Monthly transmission Project Review, August 2014

by Aaron Moline, TransmissionHub


Only one transmission project was placed into service in August, according to TransmissionHub data.

Minnkota Power Cooperative Inc. energized its Center to Grand Forks project in North Dakota. The project involved a new 345-kV, 250-mile transmission line that was built to replace an HVDC line that was sold to Minnesota Power. The project’s final cost was some $353 million.

There were some significant changes in August to projects under construction and planned.

Nalcor Energy announced it had selected Valard Construction to install its planned Labrador Island Link project. The project involves a new HVDC 350-kV line to link the proposed Muskrat Falls hydro station in Labrador to Soldier Pond, Newfoundland. The project is estimated to cost nearly CA$2.1 billion ($1.87 billion) with an in-service date of summer 2017.

Clean Line Energy Partners was given approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to sell transmission capacity to potential customers from its Plains and Eastern Clean Line Project. The project involves a new 700-mile, 600-kV DC line between the Oklahoma and Texas border. The project is expected to cost nearly $2 billion with an in-service date of 2018.

PacifiCorp was given authorization from the Bureau of Land Management to construct its Cameron to Milford project on public lands. The project involves a new 15.3-mile, 138-kV transmission line with a cost of $22.8 million. The line is expected to be completed by late 2015. PacifiCorp is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

American Transmission Co. received approval form the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for its Colley Road to Brick Church Rebuild project. The project involves rebuilding some 2.2 miles of an existing transmission line. The project will cost $38.5 million with an in-service date of spring 2018.

Seven new projects were announced in August.

Dominion Virginia Power, a subsidiary of Dominion Resources, announced three new projects. The first is the Gainesville to Haymarket Project in Virginia. The project involves a new 6-mile, 230-kV transmission line between the Gainesville and Haymarket substations. The project is estimated to cost $15 million with an in-service date of spring 2013.

The second is the Cunningham-Elmont 500-kV Rebuild project. This project involves rebuilding the existing Cunningham-Elmont line in Virginia. The project is expected to cost $106.1 million with an in-service date of summer 2018.

The third project Dominion Virginia Power announced is the Brambleton to Mosby 500-kV transmission line. The project involves a new 5.2-mile, 500-kV line that will provide continued reliability in the Loudoun County, Virginia, region. The project is estimated to cost $27.3 million with an in-service date of summer 2018.

Basin Electric Power Cooperative Inc. announced its Antelope Hills Transmission Line Project in North Dakota. The project involves a new 9.5-mile, 345-kV transmission line that will serve as the interconnect for the new Antelope Hills wind farm. The project is estimated to cost $30 million with an in-service date of late 2015.

Nebraska Public Power District is proposing a new Muddy Creek to Ord project in Nebraska. The new 42-mile line will be rated at 230-kV. The project will increase reliability in the Valley County, Nebraska, region. The $34 million project is expected to be completed by summer 2018.

Great River Energy announced the Prairie to Ramsey Rebuild project in North Dakota. The project involves rebuilding some 80 miles of existing 230-kV transmission line to ensure continued reliability. The estimated $27.3 million project is expected to have an in-service date of summer 2018.

Tennessee Valley Authority is proposing a new Red Hills to Leake project. The project involves a new 55-mile, 161-kV transmission line between the company’s Red Hills and Leake substations. The project is estimated to cost $55 million with an in-service date of summer 2019.

Salt River Project Surpasses Energy Efficiency Goals


Salt River Project (SRP) exceeded its annual goal of helping residential and commercial customers save energy and money through the utility’s energy efficiency programs and initiatives, according to the utility.

SRP’s 2013 energy efficiency programs for residential and commercial customers provided annual energy savings equal to 2.3 percent of SRP’s retail energy sales—a savings of 640 million kWh, the equivalent to powering some 35,000 homes for one year.

The largest savings came from the Retail Lighting Program, which offered customers discounted prices on LED and CFL lightbulbs from retailers such as Home Depot, Walmart and Sam’s Club. SRP works with retailers and manufacturers to offer reduced prices, which drove annual customer purchases to nearly 2.7 million bulbs.

“The SRP energy efficiency programs have experienced tremendous customer participation,” said Dan Dreiling, director of market research and customer programs at SRP. “Not only do our customers expect us to provide ways to save, but they are also pleased with the programs we offer and continue to support them.”

Strong participation in the Energy-Efficient Pool Pump Program, Appliance Recycling and Energy Star Homes also helped exceed program goals, he said.

Residential customers also increased their comfort and savings by taking advantage of comprehensive home assessments and rebates for services and products such as home duct repair and window shade screens, as well as energy-efficient air conditioners and heat pumps.

Residential customers Steve and Lori Bold of Phoenix took advantage of SRP’s energy efficiency rebate programs when they sealed their attic and duct systems, replaced their two aging heat pumps with high-efficiency units, added new insulation and installed shade screens on the windows.

“As a result of the improvements, we reduced monthly energy use by more than 22 percent,” Steven Bold said. “The online advice and rebates offered by SRP helped to move the projects along and kept our costs down significantly.”

SRP takes an overarching approach to managing its resources in a way that balances reliability, affordability and environmental stewardship.

This balance helps ensure the long-term performance of the grid while managing customers’ costs, Dreiling said.

“In a dynamic era of changing resource and emissions requirements, these programs will play a pivotal role in cost-effectively meeting customers’ needs while also helping to optimize resources and protect the environment,” he said.

Most commercial energy savings were derived from enhanced lighting rebates through SRP’s Standard Business Solutions; large commercial and industry energy-efficiency projects through SRP’s Custom Business Solutions; and lighting retrofit projects under SRP’s Small Business Solutions program.

Fry’s Food Stores participated in the SRP Business Solutions rebate programs to implement 50 projects in 30 metropolitan Phoenix stores. So far, Fry’s has realized about 1.2 million kWh per year in energy savings.

“SRP rebate programs help Fry’s continue to reduce our carbon footprint, which is good for the environment, as well as our bottom line,” said Ben Tan, energy manager of Fry’s facilities engineering.

The SRP board set a goal to meet 20 percent of SRP’s retail electricity requirements through sustainable resources by 2020.

SRP is ahead of schedule, providing some 12.8 percent of retail energy needs with sustainable resources and energy efficiency programs.

SRP is the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving some 990,000 customers.

BuildingIQ Selected for Green Proving Ground Program to Drive energy savings in government buildings

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently selected energy management software company BuildingIQ for the administration’s Green Proving Ground program, according to the company.

Spurred by Executive Order 13514, the Green Proving Ground program aims to help government buildings move one step closer to net-zero energy classification and meet targeted sustainability goals. BuildingIQ was selected for its Predictive Energy Optimization software, which reduces commercial HVAC costs as much as 25 percent.

GSA will implement BuildingIQ’s Software-as-a-Service solution through the Green Proving Ground program at its Jacksonville, Florida, and Dayton, Ohio, host sites to evaluate the technology in a real-world context. For each building, the software automatically will create a customized thermal model that can predict energy consumption, cost and comfort based on building characteristics, weather forecasts, energy pricing, tariffs and demand response signals. The intelligent software will minimize peak and ongoing energy consumption in these buildings by making real-time adjustments to building controls.

Saving results from the energy management platform will be documented and published in project reports that outline the software’s performance during the tenure of the program. The GSA is working closely with the Department of Energy’s Commercial Buildings Integration program to use these results to increase market uptake of technologies that have a high impact through the Green Proving Ground program.

New Air Conditioner Standards Would be Biggest Energy Saver in DOE History

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently proposed efficiency standards that would slash commercial rooftop air conditioner energy use some 30 percent.

The proposals would achieve the largest national energy savings of any DOE standard.

“DOE’s new standards are a breath of cool air for businesses since air conditioners account for about 10 percent of a typical commercial building’s electricity cost,” said Steve Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Commercial cooling contributes a considerable amount to the electricity load in many parts of California, said Vincent Davis, senior director of energy efficiency at Pacific Gas and Electric Co (PG&E).

“Working through our efficiency programs, PG&E and the other California utilities have encouraged installation of high-efficiency commercial cooling systems,” Davis said. “These proposed new national standards will help further drive energy savings for customers.”

The DOE estimates that over the lifetime of units sold over 30 years, the proposed standards would save businesses between $16 billion and $50 billion and reduce electricity consumption some 1.3 trillion kWh—enough energy to cool all the commercial buildings in the U.S. for seven years.

The new standards would net a typical building owner between $3,500 and $16,500 over the life of a single commercial rooftop air conditioner.

Overall savings often will be higher because most buildings have multiple units; big-box stores can have more than 20.

Rooftop air conditioners are used commonly in low-rise buildings such as schools, restaurants, big-box stores and small office buildings.

They cool about half of the total commercial floor space in the U.S.

Most of the other half is cooled by chilled water systems, residential-type central air conditioners or individual air conditioners mounted in windows or external walls.

The current efficiency standards for rooftop air conditioners measure efficiency at full capacity despite that air conditioners rarely operate at that level except during the hottest days.

The proposed standards instead are based on a metric called integrated energy efficiency ratio (IEER), which captures efficiency at 25, 50, 75 and 100 percent of full capacity and better reflects real-world performance.

Typical new rooftop air conditioners that just meet the commercial building energy code have efficiency levels of about 9.5 to 11.5.

The DOE’s High Performance Rooftop Unit Challenge, however, has helped spur several manufacturers to develop and bring to market high-efficiency rooftop air conditioners.

Equipment on the market today achieves IEER levels as high as 21. The proposed standards would set minimum efficiency levels of 12.3 to 14.8, depending on equipment type and capacity.

In 2013, President Barack Obama established a goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 3 billion metric tons by 2030 through efficiency standards.

The DOE is about 70 percent of the way toward the president’s goal.

The DOE is scheduled to publish a final rule for rooftop air conditioners by the end of 2015.

NYISO Issues 2014 Reliability Needs Assessment


New York’s bulk power system is reliable but continues to be pressed by factors that include generator retirements and demand growth, according to the New York Independent System Operator’s (NYISO’s) “2014 Reliability Needs Assessment” (RNA). Changes in supply and demand will require investments in resources and infrastructure to maintain reliability over the next decade.

“Our comprehensive, multiphased planning process is a vital component of our most important responsibility: maintaining the reliability of New York’s electric system,” said Stephen G. Whitley, president and CEO of the NYISO. “Electric system planning is an ongoing process of evaluating, monitoring and updating as conditions change.

“The RNA is an important resource for investors, system planners, regulators and policymakers alike. This report provides an objective and thorough assessment of the reliability needs of the state’s electric grid over the next 10 years so that the market can respond with potential solutions.”

This first step in the NYISO’s comprehensive system planning process reviews the reliability of the New York bulk power system from 2015-2024. The 2014 RNA identifies transmission security violations beginning in 2015, which will require either remedial actions by New York transmission owners or other solutions offered in response to the RNA. It also identifies resource adequacy violations, which begin in 2019 and increase through 2024 if new resources are not added to the bulk power system.


The RNA finds that the ability of New York’s high-voltage electric system to transport power in certain regions of the state will be affected by the combination of recent and proposed retirements or mothballing of generators, as well as growing demand for electricity.

Potential transmission security violations that could affect reliability were identified in the following four regions: Rochester; Western and Central New York; the Capital Region; and the Lower Hudson Valley-New York City region.

Transmission security is the ability of the power system to withstand disturbances such as the unanticipated loss of power system components without the need for interruption of power delivery to the utility service areas.


The supply, availability and deliverability of sufficient power resources to meet the demands of consumers also affect system reliability. The 2014 RNA indicates that unless certain measures are taken, the system will violate resource adequacy criteria beginning in 2019 because of inadequate resource capacity in southeastern New York.

Resource adequacy, the ability of the electric system to reliably meet electrical demand based on the expected availability of sufficient resources during periods of peak power use, is a measure of system reliability.

Although resource adequacy violations in southeastern New York also were identified in the 2012 RNA, the 2014 RNA projects a need for additional resources in 2019, one year sooner than the need identified in the 2012 report. The major driver of this change is a more than 2,000-MW decrease in the total capacity margin (total capacity less peak load forecast) for the New York Control Area in 2019.

By identifying future reliability needs every two years through its planning process, the NYISO sets the stage for market forces to respond. In addition, the NYISO expects its markets and recent market rule changes to encourage market participants to take actions that will help meet resource adequacy needs in Southeastern New York.

For example, capacity owners and developers are responding to investment signals that have resulted from the creation of a new capacity zone in the Lower Hudson Valley by taking steps to return generating units to service, restore units to their full capability or build new facilities. If some or all of these units return to service or are developed, the need for additional resources may be postponed beyond 2019.

The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) also is examining transmission development proposals to relieve the transmission constraints between upstate and the Lower Hudson Valley-New York City region. New transmission development combined with other measures, such as demand response to reduce peak customer demand, energy efficiency and combined heat and power projects, also could postpone the reliability need year beyond 2019.

The utilities that serve regions where transmission security needs have been identified—National Grid, Rochester Gas & Electric, New York State Electric & Gas, Orange & Rockland, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Con Edison and the Long Island Power Authority—must provide local transmission plans or regulated solutions to address these needs.

Possible Scenarios

To further inform market participants and policymakers, the 2014 RNA also analyzes several possible scenarios that could benefit or pose additional reliability risks. This analysis includes scenarios such as unexpected generation retirements (Indian Point Energy Center, in particular), fuel availability and other factors that could limit energy production or affect the load forecast.

Next Steps

The 2014 RNA was developed through the NYISO’s stakeholder process, which provides input from regulators and market participants who supply, use, transmit and trade energy in New York’s competitive wholesale electricity markets.

Based on the finding of reliability needs in the 2014 RNA, the next step in the NYISO’s comprehensive system planning process will be to request market-based and regulated solutions. After an analysis and evaluation of the solutions received, the NYISO will develop and issue a Comprehensive Reliability Plan (CRP) that will determine how the reliability needs identified in the RNA are resolved by the solutions.

While preparing the CRP, the NYISO will consider the recently announced resource additions and exits from the market and will monitor and evaluate the progress of new market-based projects’ interconnecting to the system. The NYISO also will monitor the development and installation of local transmission facilities, the status of existing and mothballed generation units and the continued implementation of the state’s energy efficiency programs. Participation in demand response programs and the impact of new and proposed environmental regulations on the existing generation fleet will factor into the CRP, as well.

A copy of the 2014 RNA is available on the NYISO website,

EYE ON the world

French utility eRDF selects Avantha Group Co. CG among Linky smart meter suppliers


Electricitàƒ© Ràƒ©seau Distribution France (eRDF), the public electricity distribution company that manages 95 percent of the distribution network in continental France, has selected Avantha Group Co. CG as one of six suppliers to manufacture the first 3 million of its new generation Linky smart meters.

“The awarding of these contracts is a major step for eRDF and kicks off the industrial stage of the Linky program,” said Bernard Lassus, director of the eRDF Linky program. “Its success is based on eRDF’s partnership with all the concerned industry players. With these smart meters, eRDF is part of the digital revolution and supports the deployment of smart grids in France.”

The contract is significant for CG, a company that has developed smart grid solutions under the ZIV brand. The ZIV smart meters and CG data concentrator units are gaining a strategic position in the European smart grid market. Large-scale deployments are planned in the U.K., Spain, the Netherlands and France. CG will face new challenges with agility, implementing a new supply chain in France to manufacture ZIV smart meters and associated products.

The initial order is the first phase of a 35 million-unit rollout by 2021. The Linky program, according to eRDF, is a major industrial program that will create 10,000 jobs in France. By modernizing the distribution grid, the program will help consumers understand their electricity bills, reduce consumption and preserve the environment through more efficient grid management.

USTDA, Cisco Systems, Honeywellhelp modernize Vietnam power grids

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U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) Director Leocadia I. Zak on Sept. 18 signed two grants with the agency’s partners in Vietnam to support efforts to modernize the country’s power infrastructure.

These activities build upon USTDA’s history of connecting its Vietnamese partners to U.S. industry experts who can help them upgrade transit systems and expand access to power.

The USTDA provided a grant to the Management Authority for Urban Railways to establish an integrated telecommunications control center for the metro rail system under development in Ho Chi Minh City. Cisco Systems Inc. has been engaged to conduct a feasibility study and develop a plan for the acquisition and implementation of information and communications technologies for the control center for Ho Chi Minh City’s metro rail system.

In line with the Transport Plan for Ho Chi Minh City 2020, this activity will help Ho Chi Minh City’s government design, construct, implement and operate eight metro lines, along with tramways and monorail systems. These efforts will help Vietnam’s largest city with more than 7.3 million residents meet the demands of its rapid urbanization.

The USTDA also finalized an agreement with the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam for an automated demand response (ADR) feasibility study and pilot project. Honeywell, a supplier of smart grid technologies and services, will carry out the project in an effort to demonstrate how Vietnam’s regional power corporations can provide more affordable, reliable electricity distribution.

The integration of ADR solutions into Vietnam’s grid would enable utility providers to decrease peak demand by working with customers to reduce or shift electricity consumption. If fully implemented across the five regional power corporations, wide-scale adoption of these technologies could save 300 MW in the national grid in Vietnam, where electricity generation capacity is expected to more than double by 2025.

Swiss utility ewz to install Breakthrough switchgear technology with SF6 alternative


Power and automation technology group ABB has developed a switchgear solution that deploys a new insulation gas mixture as a substitute for sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). The new technology will be deployed for the first time at a substation in Oerlikon, Zàƒ¼rich, as a pilot installation for Swiss utility ewz. In addition to the 170-kV high-voltage gas-insulated switchgear (GIS), ABB will install medium-voltage GIS with the new gas mixture.

The alternate gas mixture has similar insulation properties as SF6 gas used in switchgear but can lower environmental impact substantially because of its low global warming potential. ABB’s GIS with the new gas mixture has the potential to lower carbon dioxide equivalent emissions up to 50 percent through the life cycle of the equipment, compared with its predecessor with the same rating.

For decades, SF6 gas has been used extensively in the electrical industry for dielectric insulation and current interruption because of its physical properties. Pressurized SF6 gas aids the safe and reliable operation of gas-insulated switchgear because it has a much higher dielectric strength than other insulation media, making it possible to reduce the size of switchgear installations significantly and enable installation in areas where space is at a premium. SF6, however, is a known greenhouse gas, and its life cycle management requires careful handling for utility and industrial users. The cost of managing it in a compliant manner also can be substantial, particularly when decommissioning aging substations.

In a power system, switchgear is used to control, protect and isolate electrical equipment to boost the reliability of the electrical supply. With GIS technology, key components, including contacts and conductors, are protected with insulating gas. Compactness, reliability and robustness make it a preferred solution in urban areas and other places where space is a constraint or in harsh environmental conditions.

ABB pioneered high-voltage GIS in the mid-1960s and continues to drive its technology and innovation. The new gas mixture will enable further reduction in carbon emissions without compromising efficiency and reliability.

‘Cheesegrater’ lights up London skyline using Winder Power transformers


September marked the opening of The Leadenhall Building, a 47-floor skyscraper with 610,000 square feet of floor space. Yorkshire, England,-based Winder Power was contracted in 2012 to be the exclusive transformer manufacturer and installer to power the building referred to as the “Cheesegrater.” More than two years later, two 10-MVA transformers provide a substantial electricity supply to the building.

Winder Power commenced work on the project in April 2012 and finished the job in October that year. Because of the size and location of the transformers, the project encountered challenges. The units were to be housed in the basement of The Leadenhall Building. To secure safe passage and placement, Winder Power was required to manufacture specialized lifting equipment to lower the transformers through restricted access from ground level into two housings in the lower basement.

It took several weeks to manufacture the lifting equipment, which allowed engineers to lower the transformers, one by one. Shock recorders were fitted to each transformer to ensure any impact or potential damage to the transformers during transport and installation was monitored and avoided.

The transformers supply electricity to Leadenhall’s 47 floors, 26 lifts and office space, which equates to the electricity supply to several thousand homes.

“As a company, it has been hugely rewarding to be a part of the team that delivered this landmark project, now so prominent on London’s skyline,” said Laurence MacKenzie, group managing director of Winder Power.

A team of Winder Power engineers led by Executive Director Andy Pinkney were on-site for 1,500 man hours to ensure completion, MacKenzie said.

“Only one other building in the U.K. has required this type of transformer installation, so the project has been quite novel and one we are very proud of.”

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