DNV GL says that the extent of failures in power system components make it essential that independent testing is carried out.

30 per cent of components tested in its laboratories fail to pass the physical laboratory tests and don’t achieve certification

The Netherlands-based global authority on testing, inspection and certification of power system components say that faulty equipment is the second most common cause of outages in the US, and the number one cause in the UK, citing the Eaton Blackout Tracker 2013.

The findings have bolstered the company’s contention of the necessity of independent certification.
Jacob Fontijne
“In addition to enhancing reliability by ensuring that performance and safety criteria have been met – a critical proof in liability cases – certification also streamlines and optimises the equipment purchasing process,” says Jacob Fontijne, Executive Vice President, Power TIC, DNV GL. “When utilities insist that manufacturers provide certification, the industry and society benefit from increased reliability, safety and efficiency.

When components do not pass certification tests, the cost to the industry and society can be measured in increased cost, lost revenue, power outages, safety issues and liability cases. In the US, electrical power outages, surges and spikes are estimated to cause more than $150bn in annual damages to the economy.

DNV says that third party testing and certification helps ensure that equipment operates to the highest international standards and performs correctly in all network conditions.

The global growth of high-voltage power networks is driving a proliferation of new high-voltage transmission and distribution components, such as circuit-breakers and power transformers, and new component manufacturers. Before installing these new components in the power network, utilities must be confident they are reliable and function correctly to minimise risks of outages.

To accommodate the growing need for new high-voltage transmission and distribution components, the company is investing to improve and expand its testing capabilities in its KEMA Laboratories.

It recently added a new, larger test cell to its KEMA Laboratory in Chalfont, PA, which increases capacity, efficiency and safety, especially for internal arc testing. It combines a state-of-the-art data acquisition and measurement system with today’s most advanced testing technology. DNV GL is also investing $80 million to upgrade facilities at its KEMA High-Power Lab in Arnhem, the Netherlands. This investment is addressing the industry’s future needs and will create the world’s first facility for testing extreme high-voltage components.

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