Linden, N.J., December 9, 2009 – Two major Northeastern U.S. power grids, in New Jersey and New York City, are now talking to each other and dispatching energy more efficiently and reliably using GE smart grid technology and capital.
Three variable frequency transformers are converting up to 315 MW of electricity from the power system in New Jersey and feeding it to New York City.
The technology kickoff was celebrated during a dedication ceremony today at the 900-MW Linden cogeneration power plant owned by GE Energy Financial Services.
The rotary-type transformers help control the intersection of two of the two largest electrical demand centers in the United States, the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland (PJM) transmission system and the New York City section of the NYISO grid, which are connected by an upgraded cable buried 60 feet below the Arthur Kill waterway.
These variable frequency transformers are stabilizing New York City’s power grid, increasing energy reliability and providing consumers with more diverse and lower-cost power sources.
Because of capacity constraints, New York City pays among the highest electricity costs in North America, creating demand for PJM’s historically lower-cost power generation. The technology also reduces the need for new power plants within the city, where siting is difficult and construction costs are high.
The variable frequency transformers provide a precise control path between electrical grids, permitting power exchanges previously impossible because of technical constraints.
They enable transmission system operators to control power flows with high reliability, speed and efficiency, while offering flexibility in how utilities meet growing energy demand.
While power will most often flow from New Jersey to New York, economics and other factors could at times favor a reverse flow of power: from New York City to PJM. GE Energy Financial Services has commissioned PJM to study the transmission upgrades required for enabling such a reverse flow.
GE Energy Financial Services also plans to work with PJM, as well as NYISO, to improve the system rules so the scheduling of power flows can be coordinated more smoothly between the two systems, allowing more economic, efficient and quicker use of the variable frequency transformers.
Four power marketing and trading companies are buying 300 MW of the power, in the first truly merchant US transmission project, and reselling it to wholesale and retail customers in New York City. GE Energy Financial Services plans to auction the balance of the transformers’ output, 15 MW, available because the system’s performance is exceeding its commitment.