On October 22nd, 2012, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) completed the installation of 100 PowerLine Guardian devices. This installation represents the first deployment of Smart Wire Grid’s innovative power flow control solution and a significant step for TVA in a path to the grid of the future. TVA’s fleet of PowerLine Guardians has been operating reliably for the past two years. To read more about the installation at TVA, click here to download our recent report on the performance of these units.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ─ The Tennessee Valley Authority is testing a promising “smart grid” technology that may help utilities enhance reliability, efficiency and the ability to keep power flowing.
Ninety-nine devices designed to reroute electricity, automatically or by remote control, from potentially congested transmission lines onto underused lines have been installed on a 161-kilovolt transmission corridor spanning 17 towers east of Knoxville.
“TVA has seen a critical need for this technology and has been involved in its development for some time,” said Bruce Rogers, director of TVA Innovation Technology. “We are pleased to provide a full-scale test bed for this demonstration as part of our mission to provide leadership in technology innovation for our industry.”
The Smart Wire hardware, manufactured by Smart Wire Grid Inc. of Oakland, Calif., consists of an array of “distributed series reactance” units that clamp onto the transmission lines. The self-powered units, which resemble long rectangle boxes, act like valves on the power line. By mimicking overload, they can redirect power to less- used lines for greater efficiency.
Operating autonomously or with full operator control, the units also provide line sensing and monitoring capability to optimize system operations.
“This is the kind of advance that can put ‘smart’ into the electric grid and give us a level of control we haven’t had before,” said Rob Manning, chief energy delivery officer and executive vice president for TVA’s nearly 16,000-mile transmission system.
“The number of challenges that transmission system owners must meet increases every year. We are asked to improve grid reliability, facilitate efficient electricity markets and integrate with renewables. We think this technology may help us do that,” Manning said.
TVA was an early funder of the Smart Wire concept and has continued to support the development through the industry-funded National Electric Energy Testing, Research and Applications Center (NEETRAC) at Georgia Tech and its Smart Wire Focused Initiative (SWFI).
The transmission line demonstration is funded by TVA and several organizations including: the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Electric (ARPA-E), a research branch of the U.S. Department of Energy; and SWFI partners Southern Company, Baltimore Gas & Electric and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
The Smart Wire units were installed this past winter and will be evaluated by TVA for performance over the course of a year. ARPA-E will be monitoring the results.
DeJim Lowe, senior manager of grid modernization in TVA Technology Innovation, said the Smart Wire units could provide immediate cost savings by improving power flow on the system without major upgrades while mitigating congestion issues on the transmission system.
Stewart Ramsay, CEO for Smart Wire Grid, predicts the transmission grid of the future will have to be “almost infinitely controllable” to accommodate a variety of possible objectives, including greater reliability, greater efficiency, lower cost and renewables.
“We don’t know what the demands are going to be in 10 years,” Ramsay said. “What we do know is that having greater flexibility and control of the transmission system will support whatever those goals are.”
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.
Visit the Technology Innovation web page to learn more about the Smart Wire grid demonstration at TVA. The site includes an ARPA-E video about the project.
Duncan Mansfield, Knoxville, 865-632-4660
TVA Public Relations, Knoxville, 865-632-6000
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(Distributed: April 25, 2013)
OAKLAND, CA. — A pilot demonstration of Smart Wire technology is now under way on the Tennessee Valley Authority’s power transmission system. Installed on a 161-kilovolt transmission line near Knoxville, Tenn., the Smart Wire system is designed to provide congestion relief by redistributing power flow onto underused lines, thereby optimizing transmission system operations.
“Smart Wire Technology has the potential of mitigating the problem of overloaded transmission lines, and if the technology proves itself, the nation’s power grid will be more stable and reliable,” said Stewart Ramsay, CEO for Smart Wire Grid, Inc. “TVA stepped up into a leadership role in the development, testing and trial of our Smart Wire technology.”
Smart Wire technology, manufactured by Smart Wire Grid, Inc., consists of an array of distributed series reactance units (DSRs) that easily attach to a transmission line. The units limit the electrical current flow on the line by injecting inductive reactance. The DSRs can be operated autonomously or with full operator control and provides distributed line sensing and monitoring.
“This represents a milestone in moving the Smart Wire technology from concept through development and into utility operation,” said Bruce Rogers, Director of Technology Innovations for TVA. “We saw the critical need for this technology and became an early funder of the Smart Wire concept. For several years, TVA has continued support of the Smart Wire technology development effort through the Georgia Tech/National Electric Energy Testing, Research & Application Center (NEETRAC) and the Smart Wire Focused Initiative (SWFI).”
The 99 units will be monitored for a year by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Program Agency – Electric (ARPA-E) to verify performance. Each unit weighs about 150 pounds each and looks like a long rectangle box.
“The technology offers our transmission grid planners and operators a new tool that helps address a wide range of issues facing TVA today,” says Rob Manning, Executive Vice President and Chief Energy Delivery Officer for TVA. “The number of challenges that transmission system owners must meet increases every year. We are asked to improve grid reliability, facilitate efficient electricity markets along with integrating renewables. We think Smart Wire technology will help us do this.”
The DSR units were rigorously tested to electric utility standards for fault current, corona, lightning impulse and vibration by Georgia Tech/NEETRAC at its high voltage test facilities.
“The TVA team of engineers, operations, planners and field crews were phenomenal. Crews installed the 99 DSR units in half the time expected,” Ramsay added.
Support and funding for the development of the Smart Wire technology and units was provided by TVA and other utilities as part of NEETRAC/SWFI participation and by the Department of Energy ARPA-E GENI program. TVA provided additional funding to support the pilot demonstration installation.
For additional information please contact:
DeJim Lowe – TVA
Senior Manager, Grid Modernization Technology
Frank Lambert – GT/NEETRAC
5351 Kennedy Road
Forest Park, GA 30297
Julie Couillard – Smart Wire Grid, Inc.
1300 Clay Street
Oakland, CA 94612-1428