GridWise Alliance Report: Lessons From Superstorm Sandy, Other Extreme Events

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / zhukovsky

The GridWise Alliance, the leading coalition advocating for the modernization of the nation’s electric system, released a report that outlines recommendations to help alleviate the effects of large-scale events on the U.S. electric system.

The recommendations are the direct result of a workshop convened after Superstorm Sandy during which representatives from 20 electric utilities from across the U.S., along with suppliers and other experts, shared their experiences and lessons learned in dealing with these events.

“Disruptions to our power system from large-scale events pose more than an inconvenience in today’s digital economy,” said Becky Harrison, GridWise Alliance CEO. “The United States depends on a reliable, resilient, safe and secure electric power system, and when this service is disrupted the impacts are felt by all. Modernization of the grid would help to reduce these effects. The GridWise Alliance report identifies actions that can be taken by utilities, policymakers, emergency responders and technology suppliers to improve the resiliency of our electric power grid during future extreme events.”

Examples of key insights include:

  • New technologies deployed on the electric grid provide utilities with advanced remote control and monitoring capabilities. For example, smart meters and smart grid censors provide utilities with visibility to actually know when the lights are off without waiting for customers to pick up the phone and report outages.
  • Advances in weather forecasting combined with better modeling of damage caused by these events could enhance the utilities’ ability to plan their response neighborhood by neighborhood and get the lights back on faster and at a lower cost.
  • The nation’s critical infrastructure is becoming more interconnected, and utilities must understand and plan for this interdependence. Many people depend on smart phones to manage their lives more effectively. Using this same cellular network for grid equipment to automatically report its status and for restoration crews working to repair the grid to communicate their efforts requires cellular networks to be running during these events.
  • During Sandy, utilities received tweets with pictures of downed power lines, yet there was no way to tie these pictures to their equipment and locations. The computer systems run by utilities can be adapted to use these social media feeds to update the grid’s system conditions automatically and reduce the time delay in responding.
  • Where there is a high penetration of distributed energy resources, the availability of these resources is limited during outages. New policies, rules and operating procedures are needed to safely leverage customer-owned power sources during major outages such as Sandy.

Hudson Transmission Project Ahead of Schedule, Provides NYC 660 MW of Additional Power, Enhanced Reliability

PowerBridge LLC announced that its affiliate, Hudson Transmission Partners LLC (HTP), completed testing of its underground and underwater, 660-MW electric transmission project between Ridgefield, N.J., and Manhattan and is delivering power to customers in New York City.

The Hudson transmission project route is about 7.5 miles long with a cable bundle buried under the Hudson River for about 3.5 miles and buried underground for some 4 miles, starting in Ridgefield, N.J. The line connects to the Con Edison system at the West 49th Street substation in the heart of Manhattan and can provide some 5 percent of New York City’s peak demand. Project construction began in May 2011 at a cost of some $850 million and was completed six weeks ahead of schedule despite two hurricanes.

The Hudson project is the second major underwater transmission project completed by PowerBridge. The first was the 660-MW Neptune undersea transmission project completed in June 2007, which extends 65 miles between New Jersey and Long Island. Neptune has supplied some 20 percent of Long Island’s electricity needs since going into service. The Hudson and Neptune projects provide access to power from the PJM energy grid.

“Like Neptune, the Hudson project shows how this type of technology can bring reliable electric power to densely populated areas in a cost-effective, noncontroversial and environmentally friendly way,” said Edward M. Stern, president and CEO of PowerBridge. “It is also a great example of public and private interests’ working successfully in partnership to expand and modernize the nation’s electric system.

“In completing this complex project well ahead of schedule and therefore in time for the summer peak-load period, we want to thank many different parties that helped achieve this result, especially Governor Andrew Cuomo and his staff, as well as Senator Chuck Schumer and numerous federal, state and city agencies such as the New York State Departments of Public Service, Transportation, and Environmental Conservation, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the New York District Army Corps of Engineers, the city of New York, and the Borough of Ridgefield, New Jersey.

“In addition, we particularly want to acknowledge the extraordinary teamwork and cooperation of our customer the New York Power Authority, our principal contractors Siemens and Prysmian, Con Edison, the regional transmission organizations PJM and NYISO, New Jersey utilities PSE&G and First Energy, our investors and lenders, and the many talented workers who helped design, build and install the project.”

Using high-voltage direct current (HVDC) technology, the electricity drawn from the PJM grid is converted from ac to dc power and then back to ac power at a new converter station in Ridgefield for maximizing reliability and controllability in delivering power to Manhattan.


The Hudson transmission project
The Hudson transmission project route is about 7.5 miles long with a cable bundle buried under the Hudson River for about 3.5 miles and buried underground for approximately 4 miles, starting in Ridgefield, N.J. The line connects to the Con Edison system at the West 49th Street substation in the heart of Manhattan and is capable of providing about 5 percent of New York City’s peak demand. Courtesy PRNewsFoto/PowerBridge LLC.
  • Hudson Transmission Partners LLC, the developer, owner and operator of the Hudson project, is responsible for its planning, permitting, financing and construction. HTP is managed by PowerBridge LLC of Fairfield, Conn. HTP partners also include Anbaric LLC of Wakefield, Mass., and Triton LLC of Portland, Maine. Principal investors in the project are Energy Investors Funds through its United States Power Fund II, L.P., and Starwood Energy Investors LLC, an affiliate of Starwood Energy Group Global LLC.
  • PowerBridge developed, financed, constructed and manages and operates the Neptune transmission project that brings power from PJM to Long Island via an undersea cable. PowerBridge also is developing additional undersea and underground transmission projects, including the proposed West Point Transmission project that features a 1,000-MW, 80-mile cable underneath the Hudson River between Athens and Buchanan, N.Y., that would provide access to less expensive and renewable energy from upstate New York for customers in the New York City area.
  • Siemens Energy Inc. provided the design, engineering, construction and installation of the back-to-back HVDC converter station in Ridgefield. Siemens also will provide operation and maintenance services for the project in conjunction with its operation of Neptune.
  • Prysmian Cables and Systems USA LLC supplied and installed the approximately 7.5 miles of 345-kV underwater and underground cable that connects PJM with New York City.
  • The Hudson cable bundle extends from the PSE&G Bergen substation in Ridgefield to the nearby HVDC converter station, and then travels some 3.5 miles underground to Edgewater, N.J., where it enters the Hudson River. The cables make landfall on Manhattan’s West Side, then travel from West 52nd Street along the West Side Highway to the Con Edison West 49th Street substation.
  • The PJM energy grid is the largest competitive wholesale electricity market in the U.S., totaling nearly 165,000 MW and serving about 60 million people in 13 states and the District of Columbia. PJM accesses its power from a wide range of sources including hydroelectric, biomass, oil, coal, wind, nuclear and natural gas.

Alfanar Construction Begins middle East T&D projects

His Royal Highness Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Majid Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, Governor of Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah
His Royal Highness Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Majid Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, Governor of Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah region attended the contract signing by His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Husayen, Minister of Water & Electricity and Eng. Sabah Al Mutlaq vice chaiman, Alfanar Group in the presence of His Excellency Dr. Abdul Rahman Bin Mohammad Al-Ibrahim, Governor, Saline Water Conversion Corp.

Alfanar Construction signed several strategic projects worth about $400 million in the first half of 2013.

A substation project was signed with the Saline Water Conversion Corp. (SWCC) aimed at integrating 3,100 MW of capacity from Yanbu III generating station into the grid. Alfanar shall be fully responsible for the turnkey construction of Yanbu’s three substations. This project will supply power to the SWCC pumping stations. It will be executed on a fast track basis becausee the substations are scheduled to be completed and put into service within 22 Months.

A contract signing ceremony was held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Majid Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, Governor of Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah region.

The Saudi Electricity Co. (SEC) awarded Alfanar two major projects for the construction of 380 kV underground cables in Jeddah and Makkah. Ali Al Barrak, CEO of the Saudi Electricity Co. signed the contract.

These projects involve the construction of 380 kV underground cables to establish two circuit links between the Jeddah Central substation and the Jeddah North/Al-Faisaliyah substations. They will be completed in 22 months.

These two projects are part of a challenging plan by the Saudi Electricity Co. to upgrade and strengthen the capacity of the electricity grid across the Western Region in order to meet the growing demand for electricity in the areas of Jeddah and Makkah.

Other projects include the supply of power to the upcoming double-track high speed Haramain railway which included construction of six new 380 kV substations and the reinforcement of Hail 2 Power Plant- Extension III.


Itron Technology Forms Foundation for Smart City Movement in China With Sino-Singapore Eco-City Project in Tianjin

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / baurka

Itron Inc. has installed a combination of 25,000 smart water, heat and gas meters and communication modules as well as its fixed network for Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City in Tianjin, China, the company reported. The comprehensive solution measures, collects and analyzes data from water, heat and gas meters.

Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City is a flagship government-to-government project between Singapore and China. Established in 2007, it is built on the vision of being a thriving city that is socially harmonious, environmentally friendly and resource-efficient. When completed in 2020, Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City is estimated to have some 350,000 residents.

Itron’s EverBlu wireless fixed-network system, which has provided data collection services to Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City for more than two years, enables Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City to achieve its vision of energy and water resource conservation by providing actionable data such as high accuracy readings and reading rates, automatic meter reading and graphical data analysis to educate residents about their energy and water usage. It also helps simplify the billing process and provides detailed consumption information that reduces billing disputes with end users.

Brazil’s Smart Grid

Memoori, a UK-based market research company, estimates a $75 billion investment is needed to build a smart grid in Brazil. This represents about a 4 percent share of the total world expenditure. Expenditure on Brazilian transmission and distribution projects in 2012 was some $2.75 billion with most being spent on transmission build out. Investment in pure smart grid has fallen and will extend beyond 2030.

Brazilian consumers have been paying more for their power than most countries, including China, Latin America the U.S., but in March prices fell between 18 to 32 percent, and this will wipe out profit at the cheapest-producing hydroelectric plants. Drought has reduced the capacity from these plants, and reserve power from fossil-fueled plants has had to provide the shortfall. Combine this with the high level of electricity theft, and the question has to be asked: Where will the money come from to invest in Brazil’s ambitious smart grid program?

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