US Federal Government gives Smart Wires technology a boost
April 22, 2022
U.S. leaders recognize how advanced power flow control technologies, like those implemented by Smart Wires’, can save consumers money and promote clean energy. This week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) took actions to support the widescale roll-out of grid enhancing technologies (GETs), and Smart Wires is poised to lead the way.
FERC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) requiring investor-owned utilities to consider such technologies as part of their traditional transmission planning process.
The DOE released a report – Grid-Enhancing Technologies: A Case Study on Ratepayer Impact – that shows the impact of installing GETs on today’s grid to save customers money while the grid transitions to a cleaner generation mix.
Commenting on these developments, Peter Wells, Smart Wires CEO said, “Today, U.S. utilities do not have the right incentives or mandates to facilitate the rapid and widescale adoption of grid enhancing technology. The steps taken by DOE and FERC lay the foundation to fix these issues and underscore the widespread agreement across the industry that GETs are necessary for a reliable, low-cost and clean power network.”
FERC’s NOPR is the first large-scale action taken regarding the Commission’s effort to reform or revise existing regulations to improve how regional transmission grids are planned, how costs are allocated to various stakeholders and the process by which new generation connects to the grid. Today’s transmission planning process does not require the evaluation of GETs. These changes would require electric utilities to consider the use of technologies like advanced power flow control in their annual transmission planning processes.
The DOE’s report establishes an assessment methodology for quantifying the impact of GETs on the grid and applies this to the New York grid as a case study. Power flow control was found to significantly reduce the curtailment of renewable generation — by 23-43% – avoiding nearly 200 GWh/year and savings upwards of $8 million annually for New York consumers. This case study shows that GETs can be considered alongside and instead of traditional alternatives to optimize investment, alleviate existing transmission constraints and integrate the large amounts of renewable resources seeking grid connections.
Grid enhancing technologies are hardware and software that increase the capacity, efficiency and safety of the transmission system. These technologies are installed on existing transmission infrastructure to give electric utilities and system operators more control over their grid. Smart Wires power flow control technology – SmartValveTM – controls the flow of power on a line and ensures flows are efficient and balanced. Put simply, this technology pushes power off overloaded lines or pulls power onto underutilized lines. Unlike many other grid enhancing technologies, SmartValve offers utilities a long-term planning solution that also provides real-time flexibility in the operational (short-term) timeframe.