With ambitious targets of zero net carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and substantial reductions in CO2 emissions by 2030, there is growing recognition of the value that grid enhancing technologies provide. As national efforts to modernize the grid intensify, leading transmission system companies across North and South America are introducing or expanding their use of these technologies to quickly and cost effectively reach their goals.
One of these grid enhancing technologies is Smart Wires’ SmartValve™, a Modular FACTS device that moves power from heavily loaded lines to others with spare capacity. By optimizing the existing infrastructure this technology lowers costs for consumers, reduces the impact of infrastructure on urban and natural areas, and ensures timely connection of new renewable energy resources.
Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) supplies water, electricity and gas to more than 4 million people in the Metropolitan area of the Department of Antioquia (Colombia) and has adopted SmartValve technology to optimize power flows in its network. EPM plans to expand the utilization of this technology to optimize the existing network as part of the Aburrá Valley expansion plan. After an initial installation of the technology earlier this year, EPM will install more SmartValve devices in 2022 as a timely and cost-effective solution to release more capacity on the grid with minimal disruption to local communities and the environment in urban areas.
SmartValve is widely recognised in Colombia as a key technology for cost-effectively connecting lower cost generation and increasing reliability – improving the quality of life of local communities and contributing to the energy transition. This is reflected by the adoption of modular power flow control technology as part of the approved solutions for the country’s 2020-2034 Transmission Expansion Plan, published by the national planning agency (Unidad de Planeacion Minero Energetica, UPME). As part of this plan further SmartValve projects will be delivered in 2022 by other transmission owners in Colombia, providing additional capacity for the increasing level of renewable connections across the region.
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is the largest municipal utility in the US, operating nearly 8 GW of power generation facilities and serving 4 million residents with a peak load of 6.5 GW. LADWP has significant construction planned over the next decade to meet the Los Angeles 100% renewable energy goal by 2035, and is therefore exploring flexible and innovative solutions to reliable outage management.
Smart Wires CEO
In 2023, LADWP will test the rapidly deployable nature of Smart Wires’ technology to enable more efficient and reliable outage management. LADWP and Smart Wires will work collaboratively to ensure the deployment design is qualified to meet high-seismic design standards for Southern California, ahead of the installation.
“GETs are increasingly becoming the solution-of-choice for utilities who are seeking to modernize their grids and achieve decarbonization,” said Peter Wells, Smart Wires CEO.
“We’re seeing commercial momentum building in our key markets, where more and more utilities are moving towards implementing our technology, and existing projects are paving the way for its wide-scale adoption,” said Peter.