Smart Wires announces new project to strengthen supply of electricity in Central America

August 24, 2023

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Raleigh, NC – Smart Wires has today announced a new project that uses modular power flow control technology—SmartValve™—to resolve grid congestion and strengthen security of supply in an area of Central America. The project will start delivering benefits to the system operator, consumers, businesses, and electricity market participants in 2024.

Increasing demand for clean, reliable, affordable electricity is putting pressure on the existing grid in many countries in Central America. This challenge is further heightened as the region moves to decrease dependency on fossil fuels by developing renewable energy projects in new locations, to replace the generation provided by existing power plants. This results in huge shifts in power flow patterns across the grid, creating bottlenecks which can limit the flow of electricity even when spare capacity exists.

In one case, overloads on several transmission circuits were projected to limit power flows nationally and across the interconnected power grids of the six countries in Central America (SIEPAC). Multiple network reinforcement options were considered but ultimately modular power flow control technology—SmartValve—was selected as the optimal solution as it can quickly and cost-effectively resolve overloads to unlock capacity on the existing grid and strengthen security of supply.

“We are delighted to announce this exciting new project in Central America which will enable greater power flows across the region,” said Jessica Joyce, Smart Wires Chief Commercial Officer. “It builds on the strong global momentum of utilities using modular power flow control to get the most out of their transmission systems and ultimately transform their grids.”

SmartValve paves the way forward for series–connected FACTS (Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems) by providing a modular, digital, and future-proofed technology. It is already used by system operators across the world—including Australia, Europe, the U.S. and Colombia—but this project marks the first series-connected FACTS deployment in Central America.

The project will be completed in 2024.

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