Nova Scotia Power Awards Contract

Open Systems International Inc. (OSI) has been awarded a contract to supply a next-generation energy management system (EMS) to Nova Scotia Power, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The OSI monarch system will replace a legacy SCADA/EMS system.

“OSI’s new SCADA/EMS system will not only enhance our ability to monitor the electrical security of Nova Scotia but it will provide a pivotal piece to the work that is being done to adhere to the NERC reliability requirements,” said Greg Reinhardt of Nova Scotia.

KCP&L Garners Award

PA Consulting Group has named Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) the winner of the National Reliability Excellence Award at the 2007 ReliabilityOne awards. KCP&L was also selected as the recipient of the ReliabilityOne award in the Plains Region.

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The ReliabilityOne National Reliability Excellence Award is given to the ReliabilityOne regional award recipient that has demonstrated sustained leadership, innovation and achievement in the area of electric reliability.

“Being named the most reliable electric utility in the nation is quite an accomplishment,” said Bill Herdegen, KCP&L’s customer operations vice president. “By maintaining the highest reliability standards in the industry, we are focused on delivering outstanding service and reliable power to our customers.”

“The customers who depend on KCP&L’s services are fortunate to benefit from their sustained commitment to reliable performance,” said Jeff Lewis, PA’s ReliabilityOne program director. “Over the past year utilities nationwide were faced with a variety of challenges that placed significant strain on their systems–from oppressive heat and tropical storms to wildfires and snowstorms. KCP&L serves as an exemplary representative of the difference utilities committed to reliable service can make for their customers.”

Siemens Builds World’s Largest Cast-Resin Transformer

At the end of September, the world’s largest cast-resin transformer with a rated power capacity of 40 MVA left the Siemens factory in Kirchheim/Teck, Germany. Two of the new 40-MVA transformers will be used for testing high-voltage direct current (HDVC) transmission systems at Siemens Power T&D headquarters in Erlangen.

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The transformer measured 4.8 meters long, 2.8 meters wide and–in its transportable state–4.7 meters high. It was transported from the factory to Plochingen in Germany by special road transport on Sept. 26, 2007, and from there by ship on to Erlangen. The two 40 MVA cast-resin transformers (20/12.2 kV) will be used on a system test setup for the new Siemens “HVDC Plus” transmission system. The test setup consists of a back-to-back arrangement of the power converters with the two converters connected to the two cast-resin transformers on the three-phase side.

Tests performed on this record-breaking transformer have shown that, in many cases, it can provide an alternative to liquid-filled transformers in this power category. The design required a number of special developments. For example, whereas the higher voltage windings of cast-resin transformers of lower power rating are made of one cast, the high-voltage winding of the 50-metric-ton transformer each consists of six coil sections which are connected together to form one winding. This winding has special cooling ducts designed to dissipate heat.

Compared with oil-insulated transformers of the same power capacity, this type of transformer is practically maintenance-free as well as being flame-retardant and self-extinguishing. Because they require little fire and water protection, they can be installed almost anywhere. In many cases, they require less area for installation than comparable liquid-filled transformers. Versions with reduced no-load and short-circuit losses also increase efficiency and thus lead to lower operating costs.

NERC Survey Results Released

NERC conducted an online survey from July 17, 2007, to Aug. 7, 2007, receiving responses from a broad range of utility users, owners, and operators at various levels of leadership and management to find out what they consider the most important issues affecting bulk power system reliability. The survey posed 17 reliability topics for ranking within two areas, business and technical, and one preparedness topic for ranking.

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NERC received 236 responses during the three weeks allotted for the survey. The majority of responses (35 percent) came from participants categorized as “other,” while 22 percent of such responses came from participants identified as “transmission operators.” The largest amount of survey participants by position (43 percent) came from middle managers–such as directors, program managers and operations managers–followed by 18 percent of survey participation by general management such as supervisors, project managers and senior technical advisors.

The Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NPCC) led survey participation at 18 percent, followed by ReliabilityFirst Corporation (RFC) and Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) at 17 percent of survey participation each.

Within the category of business issues, survey participants ranked first (67 percent) a high likelihood that there would be a reliability risk due to the occurrence of an aging workforce and lack of skilled workers, with 51 percent assigning it at a high severity level. Participants also noted that there was a high likelihood that environmental regulation could impact electric reliability at 55 percent, with a 26 percent high severity ranking, and 48 percent medium severity ranking.

Within the category of technical issues, survey participants ranked first, at 65 percent, a high likelihood that there would be a reliability risk due to the aging infrastructure and limited new construction, with 53 percent assigning it at a high severity level. Participants also noted that there was a high likelihood of transmission system congestion impacting electric reliability at 62 percent, with a 39 percent high severity ranking and 48 percent medium severity ranking.

Within the category of preparedness, survey responses reveal that by less than 2 percent, there is almost an equal split (49 percent and 51 percent) regarding if the electric power industry is prepared to respond to catastrophic threats that could simultaneously impact multiple utilities.

Wind Farm, Transmission Line Dedicated

Minnesota’s largest wind farm and the state’s largest transmission line built to carry wind power into the Twin Cities was dedicated in mid-November and will soon become fully operational, subject to final approvals by the regional transmission operator.

A total of 137 wind turbines, with a maximum generating capacity of 205 megawatts of electricity, comprise enXco’s Fenton Wind Project in southwestern Minnesota, making it the largest single wind farm in the state.

Xcel Energy’s 345-kV transmission line along with two major 115-kV lines will deliver the power into the Minnesota high-voltage transmission grid allowing delivery of the power from the Fenton Wind farm and other wind power resources from the Buffalo Ridge region of the state into the Twin Cities area.

Under a 20-year agreement, enXco will own and operate the Fenton Wind Park and sell all the energy it produces to Xcel Energy.

Approximately 515 megawatts of wind power capacity has been installed in the Buffalo Ridge area of southwestern Minnesota. About 350 megawatts of additional wind power capacity is planned to be on-line by 2008. Existing transmission from the region was not able to carry the anticipated wind power load until the new transmission lines were completed. An additional leg of the 345-kilovolt transmission line soon will be completed into Sioux Falls to support the transmission grid in that region.

The transmission grid, in which the Fenton wind farm and southwestern line will operate, is managed by the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO), one of the nation’s regional transmission management organizations. MISO is responsible for dispatching and balancing generating and transmission resources to serve customer demand throughout the Midwest and Upper Midwest region of the nation. MISO is expected to commission the Fenton wind farm and transmission lines into operation in the next few weeks.

During the 2007 legislative session, Minnesota lawmakers passed and Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed into law legislation that requires the state’s utilities to obtain 25 percent of their electrical energy from renewable resources. Xcel Energy, which supported the new law, must obtain 30 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2020.

“That means we will have to build more wind farms and more transmission in order to meet this ambitious goal,” said Doug Jaeger, vice president of transmission for Xcel Energy.

PJM Board Approves Interstate Transmission Line

PJM Interconnection, operator of the Mid-Atlantic power grid, has approved Pepco Holdings Inc.’s proposal to build a 230-mile interstate power line to enhance electric reliability and improve transmission capacity in one of the country’s most heavily congested regions.

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PJM board approval is a major step forward for this project, allowing an extensive permitting and environmental review process before construction of the approximately $1 billion transmission line begins.

The 500-kV line, known as the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway (MAPP), will connect Northern Virginia to Maryland, cross the Delmarva Peninsula and link with the power grid in southern New Jersey. It is designed to provide electricity to meet customer demand, now and in the future, as each phase of the line is completed over a planned seven-year timetable. By increasing transmission capacity, MAPP also will provide access to more affordable power generation sources for PHI’s nearly 2 million customers, creating an annual savings of about $125 million, according to the company.

“We are pleased with PJM’s decision to approve this proposed transmission line, which will provide the Mid-Atlantic region with an expanded power grid that can meet the rising demand for electricity,” said William Gausman, PHI vice president of asset management. “MAPP is necessary not only for the well-being of the Mid-Atlantic region’s power grid, but also for every jurisdiction along the line.”

A majority of the line will be built along, or adjacent to, existing right-of-way and incorporate environmentally responsible construction techniques. “Our careful planning will include significant community involvement,” said Gausman. “We look forward to working with communities during the design, permitting and siting processes to ensure that the construction of MAPP protects the environment and minimizes disruption to residents and businesses along the route,” he added.

Gausman noted that this line will complement a range of energy options that are being considered to address future energy demand. “This new transmission line is part of the answer to meet the region’s electricity needs. We must also continue to stress the importance of energy conservation and environmentally responsible new power generation to ensure that the region has a reliable supply of electricity,” said Gausman.

Demand for power during peak usage times in PHI’s four-state service area is projected to increase by nearly 20 percent over the next 10 years.

TIDBIT:

Group EFACEC, a supplier of automation systems and infrastructure solutions to the global energy and transport sectors, has acquired Atlanta-based Advanced Control Systems, Inc. (ACS) for undisclosed terms.

EYE ON EUROPE:

Rome Looks at Link: Italy’s Centro Elettrotecnico Sperimentale Italiano (CESI) has completed a feasibility study looking at a potential electricity connection linking Libya and Sicily, possibly via Malta. This is the latest in a series of power connections planned between North Africa and Europe.

The most recent study puts forward several alternatives for the construction of the 500-km-long link between Abu Kammash in Libya and Partanna in Sicily.

In one scenario, the line would have a capacity of 1,000 MW and cost à¢â€š¬700m ($990m). Alternatively, the capacity of the line could be decreased to 500 MW, reducing costs to between à¢â€š¬350-370m.

A detailed marine survey is being carried out to determine the route of the cable.

CESI has previously completed feasibility studies for a 240-km, 2,000 MW submarine link between Hassi Ameur in Algeria and Almeria in Spain. It also carried out a study for a 500 to 1,000 MW link from El-Hadjar in Algeria to Cagliari in Italy, via Sardinia. However, both projects are currently on hold.

Of all the proposed links between Europe and Africa, the most likely to go ahead is an interconnection between Tunisia and Sicily, planned by Rome and Tunis. It will involve the construction of a 1,200 MW power plant at El-Haouaria in the northeast of Tunisia, with 800 MW of power to be exported to Sicily.

The maximum depth of sea for the cable between Tunisia and Sicily is 600 m, which would also make it technically easier than the other projects. By comparison, three possible routes have been proposed for the Algeria-Spain link, the deepest of which would reach a maximum depth of 1,900 m of water.

Aging Infrastructure Benefits Serveron

Serveron Corp. reported revenues for the first half of 2007 increased 38 percent over the same period of 2006. The company said its strong results came primarily from sales of its systems that enable on-line monitoring of the large power transformers that are critical to keeping electricity flowing from generating stations to industrial, commercial and residential customers.

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The privately held, venture-capital-financed company, which does not disclose specific operating results, said it attributes its performance to enhanced international market penetration, especially in Europe and Asia, following the appointments of senior executives based in those regions.

“Everywhere in developed and developing nations throughout the world, the electric power infrastructure is either aging or growing, or both, and the systems are in need of being watched carefully to prevent failures and the blackouts that they can cause,” said Bart Tichelman, Serveron’s chief executive officer.

“Our business progress reflects a growing awareness by utility management and regulators alike that preventive monitoring–before failures occur–is now an even-more-vital part of their responsibilities.” Tichelman continued, “Customers are becoming more willing to make the relatively modest investment in our on-line transformer monitoring systems and services. They realize that’s one practical and economical way to avoid the big problems and potentially bigger expenses that come from crisis-induced purchases of transformers.”

Replacement cost for a failed transformer can range from $1 million to $6 million, according to Serveron.

“Even if the decision is made to replace an aging transformer before it fails, new units are on back-order from virtually every manufacturer throughout the world,” Tichelman added. “So, monitoring is the only way to make sure that unplanned transformer down-time is minimized, as utilities work to secure the capital and support they need to upgrade this critical segment of their infrastructure.”

Concluding his comments, Tichelman said: “There is much talk about the need for the power industry and its customers to embrace “Ëœsmart grid’ technology, and that focus is primarily on the demand side. Such innovation will come and be beneficial, but it will take time. Meanwhile, “Ëœsupply-side smart grid’ technology is available today.”

Western Area Power Administration Energizes 20 Miles in Arizona

The Western Area Power Administration (Western) has energized the first 20-mile segment of an 80-mile transmission line upgrade under way in Arizona and Nevada with 3M’s metal matrix, high-capacity Aluminum Conductor Composite Reinforced (ACCR). The heat-sag-resistant conductor can carry more than twice the power of conventional steel-core lines of similar diameter, yet often does not require new or larger towers because of its relatively light weight and low sag, according to 3M.

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3M credits the strength and durability to its core, composed of aluminum oxide (alumina) fibers embedded in high-purity aluminum, utilizing a highly specialized and patented process. The constituent materials are chemically compatible with each other and can withstand high temperatures over years of continuous operation without adverse chemical reactions or any appreciable loss in strength.

Western installed a 230-kV 3M ACCR on a line paralleling the Colorado River along Arizona’s western border with California. The area served by the line includes fast-growing communities such as Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City in Arizona; Laughlin, Nev., and Needles, Calif.

3M ACCR is also in service on new lines feeding power to downtown Phoenix, the Minneapolis-St. Paul region in Minnesota, and northeast portions of Colorado, as well as numerous other communities around the nation.

The conductor was developed with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy, which tested the conductor at its Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, and with early contributions by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

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