation of all elements of developed economies.
A substation is a part of an electrical generation, transmission, and distribution system. Substations transform voltage from high to low, or the reverse, or perform any of several other important functions. Between the generating station and consumer, electric power may flow through several substations at different voltage levels. A substation may include transformers to change voltage levels between high transmission voltages and lower distribution voltages, or at the interconnection of two different transmission voltages.
Grid energy storage is a collection of methods used to store electrical energy on a large scale within an electrical power grid. Electrical energy is stored during times when production exceeds consumption, and returned to the grid when production falls below consumption.
An emergency power system is an independent source of electrical power that supports important electrical systems on loss of normal power supply. A standby power system may include a standby generator, batteries and other apparatus. Emergency power systems are installed to protect life and property from the consequences of loss of primary electric power supply. It is a type of continual power system.
In electrical grids, a power system network integrates transmission grids, distribution grids, distributed generators and loads that have connection points called busses. A bus in home circuit breaker panels is much smaller than those used on the grid, where busbars can be 50 mm in diameter in electrical substations. Traditionally, these grid connections are unidirectional point to multipoint links. In distributed generation grids, these connections are bidirectional, and the reverse flow can raise safety and reliability concerns. Features in smart grids are designed to manage these conditions.
A transfer switch is an electrical switch that switches a load between two sources. Some transfer switches are manual, in that an operator effects the transfer by throwing a switch, while others are automatic and trigger when they sense one of the sources has lost or gained power.
Electric power is the rate, per unit time, at which electrical energy is transferred by an electric circuit. The SI unit of power is the watt, one joule per second.
A phasor measurement unit (PMU) is a device used to estimate the magnitude and phase angle of an electrical Phasor quantity like voltage or current in the electricity grid using a common time source for synchronization. Time synchronization is usually provided by GPS and allows synchronized real-time measurements of multiple remote measurement points on the grid. PMUs are capable of capturing samples from a waveform in quick succession and reconstruct the Phasor quantity. The resulting measurement is known as a synchrophasor. These devices can also be used to measure the frequency in the power grid. A typical commercial PMU can report measurements with very high temporal resolution in the order of 30-60 measurements per second. This helps engineers in analyzing dynamic events in the grid which is not possible with traditional SCADA measurements that generate one measurement every 2 or 4 seconds. Therefore, PMUs equip utilities with enhanced monitoring and control capabilities and are considered to be one of the most important measuring devices in the future of power systems. A PMU can be a dedicated device, or the PMU function can be incorporated into a protective relay or other device.
Electrical power system simulation involves power system modeling and network simulation in order to analyze electrical power systems using design/offline or real-time data. Power system simulation software's are a class of computer simulation programs that focus on the operation of electrical power systems. These types of computer programs are used in a wide range of planning and operational situations for:
Load management, also known as demand side management (DSM), is the process of balancing the supply of electricity on the network with the electrical load by adjusting or controlling the load rather than the power station output. This can be achieved by direct intervention of the utility in real time, by the use of frequency sensitive relays triggering the circuit breakers, by time clocks, or by using special tariffs to influence consumer behavior. Load management allows utilities to reduce demand for electricity during peak usage times, which can, in turn, reduce costs by eliminating the need for peaking power plants. In addition, some peaking power plants can take more than an hour to bring on-line which makes load management even more critical should a plant go off-line unexpectedly for example. Load management can also help reduce harmful emissions, since peaking plants or backup generators are often dirtier and less efficient than base load power plants. New load-management technologies are constantly under development — both by private industry and public entities.
An electrical grid, or electric grid, is an interconnected network for delivering electricity from producers to consumers. It consists of
A wide area synchronous grid is a three-phase electric power grid that has regional scale or greater that operates at a synchronized frequency and is electrically tied together during normal system conditions. Also known as synchronous zones, the most powerful is the synchronous grid of Continental Europe (ENTSO-E) with 667 gigawatts (GW) of generation, while the widest region served being that of the IPS/UPS system serving countries of the former Soviet Union. Synchronous grids with ample capacity facilitate electricity market trading across wide areas. In the ENTSO-E in 2008, over 350,000 megawatt hours were sold per day on the European Energy Exchange (EEX).
A rooftop photovoltaic power station, or rooftop PV system, is a photovoltaic system that has its electricity-generating solar panels mounted on the rooftop of a residential or commercial building or structure. The various components of such a system include photovoltaic modules, mounting systems, cables, solar inverters and other electrical accessories.
A grid-connected photovoltaic power system, or grid-connected PV power system is an electricity generating solar PV power system that is connected to the utility grid. A grid-connected PV system consists of solar panels, one or several inverters, a power conditioning unit and grid connection equipment. They range from small residential and commercial rooftop systems to large utility-scale solar power stations. Unlike stand-alone power systems, a grid-connected system rarely includes an integrated battery solution, as they are still very expensive. When conditions are right, the grid-connected PV system supplies the excess power, beyond consumption by the connected load, to the utility grid.
A generator interlock kit is a device designed to allow safe backfeeding of a home through a portable generator during power outages, thereby eliminating illegal and/or unsafe generator backfeeding situations that could potentially electrocute power linemen or destroy the generator.
In electrical engineering, the passive sign convention (PSC) is a sign convention or arbitrary standard rule adopted universally by the electrical engineering community for defining the sign of electric power in an electric circuit. The convention defines electric power flowing out of the circuit into an electrical component as positive, and power flowing into the circuit out of a component as negative. So a passive component which consumes power, such as an appliance or light bulb, will have positive power dissipation, while an active component, a source of power such as an electric generator or battery, will have negative power dissipation. This is the standard definition of power in electric circuits; it is used for example in computer circuit simulation programs such as SPICE.
The electrical grid that powers mainland North America is divided into multiple regions. The Eastern Interconnection and the Western Interconnection are the largest. Three other regions include the Texas Interconnection, the Quebec Interconnection, and the Alaska Interconnection. Each region delivers 60 Hz electrical power. The regions are not directly connected or synchronized to each other, but there are some HVDC interconnections.