WIRES to DOE: Robust transmission should be job No. 1

In an April 10 letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Duke Energy Vice President of Commercial Transmission and WIRES President Phillip C. Grigsby explains why the Department of Energy should focus on electricity transmission. The letter in its entirety follows:

April 10, 2014

Hon. Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy

U.S. Department of Energy

1000 Independence Ave. SW | Washington, DC 20585

Subject: Quadrennial Energy Review

Dear Mr. Secretary:

On behalf of WIRES, I wish to applaud you for focusing the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) in Year 1 on key enabling infrastructure, namely the high voltage electric transmission grid. WIRES is a national non-profit association of investor-, member-, and publicly-owned transmission providers, renewable resource developers, regional transmission organizations, and economic, technology, and policy firms whose sole mission is promotion of investment in transmission (www.wiresgroup.com).

The plans for the QER appropriately focus on the need for a resilient energy delivery system. As WIRES recently told the FERC in response to its concerns about physical grid security (Docket No. RD14-6-000), “WIRES emphasizes its strong conviction that robust infrastructure, built to serve the multiple long-term needs of our electric economy, is the principal basis of real system resilience in the face of the diverse threats, whether they arise from climate change, calculated violence against the system, the vulnerabilities associated with digital technologies, or other phenomena.”

However, I know you recognize the extraordinary challenges facing transmission development. Although the ability to compete for capital is always an issue, uncoordinated planning and regulation and a lack of understanding about the strategic value of the grid are significant deterrents to effective infrastructure development. WIRES supports the QER because it offers the real prospect of advancing the understanding of both state and federal policy makers about the critical need to reexamine public policy and law to foster a well-planned, environmentally beneficial, and robust transmission grid. We urge you to be bold in setting forth attainable and discernible goals for advancement of our national electric transmission infrastructure and to work with industry to overcome existing impediments to needed infrastructure development and expansion. WIRES therefore has one principal request of the QER—that the Administration step out strongly in favor of robust energy delivery infrastructure as a national priority.

WIRES has committed to Ms. Melanie Kenderdine, Director of the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis, to be as helpful as possible in advancing this ambitious analytical effort. WIRES upcoming activities that may be of interest include:

  • WIRES is conducting a study of Market Resource Alternatives (MRAs), sometimes referred to as non-transmission alternatives, to improve understanding of MRAs and how they complement expansion and upgrade of the transmission system. That study will be completed in a few months and EPSA will be among the first to be briefed on it.
  • We will share the experience of WIRES members on the reliability issues arising as a result of physical security concerns and retirement of large numbers of fossil generators. WIRES represents a diverse cross-section of transmission providers and customers and it works closely with major organizations with an interest in transmission infrastructure.
  • WIRES and its members are analyzing the interregional planning efforts of the industry and the impact of that work on the “Ëœredesign’ of the grid and the future of bulk power markets. It is also studying competitive development of transmission, which is emerging in several developed economies and in the context of Order No. 1000 implementation. These developments should help improve the resilience and adequacy of the transmission grid and foster the kind of market competition and infrastructure investment that will fuel the energy sector for decades.
  • WIRES has already submitted to the QER Team its ground-breaking reports on The Benefits of Transmission (2013), The Employment and Economic Development Benefits of Transmission Infrastructure Investment (2011), and other studies. We have determined that, even among the best planners, the tendency to authorize projects based on short-run economic or reliability advantages or to sanction inter-regional projects based on the lowest common denominator criteria on which adjacent regions can settle, without considering the full range of potential project benefits, will lead to suboptimal grid expansion over the useful lives of many new facilities. Transmission projects provide broad benefits to customers and these benefits need to be considered in all planning efforts.

While QER cannot solve all the problems facing transmission investors, it represents a critically important opportunity to build a foundation for addressing the clean energy future, grid resilience, competitive markets, and new technologies. In conjunction with FERC’s Order No. 1000 and constructive state involvement, the QER can frame our energy future in ways that are both compelling and implementable, while still respecting any key regional differences and preferences that contribute positively to the strength of the grid as an integrated whole.

On behalf of WIRES and its members, permit me to thank you, Ms. Kenderdine, and the QER Staff for your important work in this area.

Grigsby   Sincerely,
Phillip C. Grigsby, Vice President, Commercial Transmission
Duke Energy, Charlotte, North Carolina
President of WIRES

cc: Hon. Mary Landrieu, Chair
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Hon. Lisa Murkowski, Ranking Member
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Hon. Fred Upton, Chairman
House Energy & Commerce Committee

Hon. Ed Whitfield, Chairman
Subcommittee on Energy and Power,
House Energy & Commerce Committee

Dr. John Holdren, Director
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Melanie Kenderdine, Director
Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis

Bill Hederman

Karen Wayland

Jonathan Pershing

James Bradbury


Philadelphia Deploys EnerNOC’s Energy Intelligence Software Platform

Philadelphia

The city of Philadelphia will deploy EnerNOC’s EfficiencySMART Insight application across 10 of the city’s largest buildings, according to the provider of energy intelligence software (EIS).

The city, which has been an EnerNOC customer since 2010, already is leveraging EnerNOC’s SupplySMART and DemandSMART applications to manage the energy supply procurement process for the city’s electricity, natural gas and road fuels and to maximize the earnings opportunity associated with participation in PJM’s Emergency Load Response Program.

As a DemandSMART customer, the city has had access to its real-time energy data across 18 facilities, but the addition of EfficiencySMART delivers a rich set of data analytics and reporting functionality that improves visibility into energy waste and the major cost drivers that affect annual energy spend.

“The city of Philadelphia has aggressively pursued renewable energy opportunities in its energy management strategy but recognizes the most sustainable approach is to efficiently manage energy and use less overall,” said Kristin Sullivan, energy manager for the city. “The addition of EfficiencySMART means we’ll be able to better analyze our energy data and proactively prioritize the most impactful initiatives that help Philadelphia reduce its exposure to rising energy prices and drive overall cost savings.”


GPS Insight sponsors 2014 fleet management technology report

GPS

GPS Insight, a leader in GPS fleet tracking technology, sponsored a survey by Bobit Business Media that dives into fleet manager mindsets pertaining to GPS tracking technology.

An online survey was sent to Bobit Business Media subscribers of Automotive Fleet Magazine and Government Fleet Magazine. Five hundred management profiles for U.S. businesses with fleets of all sizes responded to the survey.

The survey’s data was analyzed in the “Fleet Management Technology Report,” which highlights the current adoption rate, thought processes in choosing a provider, the benefits expected and experienced and ROI. The report is intended to provide fleet managers with insight into who uses GPS tracking software, who doesn’t and why.


Ice Energy delivers 100-kW peak capacity to Moreno Valley Electric Utility, shows path to managing load growth

Ice Energy

Ice Energy and Moreno Valley Electric Utility (MVU) in California have successfully completed a pilot program examining the potential for energy storage to increase efficiency and reduce energy costs for the fast-growing community.

With the pilot program’s success, Ice Bear thermal energy storage units are now eyed as an alternative to costly projected local infrastructure upgrades.

“The pilot program ran throughout the summer last year when air conditioning use drives peak demand for electricity and clearly demonstrated the Ice Bear’s ability to deliver capacity when we need it most,” said Jeannette Olko, MVU division manager.

The pilot program, conducted with retail property owner Weingarten Stoneridge LLC, put Ice Bear units on the rooftops of the Stoneridge Towne Centre. Specific sites included rooftops at Kohl’s, T-Mobile, Round Table Pizza, Bob’s Big Boy, Subway, Supercuts, See’s Candy and Visterra Credit Union.

Collectively, the Ice Bear units work to shift the peak energy consumption of 5- to 20-ton commercial air conditioning units to provide clean and efficient peak capacity to the grid. MVU’s project totaled some 100 kW of peak load reduction without sacrificing cooling for space conditions.

The pilot program allowed MVU to identify the storage as a viable alternative way to meet peak load, potentially allowing the utility to avoid or prolong impending infrastructure expenses including a substation upgrade.


Navigant: FACTS Will Surpass $5B in Annual Revenue Worldwide by 2022

Navigant

Worldwide revenue from flexible alternating current transmission systems (FACTS) will surpass $5 billion annually in 2022, according to a Navigant Research report.

Most electricity transmission systems in service are high-voltage alternating current (HVAC) systems that rely on many of the same technologies that existed at their conception more than 100 years ago. The rapid worldwide expansion in large-scale wind and solar projects coupled with the growth of heavy industry in Latin America, South Africa and other regions, however, is providing new opportunities for FACTS.

“Flexible AC transmission systems can be used creatively to help solve some of the most demanding transmission challenges on the power grid,” said James McCray, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “These new distributed solutions are showing tremendous potential for helping to correct problems like localized voltage sag, power factor fluctuations and flicker.”

FACTS include an array of complex engineered solutions such as series compensation solutions, static volt-ampere reactive compensators and static synchronous compensators that can improve the reliability and stability of the high-voltage transmission grid, according to the report. In addition, the proliferation of distributed renewable resources on the grid, along with the smart grid focus on pushing distribution automation and control technologies to the edge of the grid, is driving new markets for scaled-down FACTS that can be delivered as modular, containerized solutions.

The report, “Flexible AC Transmission Systems,” analyzes the global market for FACTS technologies, including an analysis of the market issues, drivers, challenges and regulatory factors related to FACTS systems. Global capacity and revenue forecasts, segmented by converter type and region, extend through 2023 and include base, conservative and aggressive scenarios. The report also examines the key technologies and use cases associated with FACTS and provides profiles of key industry players. An executive summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website, www.navigantresearch.com.


Schneider Electric partners with McAfee, expands cybersecurity capabilities

Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management, and McAfee have partnered to provide cybersecurity solutions for the utility and critical infrastructure market.

The collaboration will enable Schneider Electric customers to add tested and certified application whitelisting capabilities in the management of core offerings of water, oil and gas, electric networks and transportation infrastructures.

This will strengthen customers’ operations technology (OT) security and lower ownership costs without significantly affecting the performance of critical solutions. The supported portfolio of products includes leading supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and energy management solutions.

The partnership with McAfee will allow Schneider Electric customers to combine dynamic whitelisting capabilities and change control technology to ensure that only trusted applications run on critical infrastructure systems. This includes being able to monitor and manage changes to mitigate malicious or accidental system modifications, preventing execution of unauthorized code and many common malware on their systems. These capabilities protect critical systems from zero-day attacks, reduce in-field breakage and keep systems and devices compliant with security standards through patch cycles.

McAfee Embedded Control, Integrity Control and Application Control solutions will increase the safety, availability and reliability of critical infrastructure environments around the world. The combination of both companies’ capabilities will enable customers to enforce change policy and provide comprehensive and automated audit capabilities for industrial control system environments.



EYE ON the world

Alstom Grid, WeserWind hand over offshore substation for German wind farms

The Meerwind AC offshore platform sails April 2 to the installation field near Helgoland, <br />North Sea, Germany.
The Meerwind AC offshore platform sails April 2 to the installation field near Helgoland, North Sea, Germany.

The consortium Alstom Grid and WeserWind GmbH have handed over the substation for the Meerwind Sàƒ¼d and Meerwind Ost wind farms.

The barge, carrying the 3,000-ton platform and substation, sailed April 2 to the installation field near Helgoland, North Sea, Germany.

The turnkey substation solution forms part of the Meerwind Sàƒ¼d and Meerwind Ost wind farms, a project owned by Bremerhaven-based WindMW GmbH. The platform, which houses the entire offshore substation, was installed April 3 by WindMW and is prepared for operation.

The Meerwind offshore wind farms will guarantee the efficient and ready access to wind energy in Germany. There are 80 wind turbines to feed a total power of 288 MW into the grid. The substation will connect the wind turbines to the
electricity grid via the transmission grid operator. Once completed, these wind farms will energize 400,000 households and save more than 1 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year compared to coal power plants. The water depth of the wind farms is between 22 and 26 metres.

“We are proud to contribute to Germany’s energy
transition,” said Jochen Schwarz, a board member of Alstom Deutschland AG. “Our leadership and technical expertise can be seen with our existing successes in offshore transformer stations—Borkum West II, Global Tech 1 and alpha ventus. Meerwind is no different.”

The project included the technical development, construction (including the offshore platform), design and supply of all electrical components by Alstom Grid. The specialist company WeserWind GmbH Offshore Construction Georgsmarienhàƒ¼tte designed and manufactured the platform’s steel structure, including the helicopter landing deck and the platform’s jacket.

WeserWind GmbH General Manager Ralph Ruthner call the completion of Meerwind and other projects a step toward a successful energy transition.

“WeserWind GmbH is proud to have contributed to such projects and will continue to do so in the future,” Ruthner said.


Cyan Holdings launches smart metering pilot in Brazil

Cyan Holdings

Cyan Holdings, an integrated system and software design company that delivers mesh-based flexible wireless solutions for utility metering and lighting control, recently announced its first pilot deployment in Brazil for its smart metering solution CyLec.

In December 2013, Cyan launched the CyLec retrofit module, which is designed to provide smart metering functionality to static electricity meters in Brazil. The module is a small, self-contained box that connects to an installed meter via an existing communications interface on the meter.

The product provides a cost-effective solution to enable utilities to upgrade from “dumb meters” to the CyLec communication platform. With the addition of data concentrator units, the CyLec product can be migrated from a walk-by automated meter-reading solution to full advanced metering infrastructure (AMI).

After final certification from ANATEL (Agàƒªncia Nacional de Telecomunicaàƒ§àƒµes) for CyLec products in Brazil, Cyan’s partner has deployed a full AMI solution on a pilot basis using the CyLec retrofit module.

The partner in Brazil initially has installed a small number of retrofit units to existing meters for an unnamed utility. Further pilot units are anticipated to be installed later. The utility will evaluate the technology’s various advantages, including functions such as remote disconnect and tamper alerts, in addition to allowing the utility to remotely monitor usage during the next several months.

According to GlobalData’s latest report, smart meter market revenues in Brazil will increase tenfold, from $36 million in 2013 to $432 million by 2020.

The main market drivers for this projected growth are the need to upgrade grid reliability and power outages and to improve the integration of renewable energy generation into the system, which would reduce per capita power consumption. In addition, with power theft as high as 20 percent in some Brazilian regions, local authorities are pursuing investments in smart meters because the technology provides a simpler way for companies to track such activity.



New York Gov. Cuomo Announces Plan to Reduce Electricity Demand, Improve Grid Reliability

New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced that the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Con Edison are partnering to decrease electricity demand as much as 125 MW in New York City by increasing energy efficiency, reducing peak demand and applying combined heat and power (CHP) electrical generation systems at the sites of electric consumers in New York City and Westchester County.

These efforts are in line with the governor’s energy vision to create a world-class energy system that is cleaner and more affordable, reliable and resilient while driving economic growth and opportunity.

“In this new extreme weather reality, New Yorkers need a 21st-century energy grid that won’t leave them in the dark when big storms strike,” Cuomo said. “This partnership between the state and Con Edison will help make our electric grid more resilient and protect businesses and residents from unexpected power outages.”

The initiative is part of a larger effort to improve the resiliency of New York’s electric system and is an important element for reimagining New York for a new climate change reality. The state has been engaged in improving the flexibility of the system so the grid can respond to future technologies, support clean energy integration and minimize outages during major storms and weather events.

Craig Ivey, president of Con Edison, said the demand management program is another way for building owners and managers to modernize their systems, make their buildings more energy-efficient and reduce peak load.

“Our customers can now receive enhanced incentives to save energy and money,” he said.

Specifically, the $285 million program includes $219 million for energy efficiency and demand reduction projects to reduce peak electric demand by 100 MW and $66 million for CHP systems at customer sites to replace electricity from the grid by another 25 MW. Energy efficiency and demand reduction projects must be completed prior to June 1, 2016, and CHP projects by May 1, 2016.

This initiative will focus on high-demand energy users, project developers with large portfolios and other stakeholders in a position to influence and achieve demand reductions in Con Edison’s territory. Target customers include large-building owners and managers in the commercial, industrial and institutional sectors, as well as facility managers and building engineers interested in new energy-efficient technologies and adoption of best practices. Portfolio owners’ and project developers’ uniting many small locations also are encouraged to apply.

Eligible energy efficiency and demand reduction improvements include but are not limited to: cooling, refrigeration and ventilation; high-efficiency lighting; building management systems; demand response enablement technology; and datacenter and process efficiency improvements. Con Edison and NYSERDA also are encouraging electric customers to implement innovative strategies for shifting peak load to less expensive off-peak times or less constrained fuel sources. Eligible peak shifting technologies include: thermal storage; battery storage and nonelectric cooling.

CHP systems available through this initiative can be used to island the electricity generated at customer sites so they continue to have their self-produced electricity during utility power outages in the surrounding area. In addition, lowering demand on the grid through energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and battery storage at buildings that use large amounts of energy will help reduce pressure on the grid for all customers and users.

The CHP part of the initiative promotes 10 pre-approved CHP vendors that are offering a wide selection of pre-approved CHP modules that operate using natural gas and are intended to run every day to save money and energy. These systems also will be configured to run during a grid outage to provide power to the host building for enhanced resiliency.

The initiative was developed in response to an order issued by the New York State Public Service Commission in November 2013 that directs NYSERDA and Con Edison to develop and implement this initiative to address grid reliability and reduce electricity demand in New York City and Westchester County.


NY-BEST, DNV GL Open Battery and Energy Storage Technology Testing and Commercialization Center

The New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST) and DNV GL (formerly DNV KEMA) recently announced the opening of the new Battery and Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Testing and Commercialization Center in Rochester, N.Y.

The center’s services include a suite of test, validation and independent certification capabilities that are necessary to introduce new energy storage technologies into the marketplace and accelerate integration of renewable and distributed energy.

Created through a partnership between NY-BEST and DNV GL with seed funding from New York state, the BEST Testing and Commercialization Center is an independent global testing and commercialization facility. It includes testing equipment for battery testing of secondary cells and battery packs, as well as temperature test chambers and modular walk-in temperature test chambers. Offering testing from single cells to megawatt systems, the center’s services include product development, performance validation and certification testing, and a wide range of environmental testing and battery lifetime testing. These services will accelerate the adoption and growth of energy storage technologies.

The center’s capabilities—while vital to the commercialization of emerging technologies—can be difficult for individual companies to procure within a reasonable geographic proximity or at a reasonable cost. By deploying shared resources into this facility, NY-BEST and DNV GL are filling a void for the energy storage industry while helping grow New York’s clean energy economy.

“Many global leaders in energy storage technology research and development and manufacturing call New York home,” said William Acker, executive director of NY-BEST. “By addressing a need that currently exists in the product development process for batteries and energy storage technologies, the center will serve as a magnet to attract and grow the energy storage industry here in New York state.”

NY-BEST, a consortium of battery and energy storage companies, universities, government and industry partners, was awarded $6.9 million in combined funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Empire State Development Corp. toward the creation of the battery and energy storage commercialization center. To leverage the state funds, NY-BEST, through a competitive solicitation, sought a private partner with specialized expertise to invest in and operate the center. DNV GL, a global energy powerhouse that unites the strengths of DNV KEMA, GL Garrad Hassan and GL Renewables Certification, was the selected partner because of its heritage in global testing, inspection and certification through its laboratories in the U.S. and Europe, as well as its scope of capabilities in the electric grid and renewable energy consulting business.

Under the partnership agreement, DNV GL is providing investments of up to $16 million, including relocation of its existing energy storage testing operations from its KEMA laboratory facility in Pennsylvania to the new center at Eastman Business Park in Rochester. The center is located in Building 308 at the Eastman Business Center.


CASE STUDY: Avista Utilities improves reliability, durability with Vise Top insulators, new construction standards

Many factors can affect a system’s reliability, from employee training to the transformers, but often the best place to begin the evaluation of a system is with the physical lines.

That’s how Avista Utilities began its review in 2008.

The company, which has worked in renewable energy in the Pacific Northwest since 1889, provides electric service to 361,000 customers and natural gas to 320,000 customers over a 30,000-square-mile service territory.

Avista customers include business, industry, universities and consumers in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon.

“We decided to undertake an overhaul and simplification of our overhead construction standards,” said John T. Dunlap, senior electrical engineer at Avista. “We’ve had some of our networks for more than a century, and you don’t stay in business that long without always working to meet your customers’ energy needs more reliably and responsibly. We wanted to take a long look at our systems and see how we could reduce the number of necessary service calls and minimize failures.”

Avista discovered that combining fiberglass arms and Hendrix Vise top insulators improved reliability, reduced inventory and simplified its overhead construction standards.

Analyzing the Findings

“One of the first conclusions we came to was that the weakest link in our system—the piece that had us out on service calls most often—was our wooden cross arms,” Dunlap said. “The cross arm was almost always the first thing to fail on the distribution structures, and it resulted in most of our initial service calls. By replacing the wooden arms with fiberglass, we could eliminate a lot of those issues.

“Next, we realized that we could improve our wildlife protection through the elimination of double arms. Here in the northwest, ospreys are common, and a lot of our service territory runs along the rivers and waters where they live. It’s essential for their safety that we prevent them from nesting on our lines. That also helps ensure the reliability of our electric system by eliminating some power outages, electrocutions and fires caused from nests.

“Without double arms, we also save on the labor and supply costs of constructing nesting platforms and relocating nests.”

To eliminate double arms, however, Avista needed stronger cross arms for dead-ending, as well as stronger tangent arms and cross arm pins to withstand the resulting tensions from the necessary angles.

Last, Avista replaced its porcelain insulators with Hendrix Vise Top insulators, which incorporate a clamping mechanism into the top of the insulators to provide quick and easy conductor installation without additional tie products.

Molded from a proprietary blend of gray, track-resistant, high-density polyethylene, they also offer higher impact, puncture and UV resistance than porcelain alternatives.

Ken Woo, director of molded products sales at Hendrix Wire & Cable, said Avista’s new insulators are much quicker and easier to install than tie-top insulators.

“You don’t need to purchase an additional tie to secure your conductor onto the insulator, and you don’t need to train the folks who are performing the installation to use those ties,” Woo said. “With these insulators, you just turn the bolt and install.

“In addition, the Vise Top can be used with all conductor types, bare or covered. It also conforms to the electrical and mechanical requirements of ANSI C29.5 and C29.6. It’s much, much lighter than the equivalent porcelain product, and because it exceeds all the ANSI electrical and mechanical performance requirements, it’ll perform a lot better, as well.”

The Avista team was impressed by the benefits.

“We were able to eliminate 40 different stock items,” Dunlap said. “We can use one insulator for 35 kilovolt, and one for both 15 kilovolt and 25 kilovolt. Since the vise tops simply clamp on, we no longer need to purchase and stock a large amount of ties. We’ve gone to Hendrix Vise Top insulators exclusively now, and our storekeepers are very happy. Not only does this keep our employees satisfied, it’s also excellent for us from a cost management perspective, which is a benefit to customers.”

Once Avista had identified these separate solutions and goals, it had to create a cohesive plan for integrating them into the existing system and future installations.

Formulating the Solution

“The most critical part of this overhaul,” Dunlap said, “was that all these new materials worked together and were applied correctly. After all, we were rewriting the foundation of our construction standards. It was essential that the new standards provided a concise, easily applicable template that would ensure we consistently meet code in the years to come.

“There are a lot of variables and questions involved in formulating these standards. For example, how much angle can we put on these pins for a given conductor size and span length?”

To answer questions like these and provide accurate, application-specific information, Hendrix operates an engineering lab at its facilities in Milford, N.H.

The lab can perform industry design tests and routine electrical and physical testing so customers can know what they need to ahead of time.

For this job, Avista sent the company an assortment of cross arm pins and other materials for testing. Hendrix also provides post-mortem analysis after damage or failure in the field, as well as assistance in designing new applications.

“Many utilities do not have test facilities and labs of their own,” Woo said. “When we’re able to simulate an application before it’s out on the overhead line, it gives our customers that much more assurance that the product will perform. Electric utilities invest a lot in their lines, and it’s important that they be able to predict how they will work.”

With the testing results, Avista moved forward with clear new construction standards.

Its lines are simpler to build, less likely to need repair and composed of fewer pieces.

OUTCOME

The new fiberglass arms provide a sturdier, more resilient replacement for the old wooden arms.

Avista will conserve costs and the environment by reducing the necessity for nesting platforms.

Its streamlined stock is now easier to manage and more cost-effective.

“I could not be happier with the way this project turned out,” Dunlap said. “We have eliminated over 40 stock items, improved our wildlife protection, produced superior new construction standards and removed the weakest links in our system.”

Dunlap expects the new combination of fiberglass arms and vise tops to last three inspection cycles, or more 50 years, he said.


FPL reports best-ever electric service reliability for customers in 2013

FPL

Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) recently announced as part of its annual filing with the Florida Public Service Commission that 2013 was a record-setting year for electric system reliability.

For the second consecutive year, FPL achieved its best-ever overall reliability performance, based on the average time a typical customer was without electric service, or System Average Interruption Duration Index, considered the utility industry’s best overall reliability indicator. Since 2006, FPL has invested more than $1.4 billion as part of its efforts to improve electric service reliability.

“FPL recognizes that reliable electric service and low bills are at the core of the value proposition we provide our customers,” said Eric Silagy, president of FPL. “During the last two years alone, we’ve made significant progress, reducing the average time a customer was without service by 21 percent. The investments we are making to enhance our electric system, coupled with the continued installation of smart grid technologies throughout the FPL network, are clearly benefiting customers. While we’re proud to deliver more than 99.98 percent service reliability, we remain laser-focused on doing all we can to provide the greatest reliability for all of our customers.”

The filing highlights FPL’s efforts to upgrade its distribution and transmission systems to better withstand severe weather and enable the company to restore service more quickly after storm-related outages.

The distribution system includes neighborhood power lines and equipment that deliver electricity to homes and businesses. The transmission infrastructure includes high-voltage lines that deliver electricity from power plants to the distribution system.

In addition to outlining FPL’s major progress in 2013 to reinforce the electric grid, the filing also includes the company’s planned work in 2014:

  • Completed the inspection of more than 1 million distribution poles. FPL examined 138,000 distribution poles for strength in 2013, completing the inspection of more than 1 million poles since 2006. In addition, FPL continued to reinforce or replace poles that no longer met its standards for strength. In 2014, the company has begun its second eight-year inspection cycle and plans to examine more than 130,000 distribution poles.
  • Inspected all of FPL’s more than 65,000 transmission poles and structures. FPL performed a visual inspection of its entire inventory of transmission system structures. In 2014, the company again will examine 100 percent of its transmission structures.
  • Cleared vegetation from 15,800 miles of power lines. FPL continued its year-round program to proactively clear tree limbs, palm fronds and other vegetation from its distribution lines. Vegetation growing near power lines is a common cause of outages, and the company has a year-round program to proactively clear its lines. In 2014, FPL plans to clear an additional 15,000 miles of power lines to enhance service reliability.

FPL expects 2014 to be its most ambitious year on record in strengthening its electric system to better withstand major storms.

The company is investing more than $170 million in major upgrades to nearly 100 main power lines and other infrastructure to help communities recover more quickly after major storms and improve everyday reliability for its customers.

The effort is part of FPL’s three-year (2013-2015) plan to invest more than $428 million in system upgrades to better withstand severe weather.

Since 2006, FPL has invested more than $1.4 billion as part of its efforts to improve electric service reliability.


Mitsubishi International, GS Yuasa International Join MESA-1 Energy Storage Project

Mitsubishi International

Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD) announced recently that Mitsubishi International Corp. will provide the first battery deployed in the MESA-1 energy storage project.

The 1-MW, 500-kWh advanced battery storage system will be installed at Snohomish PUD’s Hardeson substation in Everett, Wash., later this year. The MESA-1 installation will be the first energy storage system built on the Modular Energy Storage Architecture (MESA), an innovative approach to energy storage based on open, nonproprietary industry standards.

Mitsubishi International Corp. has delivered the advanced technology lithium-ion battery modules to Parker Hannifin Corp.’s Energy Grid Tie division, which will supply the power inverter and system housing. The battery modules contain battery cells manufactured by Lithium Energy Japan, a joint venture between GS Yuasa International Ltd. and Mitsubishi Corp. 1Energy Systems LLC in Seattle will supply advanced MESA-compliant system control software and integrate the complete energy storage system.

The lithium-ion battery equipment will be installed into a 40-foot ISO shipping container. This modular system design allows for multiple containers to be combined into larger systems so customers can size energy storage systems for their specific needs without incurring the additional engineering costs of custom-designed systems.

“We are pleased to partner with Mitsubishi International Corporation and GS Yuasa International Ltd., a global leader in lithium-ion battery systems, to demonstrate GS Yuasa’s batteries using the scalable MESA technology,” said Steve Klein, Snohomish PUD general manager. “This project and the efforts by Mitsubishi International Corporation and GS Yuasa International Ltd. will help address the needs of utilities and set a worldwide standard for modular energy storage.”

Snohomish County PUD is the second-largest publicly owned utility in Washington. The utility serves more than 325,000 electric customers and 20,000 water customers. The service territory covers more than 2,200 square miles, including all of Snohomish County and Camano Island.

DNV GL iPad App Enables Easier Energy Efficiency for Small Businesses

DNV GL

DNV GL has launched a new iPad app that will make it easier for small businesses to participate in utility energy efficiency programs.

The Direct Install (DI) app reduces the time required for contractors to prepare and present a business-specific energy efficiency proposal. This streamlined process puts the customer on a fast-track to saving energy and cutting costs. For small businesses, these savings can provide a substantial boost to the bottom line.

A prototype is available from Apple’s iTunes store.

With the iPad app, an approved DI contractor can perform a facility energy assessment, prepare recommendations for efficiency improvements and produce a proposal for the customer’s decision in one visit. In contrast to the current Web-based portal, the app does not require an Internet connection to generate the proposal. The app also captures the customer signature on-site, so the approved project can be scheduled for installation.

“This will streamline the sales process by allowing real-time quote adjustments in the field,” said Todd Meyer, president of Energy Wise America and an experienced DI contractor. “The coordination and travel required to return to a customer is costly, which makes this remote access a perfect next step in coordination between program and field contractors.”

Contractors can use the iPad app to collect information about a facility’s lighting, refrigeration and HVAC equipment and to identify energy efficiency improvements. The system calculates the project cost and identifies utility rebates that reduce the upfront investment for eligible customers. All data is encrypted and transferred securely.

DNV GL will customize the DI app to reflect utility-specific program details and branding.

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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 Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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