Mitigate Grid Uncertainty

Mitigate Grid Uncertainty

Background

Electric utilities are experiencing a rapid change in their generation mix as coal and nuclear plants retire and renewable generation comes online. Future load is more unpredictable than ever with uncertainty surrounding the 5- to 10-year proliferation of distributed generation, demand response, and energy efficiency. Industry leaders are realizing the importance of planning for uncertainty and the value of an agile system capable of reacting quickly and handling future unknowns.

Problem

Two U.S. utilities struggle to cope with the changing and uncertain needs of their system. First, one particular reconductoring project, identified 10 years ago to be highly economic, has encountered significant permitting challenges and total project costs have since more than doubled. Furthermore, based on energy efficiency and distributed generation growth, this project may or may not be needed to resolve near-term reliability concerns. Second, a utility resorts to highly uneconomic generation redispatch to address power flow challenges associated with a wind power facility.

Solution

Smart Wires allows the first utility to hedge against uncertainty by implementing a rapidly deployable solution that requires less financial investment and provides substantially more flexibility than the originally proposed reconductoring project. In the second scenario, Smart Wires eliminates the need for the expensive redispatch and provides a transparent mechanism for allocating the cost of transmission upgrades as additional wind generators interconnect.