Working on an electric utility project can be a daunting task. From conception to the point of completion, is a series of processes that must be done right. And this is for no other reason other than because a single mistake in decision making or in a particular phase of the project, can go on to cause irreparable damage or major setbacks in the utility project. So are you about to start a utility project?! Fret not! In this article are critical needs that you’ll be needing for your next electrical power utility project
1. A vision for the project
No great feat as ever being completed without having a mental picture of the desired outcome. Thus you need to visualize the form in which the project will take when it’s finished. In creating your vision for the project, you must consider the aim of the project, the budget of the project, available technology, aesthetics and timeline of the project. Other important factors to consider are the existing structures present in the area and the changes in future development may bring to the location.
2. Load forecasting
For proper planning, you need to study the electrical load forecast of the community five to thirty years into the future. Because operation decisions such as unit commitment and automatic generation control depend heavily on load forecasting. And for indoor utility projects, it will be in the best interest of all parties to have a loaded schedule of the domestic, commercial and municipal loads. As these would help you to select the number and size of generating units, transformers, ratings of electrical equipment (e.g. circuit breakers) etc.
3. Evaluation of economic and technical characteristics of the existing or proposed system
For a successful electric utility project, and evaluation of the existing system’s generating units, transmission or distribution must be done while considering the potential for expansion in terms of capital investment cost, efficiency, construction time and reliability. The same should also be done for proposed power systems.
4. Choose a procedure for optimal expansion of the existing system
After the last two processes must have been effectively carried out, the results will be invaluable in choosing the most appropriate procedure for optimal expansion. One should also take note of future foreseeable trends and economic developments when making a decision.
5. Perform required tests
With tests, not only are you afforded the opportunity to detect underlying problems or challenges in the project but, you are also afforded the opportunity to fail early and make corrections. This is pretty much better than realizing that you made a huge error after the project must have been completed. When working on an electric utility project, there are tests that must be conducted before the final design. These tests include soil test, architectural and archeological survey, load flow calculations etc. And the results of these tests together with your schematics design must be benchmarked to the required standards set by appropriate bodies. For example, there are codes and standard required for earthing for soils with different resistivity.
6. Detailed Design
After the necessary changes, (using criteria such as standards, tests result, functionality, aesthetics) to the schematic design must have been done, the next step is making a detailed design. For Outdoor projects, the design must include the supporting communication and automation infrastructure necessary for optimum power operations.
7. Procurement and installation of equipment
For the successful completion of the project, it’s imperative that you order equipment’s manufactured as per your specification. More importantly, you should test the equipment’s performance and ensure they are manufactured following safety procedures and standards. Proper installation plays a vital role in the success of a utility project, and as such, equipment must be well installed with the appropriate protective device, standards and the right environmental conditions.
8. Project Tracking
Every Utility project needs a competent project manager as they play a decisive role in the success of the project. When you have one that conducts constant checks and sends progress reports as stipulated, you’re already on the path of having your project properly executed.