Delivering greater grid efficiencies & a greener planet
Developing a novel power flow control concept
1998: Power electronics are changing the world and everything we do. How will power electronics affect the largest and most powerful machine ever built – the electric grid?
Enter Westinghouse’s Power Electronics group and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Their ground-breaking work on FACTSs (Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems) introduced a power-electronics-only technology on transmission systems for the first time.
This was widely acknowledged as a breakthrough for variable power flow control on the grid and the definitive door-opener for Smart Wires’ future innovations.
Unified power flow controller (UPFC) installation at American Electric Power (AEP)
Early prototype, circa 2003
On the hunt for a solution, the prestigious power systems engineering program at Georgia Tech University developed a smart power flow control concept.
2003: The Northeast Blackout and a wake-up call. 55 million people across eastern Canada and the United States in the dark, and a visionary team at Georgia Tech University sees a need.
On the hunt for a solution, the prestigious power systems engineering program at Georgia Tech University developed a smart power flow control concept that became an early version of the first-generation PowerLine Guardian®. This new technology was seen as a critical step forward in making grids more efficient.
A partnership of some of the largest and most-respected utilities converged around this idea and launched Smart Wires. They saw the concept’s potential for meeting a critical need – flexibility – given the rapid changes occurring on the grid.
The result was an award-winning product that began to change how utilities thought about the need for flexibility on their grids and served as the foundation upon which Smart Wires was built.
Innovations continue globally
Decades later and with a passion for continuous improvement, Smart Wires’ focus remains a relentless drive to develop technologies that deliver greater grid efficiencies and a greener planet.
Deep strategic partnerships with many of the world’s most respected utilities have allowed us to listen, learn and understand their most pressing challenges.
Utilities continue to wrestle with challenges far more difficult than those encountered in previous decades of grid operation – an unpredictable future, integrating more renewables, increasing flexibility and stability, and reducing constraints, costs, and environmental and community impact.
To meet these needs, our global product team of more than 200 innovative, engineering minds brought SmartValve™ to life. This technology revolutionizes the power flow control landscape with a transformerless device that offers 600 times the impact – at 5% of the cost – compared with the first-generation product.
With our SmartValve technology alongside our advanced analytics and consulting services, we are built to assist utilities solve problems and evolve the grid.
With this solution alongside our advanced analytics and consulting services, we are built to assist utilities solve their most challenging problems and transition to a digitally controlled grid. This is our purpose and reason for being.