Top 5 power quality predictions for 2020

Eaton Industries Pty Ltd

By John Atherton, General Manager Power Quality, Eaton ANZ
Tuesday, 18 February, 2020

Top 5 power quality predictions for 2020

Reliable, quality power will continue to play an important role in 2020, as it does every year in Australia. In fact, it will become even more important with the imminent arrival of 5G. Telecommunication providers will have to ramp up their network upgrades in preparation for 5G, and the increased focus on the relationship between power quality and connectivity will play a critical part in ensuring the resilience of these high-speed networks.

5G rollouts are well underway in Australia and across the world, with increased attention being drawn on the different ways telecommunication enterprises can ensure their infrastructure meets efficiency, security and environmental expectations. Suppliers and operators at all levels within the sector have a role to play in this. Here are Eaton’s top five power quality predictions for 2020.

1. Increasing demand for cybersecurity

2020 will see an increasing awareness and demand for enhanced cybersecurity in remote monitoring and control of AC and DC UPS systems, particularly in relation to critical infrastructure. With cyber threats becoming more prevalent and sophisticated, data centre and network operators must protect their critical infrastructure against cyber threats.

As industries introduce smarter connected technologies that further interlink both business process and everyday life, trust is becoming increasingly important. Technology is reliant on power availability. Without power, there is no connectivity.

2. IoT and edge need 5G

The expansion of the 5G network in Australia will remain under the spotlight, as telco providers roll out 5G in Australia across 2020. 5G will be the ‘enabler technology’ that drives IoT expansion and edge demand, facilitating the development of technology such as driverless cars and smart cities. The quicker and more efficiently this can be rolled out, the quicker the market can leverage the full benefits that IoT can bring.

3. Edge infrastructure

Edge computing will continue to see an increase in demand. The rollout of 5G requires that the latency for a device to talk to the network and for the network to talk back must go below one millisecond. In the current 4G networks, latency can be 10–20 times higher. Supporting 5G requirements will come as both a challenge and an opportunity for power management companies in 2020; it is expected globally that 8.5 million small cells will have to be deployed per annum. Global companies with strong local engineering will be needed to cater for this demand and determine how to best create and maintain that power needed for computing systems.

4. Growth in lithium-ion

2020 will feature increased deployments of lithium-ion batteries in AC and DC UPS systems, moving away from traditional VRLA batteries. Li-ion manufacturing capacity is growing in countries like Korea and China and the price point is improving. The market is starting to embrace the benefits that Li-ion provides, including enhanced performance, smaller footprints and longer battery life.

5. UPSaaR will pick up the pace

UPS-as-a-Reserve (UPSaaR) is an application where large UPS installations can be leveraged to provide grid stability services back to the electrical grid through the energy supplier.

Data centre operators and other users of large UPS systems can generate an alternate revenue stream from their existing or new investment in a UPS. UPSaaR is picking up pace with providers who already have aggregated generators in place. With widespread blackouts forecast by the AEMO for 2020, we can expect to see the market further exploring and deploying their UPS infrastructure on UPSaaR platforms.

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