Smart Wires Inc.

New project to develop an advanced software tool for enhanced outage management

September 14, 2023

Smart Wires today announced a new project focused on developing advanced software that will identify the optimal use of mobile power flow control technology to support transmission system outage management. It will be funded through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA’s) Electric Power Transmission and Distribution Future Grid Challenges program for projects that promote grid modernization and enhance electric grid performance.

Nyserda website

The global transition to a completely decarbonized grid, alongside the increasing frequency of extreme weather events and aging energy infrastructure, places huge pressure on power systems worldwide. There’s no doubt that modernizing existing infrastructure and increasing transmission capacity is critical to achieving a net zero grid, but transmission projects are often hindered by lengthy delays. This is primarily due to the complex asset outage schemes required to commission new lines and grid equipment and maintain existing infrastructure. These outages temporarily render areas of the network unavailable and consequently reduce overall system capacity, often driving up costs for consumers.

However, grid enhancing technologies such as modular power flow control (MPFC) technology can alleviate grid congestion while improving grid reliability, particularly during outages, thereby facilitating faster and more effective project completion. This NYSERDA-funded project aims to develop a software plug-in designed to identify the optimal locations for such MPFC deployments. These deployments can be quickly installed and relocated between sites, enabling the system operator to use them to address critical short-term network needs that can occur during both scheduled and unplanned outages.

The plug-in will be developed using a New York Transmission Owner’s existing outage management program as an example case. The software development will aim to account for various factors, including seasonal dispatch patterns, substation site feasibility, and different outage conditions to optimize a solution that aligns with the user’s specific criteria. 

  “We are delighted to lead this exciting project which has the potential to identify new opportunities for outage management in the State and further afield,” said Joaquin Peirano, General Manager, Americas at Smart Wires. “With the advanced software tools that will be developed under this project, utilities will be able to optimize the location of mobile MPFC deployments to support greater grid utilization even when part of the network is out-of-service.”

The mobile MPFC devices that the plug-in is primarily intended for are modular static synchronous series compensators (M-SSSCs) that inject a voltage in quadrature with the line current to synthesize a capacitive or inductive reactance. This means the devices can push power off overloaded lines or pull power onto underutilized lines to resolve thermal constraints and other grid issues, unlocking capacity on the existing grid.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of NYSERDA or the State of New York.

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