Supraharmonics in the Grid: The Hidden Threat to Power Quality

It’s no secret that the integration of new technologies into the electrical grid offers numerous advantages. Namely, enabling renewable energy sources that enhance sustainability and efficiency.

However, it also introduces a set of unique challenges for utilities.

One of the most concerning issues is the rise of supraharmonics, or high-frequency emissions in the 2 kHz to 150 kHz range. These emissions are a byproduct of non-linear loads like electric vehicle (EV) chargers, solar farm inverters and other distributed energy resources. Supraharmonics can propagate through power lines and underground cables, often going unnoticed until their negative impacts show up as reliability of performance problems.


How Supraharmonics Impacts Power Quality

The consequences of supraharmonics on power quality can be significant and include:

  • Equipment impacts like overheating, malfunctioning or failure
  • Damage to transformers and power-supply infrastructure
  • Unpredictable power supplies overheat and fail
  • Early component aging

With the increased deployment of sophisticated electronics at the grid’s edge, the levels of supraharmonics-conducted emissions are expected to worsen. That’s why detecting and addressing this issue is now critical.


Challenges to Solving for Supraharmonics

One of the primary challenges in mitigating the effects of supraharmonics is accurate measurement. Traditional power quality analyzers fall short on this in many areas:

  • Sampling rate: Supraharmonics requires a faster sampling rate than what traditional analyzers offer to capture high-frequency events accurately.
  • Reproducibility: Emissions measurements may not be reproducible at different locations, making it challenging to pinpoint the equipment causing the problem.
  • Intermittency: Supraharmonics can be intermittent and change over extended periods of time, making them difficult to detect with conventional equipment.
  • Specialized sensors: For medium-voltage grids, specialized sensors are often required to detect and analyze high-frequency emissions effectively.


The Supraharmonic Threat Solution

Fortunately, there is a solution to these challenges: the PQube® 3.

This advanced power analyzer is capable of detecting, quantifying and diagnosing supraharmonics and potential failures that traditional analyzers miss. How? The PQube 3 provides ultra-precise, continuous monitoring and analysis — granting complete visibility into the hidden issues weighing down your operational efficiency.

With the PQube 3, utilities can more proactively address the supraharmonics issue — ensuring the stability and reliability of their power supply.


For more information, contact CN Rood.