EPRI Accord Will Expand Use of Line Inspection Software

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) announced an agreement with an engineering systems integrator to license EPRI’s Transmission Inspection and Maintenance System (TIMs), a software package used by utilities to improve power line inspection and collection of maintenance data. The agreement with 3-GIS of Decatur, Ala., authorizes the firm to enhance and extend the enterprise capabilities of TIMs.

The EPRI-developed TIMs consists of two key components: field inspection computers that transmission line inspectors use to capture conditions on lines and record maintenance activities, and a data server that exchanges data with the field inspection computers, reporting on the current condition of the transmission system.

TIMs uses a screen that projects a profile of each line’s structure and its related components. An inspector selects specific components from the display to identify deficiencies that require maintenance, repair, replacement or further monitoring.

EPRI is working with 3-GIS and current users of TIMs to update the software platform and expand its applications. The next version of the software, TIMs, 5.0, is expected to be available by late this year. As part of the commercializing agreement, 3-GIS will extend the marketing of the newest version of TIMs to telecommunications providers and mobile radio transmission operators.

FPL Selects Silver Spring Networks to Implement AMI

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) and Silver Spring Networks have signed an agreement to deploy an advanced, two-way IP-based networking communication infrastructure in support of FPL’s implementation of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and the power company’s “smart grid” vision. When completed, the 100,000 electric meter project is expected to be one of the largest IP-based AMI networks in the country.

Silver Spring Networks will provide FPL with a variety of advanced networking products and support services designed to provide full two-way wireless network communications to the customer’s meter. The implementation will be in two phases and will include both residential and small commercial customers.

“This technology should provide a flexible and scalable solution to meet FPL’s current operational requirements for AMI and establish a foundation for enhancing how we can interact with our customers about their energy usage information,” said Marlene Santos, FPL vice president of customer services. “An IP-based network should enable us to add new products and services as they become available and deliver value to our customers over the long term.”

Eye on Europe:

Siemens to take part in EU study: As a leading manufacturer of gas-insulated lines (GIL), Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution (PTD) is taking part in a study initiated by the EU Commission. The object of this study is to investigate the feasibility of creating a reliable link from offshore wind parks to the European grid via gas-insulated, high-voltage transmission lines. The countries bordering the North Sea, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom are included in the study. The idea is to make more effective use of wind power with the aid of a joint high-voltage network between European cities such as Hamburg, Rotterdam and London and offshore wind parks. The study will examine how far it is possible to solve the problem of irregular power generation by wind force without complicated and expensive storage technology. The study has a total budget of 2.1 million euros. The project will be subsidized for a period of three years with a 50 percent grant from the EU Commission to study the field of trans-European networks.

AREVA to build UK’s second offshore high-voltage substation: AREVA’s Transmission and Distribution (T&D) Division has won a contract for 21 million euros to design, supply, install and commission the onshore and offshore substations for the Robin Rigg East and Robin Rigg West wind farms. The contract was placed by E.ON UK, a major utility in the United Kingdom. The project is due to start full commercial operation early in 2009, and will contribute to the UK Government’s target of delivering 15 percent of all electricity supplied in England and Wales from renewable energy sources by 2015. It will require the construction of an onshore substation at Seaton in the North of England, to connect the two wind farms to the 132 kV distribution network. In addition, two high-voltage offshore substations will be installed on monopiles in the Solway Firth, the estuary that separates Scotland from England approximately 12 km from the English coast.

North Carolina Plans for Regional Transmission

Participants in the North Carolina Transmission Planning Collaborative (NCTPC) have achieved a major milestone with the publication of their first single Collaborative Transmission Plan for North Carolina. Participants include Duke Energy Carolinas, Progress Energy Carolinas, North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation and ElectriCities of North Carolina.

The regional scope of the planning study includes a base reliability analysis as well as analysis of potential resource supply options. The purpose of the base reliability analysis is to evaluate the transmission system’s ability to meet load growth projected for years 2011 through 2016. The purpose of the resource supply analysis is to evaluate transmission system impacts for various resource supply options to meet future native load requirements. The 2006 NCTPC study identified 16 major transmission projects totaling more than $400 million in capital investment, which are included in the 2006 Collaborative Transmission Plan released on January 25, 2007. Major projects are defined as those requiring investments in excess of $10 million.

The major transmission projects identified in the 2006 Collaborative Transmission Plan are expected to be implemented over the 10 year planning horizon by the transmission owners to preserve system reliability and improve economic transfers.

“The NCTPC is an excellent example of how the regional planning obligation can be coordinated with existing state planning processes,” said Jim Kerr, commissioner on the North Carolina Utilities Commission and president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).

Siemens to construct new long-distance HVDC transmission link in India

  • Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution (PTD) and consortium partner Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) have been awarded an order by the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd, New Delhi, to construct a 780 kilometer (485 mile) high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) transmission route between the provinces of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
  • The purpose of the new HVDC transmission system is to strengthen the power supply to the growing region around the mega-city of New Delhi without the need to build additional power plants. The order has a total value of approximately 235 million euros financed by World Bank, with Siemens’ share amounting to about 170 million euros. Final commissioning is scheduled for November 2009.
  • The planned project is the fourth long-distance HVDC transmission link in India and will have the highest power rating of all. In the future, the bipolar 500-kV direct-current transmission system with a power rating of 2500 MW will transport electrical energy with low loss from Ballia in the east of Uttar Pradesh province to Bhiwadi, 780 km (485 miles) away in the province of Rajasthan near New Delhi.

The new long-distance HVDC transmission link is the second system that Siemens is building in India. The first high-voltage direct-current transmission route was the “East-South” long-distance link, which still currently ranks as the second longest HVDC transmission link in the world. according to Siemens-from the Talcher power plant complex in the state of Orissa in the east of India over 1450 km to the industrial region around Bangalore in the south.

Grand Bahama Power Invests in Lightning Prevention

Grand Bahama Power Company Limited (Freeport, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas) has contracted with Lightning Eliminators & Consultants, Inc. (Boulder, CO, USA) to provide lightning protection for its substations serving the island chain’s 55,000 residents.

Grand Bahama Power Company turned to LEC after lightning strikes caused repeat outages of the company’s transmission and distribution system, disrupting service to customers. To solve this problem, LEC designed a comprehensive system to prevent lightning at the company’s 23 acre site, which includes the power generating plant, associated switch yard, as well as surrounding transmission lines and substations.

“We believe that this new system will greatly diminish service interruptions to our customers. At Grand Bahama Power Company, we are committed to providing reliable and efficient power and excellent service to our customers,” said Mr. Tim Borkowski, President and CEO.

Direct Energy Hits the Lone Star State

One of the largest retail energy marketers in North America, Direct Energy, has relocated to Houston, Texas from Stamford, Connecticut. The announcement comes on the heels of the recent appointment of Phil Tonge to president of U.S. Operations, with the responsibility for leading Direct Energy’s retail activities throughout the United States. Texas Governor Rick Perry said the Direct Energy actions are a logical result of a good business environment. “The relocation of Direct Energy’s U.S. headquarters to Houston demonstrates a major benefit of electric competition in Texas-that is, the investment retail electric providers are willing to make in Texas,” Perry said. “I am proud that Direct Energy recognizes Texas as a great place to do business.”

Toronto Hydro-Electric Puts New OMS to Test

Toronto Hydro-Electric System installed their outage management system just in time. The utility, which delivers electricity to 678,000 customers and distributes approximately 18 percent of the electricity in Ontario, used its recently acquired Oracle Utilities Network Management System (formerly SPL Outage & Distribution Management) to restore power after a severe ice storm caused power outages throughout the Toronto area in early March. Toronto Hydro-Electric System’s outage management and distribution management systems went live on Oracle in December 2006.

“The ice storm hit on a Friday, causing damage at almost 5,000 different locations throughout the city, but the [system] enabled us to restore power to all our customers before Monday morning,” said David Grant, outage management project manager for Toronto Hydro-Electric System.

A significant feature of the Oracle Utilities Network Management System developed for Toronto Hydro-Electric System is the capability to identify street intersections and other areas without geographic information system (GIS) data. The feature enables Toronto Hydro-Electric System to use the closest street intersection to record an outage when customer data is missing or incomplete, allowing quicker and more efficient crew dispatch.

Salt River Project Reaches Benchmark

Elster Electricity, LLC announces that the Salt River Project (SRP) Agricultural and Improvement Power District in Phoenix, Arizona is continuing to install approximately 10,000 REX meters per month as part of its EnergyAxis System expansion project. SRP expects to install all of the 100,000 meters purchased in June 2006 by May 2007, totaling 175,000 REX meters installed since the system was deployed. The on-going expansion includes an additional 20,000 REX meters with internal service control switches, bringing the total number of REX meters with remote connect/disconnect capability to 45,000.

With the EnergyAxis System, SRP is able to read all the REX meters in the system daily. Since deploying the EnergyAxis System, SRP has seen a savings of 85,000 miles in vehicle expenses and has remotely completed over 85,000 field orders. In the past 12 months alone, SRP has completed over 9,000 remote connects and disconnects. Every REX meter in the SRP system is programmed to collect time-of-use (TOU) data. This allows SRP to offer TOU rates to customers who normally would not have this option available because of access restrictions (locked gates, vicious dogs, etc.). For customers electing TOU rates, the switch to TOU billing can be made almost immediately and without the normal field visit.

“The savings we have seen from our automated daily reads and being able to remotely handle service calls from the office makes the system virtually pay for itself. Our operational expenses keep going lower as we expand the number of meters in the field,” remarked John Soethe, manager of revenue cycle services for SRP.

Overheard:

“While the wind industry generally applauds today’s action, additional transmission-related barriers remain that are limiting the development of clean, renewable energy. At a time when the public is clamoring for policies aimed at reducing our reliance on foreign sources of energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, there is still more to be done. ” -Rob Gramlich, AWEA Policy Director, on FERC’s final rule (Order 890) on Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) reform

NERC Applauds FERC Approval of Reliability Standards

NERC has worked for nearly a decade to achieve mandatory and enforceable reliability standards, and it is extremely gratifying to reach this major goal in the U.S.,” said NERC chairman Richard Drouin. “We look forward to working with the governmental authorities on both sides of the border to continue our efforts to improve the reliability of the bulk power system.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) lauded the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) approval of a substantial portion of the reliability standards proposed by NERC in 2006. The standards are designed to help ensure the reliability of the bulk power system. FERC’s action makes adherence to 83 reliability standards mandatory and enforceable in the United States. The standards will take effect and NERC will begin enforcing them this summer.

FERC also identified improvements to be made to the approved standards, as well as to a number of other standards still pending at FERC, and directed NERC to pursue those changes through NERC’s approved standards development process. NERC has included the actions needed for those improvements in its standards work plan and expects to file additional new or amended standards in the coming months.

“The bulk power industry has had reliability standards for decades, but they were voluntary in nature. Having mandatory, enforceable reliability standards is a huge step in improving the reliability of the bulk power system,” said NERC President and CEO Rick Sergel. “Also significant is the Commission’s direction to the industry to work through the NERC standards development process to address needed improvements in the standards, because that’s the place the industry’s technical expertise and the interests of all stakeholders can be considered together.”

GE Announces NYC Auction Winners

  • Four power marketing and trading companies have won an auction of the electric capacity for a project to be constructed adjacent to GE’s 900-megawatt Linden, NJ, cogeneration power plant.
  • Winning bidders for transmission rights were Cargill Power & Gas Markets, Conectiv Energy Supply, Inc. (Conectiv Energy), Consolidated Edison Energy, Inc., and a fourth company that requested its name not be disclosed. None of the winning bidders is affiliated with GE. Financial details were not disclosed.
  • The project will create an additional 300 megawatts of electricity transmission transfer capability from the Pennsylvania/Jersey/Maryland (PJM) Interconnection to the NYISO grid serving the New York metropolitan area.
  • Capacity was auctioned in twelve 25-megawatt blocks of transmission scheduling rights, which include all associated rights for withdrawing energy and generation capacity from PJM and its delivery into NYISO.
  • Transmission scheduling rights were offered in three-, five-, and seven-year contract lengths.
  • Cargill Power Markets won three blocks for three years.
  • Conectiv Energy won one block for five years.
  • Consolidated Edison Energy won one block for three years.
  • Project construction is expected to commence during the first half of this year, with commercial operation anticipated during the fourth quarter of 2009.

Who Revived the Electric Car?

During the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Alternative Energy Solutions Summit in early April, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) demonstrated Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology. The demonstration marked a milestone in both the automotive and electric power sectors.

V2G technology allows for the bi-directional sharing of electricity between electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) and the electric power grid. The technology turns each vehicle into a power storage system, increasing power reliability and the amount of renewable energy available to the grid during peak power usage.

PG&E’s prototype PHEV adds a lithium ion battery to a traditional Toyota Prius. The additional battery capacity increases the vehicle’s ability to run completely on electricity. In front of many of the Silicon Valley’s industry and governmental leaders, PG&E showed the reverse flow of energy from the vehicle back to the outlet. Once connected to the outlet, PG&E then ran several lights and appliances to show how V2G could benefit its customers.

PG&E’s PHEV is currently in prototype form.

Sapias Wins Industry Award

Sapias Inc., a provider of on-demand mobile resource management, and its customer NSTAR, a Massachusetts-based electric and gas utility, have received the 2007 WizKids award from Beagle Research Group, an analyst firm covering emerging front office solutions. The companies were awarded for their implementation of the Sapias solution that helped NSTAR better understand its field service processes while at the same time reduce their costs.

“Sapias provides never-before-seen visibility into the field service process and for that the company wins a 2007 WizKids award,” said Denis Pombriant, managing principal, Beagle Research Group. “The solution adds a new dimension to field service management that has helped managers at NSTAR to not only make better decisions about deploying resources, but also to reduce costs and in the process document better customer service. It is rare that a solution can do so many things at once, especially since some things like cutting costs and improving service are often at odds.”

OVERHEARD:

“Acciona’s and Enel’s involvement in Endesa has made our original goal of acquiring a majority stake in Endesa impossible. Obtaining a minority interest in Endesa would have led to a stalemate between the shareholders and triggered unpredictable lawsuits. The agreement we have reached with Enel and Acciona will rapidly establish clarity for everyone involved. At the same time, in one step, E.ON will establish attractive market positions in Spain, Italy and France, which we look forward to further developing. “
-Wulf Bernotat, E.ON’s Chief Executive, on the choice of E.ON to pull out of the Endesa deal

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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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