DistribuTECH Powers Up with Launch of TransTECH

As its name implies, the DistribuTECH conference and exhibition has had the power industry’s distribution side as its main focus for most of its 18-year existence. DistribuTECH actually had its origins in what was called the DA/DSM Conference, which stood for Distribution Automation/Demand Side Management. That conference had its first meeting in 1990. In the mid-1990s, the “DistribuTECH” name made its first appearance.

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When DistribuTECH 2008 comes to Tampa, Fla., it will mark the beginning of a new era for the annual conference and exhibition. January 22-24, 2008, will mark the first meeting of TransTECH, a companion conference to DistribuTECH that will focus on technology, equipment, challenges and solutions found on the transmission side of the electric power business.

Attendees can move freely between conference sessions for DistribuTECH and TransTECH, and a combined exhibit hall will feature more than 250 companies offering solutions for both the “T” and the “D” parts of T&D. More than 4,600 were on hand for DistribuTECH 2007 in San Diego. With the addition of TransTECH and a focus that spans the power industry from the customer meter all the way up through the high-voltage system, conference organizers expect that number to be eclipsed at the show in Tampa.

TransTECH Conference Highlights

The TransTECH conference consists of seven informative paper and panel sessions covering such topics as interconnection of renewable energy sources into the transmission grid, FACTS and power electronics, wide area measurement systems, case studies of large transmission projects, and technologies for transmission infrastructure siting.

Besides the seven sessions specific to TransTECH, many of the sessions from the main DistribuTECH conference tracks will also be of interest to those involved in electric power transmission. Of particular interest are sessions in the SCADA, T&D Reliability and Substation Automation tracks. Details on all TransTECH and DistribuTECH conference sessions can be found online at www.distributech.com or www.transtech-conference.com.

To follow are descriptions of the conference sessions offered in the TransTECH portion of DistribuTECH/TransTECH 2008:

Real World Case Studies of Transmission/Wind Power Challenges

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 1:00 p.m.

Wind power is becoming widely deployed and will be growing at a rapid rate over the next decade. But the unique characteristics of wind power generation have created challenges for transmission planning and operations. These challenges are caused by wind power geographic requirements and unique generation characteristics. Panelists in this session, including representatives from American Electric Power and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, will discuss the various challenges wind power integration poses to transmission-owning entities, as well as some solutions to those challenges.

WAMS and PMUs: What do they Mean to the Reliable Operation of the Grid

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 3:00 p.m.

This technical paper session will provide insights into how wide-area measurement systems (WAMS) and synchrophasors are being incorporated into the day-to-day operation of the transmission grid at major utilities like Entergy. After the August 2003 blackout in the Northeast, Entergy aggressively implemented WAMS across four states on its high- and medium-voltage transmission grid. A senior project manager from Entergy will be among the presenters in this session.

Renewables, Transmission & Distribution Do Mix: Innovative Solutions to Integration

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 3:00 p.m.

Wind power and other renewable energy sources will be called upon to contribute significantly to the utility generation mix over the next two decades. The next challenge is connecting these resources to the grid. Presenters in this session will offer a number of solutions to getting renewables on both the transmission and local distribution networks. The Utility Wind Integration Group will provide an overview of current efforts to expand transmission infrastructure to accommodate integration of wind power, and representatives from Horizon Energy Group and Puget Sound Energy will talk about how a “smart grid” enables utilities to achieve renewable portfolio standard requirements. A senior consultant with Power System Engineering will also discuss the use of utilty-scale wind turbines on distribution systems.

The high-voltage system will command its own space, and its own packed rooms, as TransTECH is unveiled as part of DistribuTECH in Tampa, Fla.
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FACTS and Power Electronics: Innovative Solution To Complex Challenges

Wednesday, Jan. 23, 9:30 a.m.

As utilities initiate major transmission expansion and refurbishment projects, flexible AC transmission system (FACTS) technology and other power electronics are becoming a more viable solution. AEP’s director of transmission asset engineering will moderate this session, which will provide an update on these technologies as well as several recently completed projects and uses of power electronics. Representatives from Southern California Edison will talk about how they are using FACTS to stabilizie the 220-kV system in the San Joaquin Valley, and Hydro Quebec will discuss a truly innovative use of FACTS technology in their transmission system.

Transmission Siting Tools and Methodologies

Wednesday, Jan. 23, 9:30 a.m.

Xcel Energy’s director of transmission portfolio delivery integration will moderate this session which presents an overall methodology for transmission siting as well as specific geographic information system (GIS) techniques for transmission line and high-voltage substation siting. Paper titles in this session include: “Improving Efficiency and Accuracy by Using GIS for Alternative Transmission Line Route Analysis”; “Utilizing GIS in Transmission Corridor Selection, Management and Maintenance”; and “Siting New Transmission Lines: Automated EPRI Methodology.”

Real-time Transmission Line Monitoring and Optimization

Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2:30 p.m.

This session addresses the challenges and operating constraints faced by utilities in optimizing power delivery. Also discussed will be the benefits achieved through real-time monitoring of transmission line conditions. Papers titles in this session include: “Centralized Remedial Action Scheme (C-RAS) Using Emerging Telecommunication, Protection Technologies, and OSIsoft PI”; “Improving Situational Awareness by Real Time Visualization of Power Systems”; and “Non-Contact/Invasive Sensor System for Real-time Transmission Line Monitoring & Optimization.”

It’s Not Always Easy: Lessons Learned from the Implementation of Large Transmission Projects

Thursday, January 24, 9:30 a.m.

The downward trend in transmission investment is being reversed, and new infrastructure is being built. This panel session provides an overview of four large and complex transmission projects, problems encountered, problems solved, and what you can learn from the experiences. The projects discussed in this panel session include AEP’s Wyoming-Jackson Ferry 765-kV project, Xcel Energy’s 825-MW wind project, Northeast Utilities’ Bethel-Norwalk transmission line and National Grid’s Ward Hill 345-kV substation expansion project. Representatives from those four utilities will be on hand to discuss their experiences and answer attendee questions.
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More to See and Do at TransTECH

Besides the conference sessions listed above (not to mention the more than 30 other sessions running in the main DistribuTECH conference program), a breakfast roundtable focusing specifically on transmission system issues will be hosted on Wednesday morning, Jan. 23, from 7:30 to 9:00. The breakfast roundtable will be moderated by two TransTECH advisory committee members and will focus on many of the topics from the conference program. Attendees at this breakfast roundtable can discuss the challenges of integrating wind and other renewables into the transmission system, transmission siting issues, FACTS and power electronics, as well as the lessons learned during major transmission infrastructure projects. Breakfast roundtable attendance costs $35 and includes a buffet breakfast, networking with your industry peers, and lots of engaging discussion. DistribuTECH saw more than 150 attendees at its breakfast roundtables when the conference was conducted in San Diego this past January. More information about this special transmission roundtable, as well as all the other breakfast roundtables, is available at the DistribuTECH website.

More than 250 providers of T&D technology will be on-hand in the combined DistribuTECH/TransTECH exhibit hall, Jan. 22-24, in Tampa, Fla.
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In the combined DistribuTECH/TransTECH exhibit hall, some of the biggest names in transmission equipment and technology will be showing off their wares, including ABB, American Superconductor, Areva T&D, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, and Siemens Power T&D. A complete list of the more than 250 exhibiting companies can be found at www.distributech.com or www.transtech-conference.com

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