By Corina Rivera Linares, Chief Analyst, Transmission Hub

Nevada Regulators OK Solar Project, Substation and Transmission Line

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada granted Techren Solar’s application that sought the issuance of a Utility Environmental Protection Act (UEPA) permit for a project that involves a solar power facility, substation and transmission line.

Commission staff, in a recent memorandum to the commission, recommended that the commission approve the issuance of a UEPA permit.

As noted in the memorandum, Techren in April 2012 filed with the commission an application for a permit to begin construction (UEPA permit) of the Techren Boulder City Solar Project, consisting of a 300-MW photovoltaic (PV) solar-powered electric generating facility; a substation with 34.5-kV to 230-kV step-up transformers; about four miles of a 230-kV transmission line or three miles of a 500-kV transmission line; and associated facilities to be in Boulder City, Clark County, Nevada.

Techren in November 2016 filed a second amended application to modify the proposed facility’s project description to incorporate changes to the original transmission line to include a path to the Nevada Solar One (NSO) substation, a new access road and two water pipelines to the solar field.

The second amended application also requested that the UEPA permit be issued in three separate phases to accommodate Techren’s construction schedule.

Staff further stated that while Techren currently plans to build only a 100 MW PV solar array and a 230-kV transmission line, it has retained the 300-MW capacity in the project to have the option of building the remaining 200 MW onto the current project.

Staff said that it recommends the commission issue an order granting the second amended application and approve Techren’s request for the issuance of a UEPA permit consisting of multiple phases for construction of the project, conditioned upon Techren obtaining and filing with the commission a copy of all required outstanding permits, licenses and approvals needed for each individual phase.

Powin Energy Powers up 2 MW/8 MWh BESS in California

Powin Energy’s 2 MW/8 MWh Millikan Ave. battery energy storage system (BESS) in Irvine, California, is officially online. The Millikan Ave. BESS provides emission-free and reliable critical peaking capacity and grid support services to Southern California Edison (SCE).

Powin Energy developed the project and manufactured, installed and commissioned the system in less than six months from the date the project was awarded, an industry first for an energy storage asset of this size on a distribution system.

Powin Energy’s 2 MW/8 MWh Millikan Ave. BESS in Irvine, California)

“The natural gas and resulting capacity shortages due to the Aliso Canyon emergency shutdown necessitated that we bring this project online by the end of 2016,” Geoff Brown, president of Powin Energy, said in a statement. “I am so impressed by our team’s performance on this project. Everyone worked long hours over the holidays to meet this incredibly short project timeline.”

Brown also credited project partners HMT Electric and Eaton, as well as SCE and the city of Irvine for support in completing the interconnection. The project allowed Power to demonstrate how quickly its system could be deployed.

“We strongly believe that deploying grid support resources in months rather than years and at a fraction of the cost of a gas peaker plant presents the power industry with an attractive alternative to serve their peak capacity needs,” Brown said.

The Powin Energy BESS is interconnected on the Virgo 12 kV distribution line out of the Estrella 66/12 kV substation and can deliver 2 MW of power for over four continuous hours, providing a reliable and continuous source of energy during peak demand events. In addition, the system will supply regulation and flexible capacity support as needed.

The storage system consists of over 2,400 Li-ion battery packs, each containing 3.7 kWh of lithium iron phosphate prismatic modules. Eaton provided the power converter, transformers and switchgear. Powin Energy’s project was selected through a competitive solicitation initiated in response to the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) Aliso Canyon Energy Storage (ACES) request for energy storage systems that could be operational by the beginning of 2017.

DOE Divvying up $30M to Solar Integration Projects Nationwide

The U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) SunShot Initiative announced up to $30 million in new projects to support the integration of solar energy into the nation’s electric grid, while diversifying the nation’s electricity sources and improving the reliability and security of the electric grid.

Sunshot courtesy of DOE

“SunShot is working to lower the cost and complexity of integrating solar with the electric grid,” said SunShot Director Charlie Gay. “These projects give grid operators the tools to manage a modern electric grid.”

SunShot selected 13 projects under the ENERGISE funding program to enable grid operators to access up-to-the-minute measurement and forecasting data from distributed energy sources and optimize system performance using sensor, communication and data analytics technologies.

As part of the Grid Modernization Initiative (GMI), these projects are designed to address not only solar power interconnecting with the grid at scale, but also other technologies like electric vehicles that interconnect with the grid. Led by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis, and EERE, GMI looks to solve challenges like integrating conventional and renewable sources with energy storage while ensuring that the grid is resilient and secure to withstand growing cybersecurity and energy challenges.

Table 1 shows the awards and cost share amounts. They are subject to change pending negotiations.

U.S. Companies Join DOE-sponsored Cybersecurity Team

Three U.S. companies are joining forces as part of a federally funded research team working to reduce the cyberattack exposure of power utilities and industrial firms.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will fund a team that includes representatives from Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL), Veracity and Sempra Renewables. The group will focus on developing tools to reduce the vulnerable cyber surfaces of energy delivery systems.

“The project includes automating the identification of unwanted behavior, the containment of affected network areas and the rerouting of critical information. The ultimate goal is for critical energy delivery and control systems to remain safe and operational, even in the event of a cyberattack,” reads the release from Pullman, Washington-based SEL.

The project team also will work to help define security state policies and automated systems to manage security-level transitions. Those tools will enable faster response to unauthorized cyber traffic, streamline identification, contain affected networks and reroute critical information and control flows.

This project builds on the completion of the DOE’s Watchdog and SDN projects, which were sponsored by the DOE’s Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems program. These projects previously introduced an SDN flow controller (SEL-5056) and a substation-hardened SDN switch (SEL-2740S) to market.

SEL designs, manufactures, supplies and supports products for power system protection, monitoring, control, automation, communications and metering. California-based Veracity provides security solutions for industrial control systems. Sempra Renewables is a developer of renewable energy solutions in markets throughout the U.S.

Siemens, Con Edison Install Resilience Transformer in Record Time

Siemens and Con Edison of New York (ConEd) installed a plug-and-play mobile resilience power transformer in what the companies called record time. While it usually takes several weeks to transport and install a new power transformer on-site, the team completed transformer positioning and final installation in only 30 hours.

ConEd is keeping the location of the transformer confidential for security purposes, but reports say it is meant to help power the New York City region.

“Grid resilience is a matter that is very important for us as well as our customers-and in the end, also for society,” said Beatrix Natter, CEO of Siemens Transformers. “The fast-track installation time of our innovative plug-and-play mobile resilience transformers is proof that our grid resilience concept is a real first aid kit for emergency situations.”

Siemens mobile resilience transformers were developed together with Con Edison as a part of the Siemens Pretact concept for maximum grid resiliency. Siemens delivered the mobile resilience transformers late last year that will act as an emergency measure in case of unplanned outages, like those caused by hurricanes, or for planned outages.

The transformers were designed as single-phase units to be as compact and lightweight as possible. For ease and quick installation, they are transported fluid-filled (transport weight of 216,000 lbs. includes fluid) and equipped with plug-and-play bushings and cable connections. The insulation fluid is ester, a synthetic fluid derived from natural oils, instead of mineral oil, reducing the fire and explosion risk as well as mitigating possible environmental threats.

In addition, ester allows for operation at higher temperatures, which reduces the unit’s size and weight. To be able to quickly connect the transformers to different substations, they are designed in a versatile way and have connections for several voltage levels (345 kV, 138 kV or 69 kV) and the secondary connection may be made via bushing to an overhead bus or via a plug-in cable connection.

The assembly and installation of the units was performed by three teams who were supported by representatives from Siemens, Pfisterer and MR Reinhausen. The teams disconnected the existing transformer from the station overhead bus and installed transformer bushings and surge arresters, set up the pothead stands and secondary cable connections, mounted and connected the common control cabinet and set up the control cable connections between the transformers and the relay house.

For easy storage and fast deployment, all accessories are containerized and allow for maximum flexibility of setup depending on the specific location where the transformers are needed. For example, the 138 kV connections to the bus were 150-220 feet from the units, but the easy-to-install cables and pothead stands nevertheless allowed for a connection within just a few hours.

Distances up to 400 feet can be managed because of cable extension sockets that are provided with the units. Even the common control cabinet can be placed over 150 feet away from the units and still be connected with all three transformers in less than two hours. After installation, the commissioning team tested the transformers and connections to the relay building, which marked the final step of the fastest 300 MVA EHV transformer installation in history, according to Siemens.


EYE ON the world

Study Shows German Energiewende not Seen as Global Blueprint

German energy policy is noticed widely abroad. Most energy professionals do not see German energy policies as a global blueprint, however. This is according to a recently published survey by the German member committee of the World Energy Council (WEC).

Photovoltaic array and wind turbines at the Schneebergerhof wind farm in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz

The survey, “German Energy Policy-A Blueprint for the World,” found that internationally, most respondents (58 percent) are closely following the German energy transition. For one quarter of the European respondents surveyed among energy experts in 42 countries around the world, it has either triggered a national debate on energy or led to concrete political decisions on energy, whereas the influence is weak only outside Europe.

Compared with the last survey in 2015, the perception of the German Energiewende (energy transition) has improved. Nevertheless, 60 percent of respondents do not think that the German energy transition can serve as a global blueprint.

Four out of five respondents said that at least parts of the concept could be adapted in their country, while in 2015 it was only slightly more than half.

“German energy policies are increasingly stimulating the international energy policy discussions, while the survey clearly shows that the concept as a whole is not considered to be transmittable, or even only in parts, as being `transferable,'” said Carsten Rolle, managing director of Weltenergierat-Deutschland (Germany’s representative in the WEC), in a statement.

While 45 percent of Europeans indicated climate protection as the most important motivation for an energy transition, this was only true for 5 percent of the respondents outside Europe, where growth and access to energy are the main issues.

“Outside Europe, the hunger for safe energy and economic growth is a far more powerful driver for an energy transition than climate protection,” Rolle pointed out. “In order to really be able to export our energy transition and new technologies, we have to support the countries much more in tackling their respective challenges.”

As far as the most effective climate protection tools are concerned, 92 percent of the respondents said that energy efficiency measures are the best way forward. These were followed by measures to price CO2-the latter especially if the G20 countries set an example (48 percent).

ABB, Power Grid Corp. Building Mega Line in India

ABB has teamed up with India’s national electricity grid operator Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd. in a mega project worth more than $640 million. ABB will deliver a transmission link that will have the capacity to bring reliable electricity to more than 80 million people.

The Raigarh-Pugalur 800 kV ultra-high-voltage direct current (UHVDC) system will connect Raigarh in Central India to Pugalur in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

The 1,137-mile link will be among the longest in the world. With a capacity of 6,000 MW-the equivalent of more than six large power plants-it will provide enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 80 million people in India.

The two-way link will integrate thermal and wind energy for transmission of power to high consumption centers located thousands of miles away, supporting electricity demands in the south, when wind strength is low, and transmitting clean energy to the north, when there is excess wind power.

“ABB is honored to partner with POWERGRID for this smart long distance transmission project,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “Delivering reliable electricity to India’s energy demand centers is a top priority for the Indian government to support the country’s impressive growth momentum. ABB is strongly committed to India for more than a century and with this new long distance transmission link we are delivering the benefits from the Energy Revolution to the country, building on the strength of our strong local manufacturing footprint.”

UHVDC transmission is a development of HVDC. HVDC transmission links help to conserve land as they occupy only one third of the space compared to the alternative. In this case, that amounts to a saving of about 244 square kilometers of space-around one third the area of Bangalore or the entire city of Kuala Lumpur. The mega project will also feature technologies selected to minimize the footprint of the transmission stations.

The total project value is worth more than $840 million and the balance will be executed by ABB’s consortium partner BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited), a leading Indian public sector company.

The mega project is expected to be completed in 2019.

EnerNOC Providing Demand Response Capacity in Japan

EnerNOC Inc. announced that after successful pilots with several Japanese utilities, the company has signed its first commercial-scale contract with Kyushu Electric Power Co. Under the term of this initial contract, EnerNOC Japan will provide 60 MW of turnkey demand response capacity starting this summer.

“This is a significant milestone for our Japanese operations,” said Jeff Renaud, EnerNOC’s vice president and managing director, Asia Pacific. “Over the past several years, the Japanese market has slowly been working its way through a period of market reform. During that time, we have been through a rigorous and lengthy pilot process consistently proving that demand response can be a highly valuable system resource. As the Japanese market continues down this path, it is exciting to move out of our incubation period and, together with our joint venture partner, Marubeni Corp., scale up our operations to capitalize on what is emerging as a highly attractive market opportunity.”

A recent report from Navigant Research predicts that global demand response revenue will increase from less than $2.5 billion in 2017 to over $6.5 billion in 2025, with Asia Pacific representing the fastest growing region. As the world’s third largest economy, Japan’s electric demand is similar to that of the PJM Interconnection in the U.S.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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