USA transmission and smart grid upgrades
new york begins transmission upgrades as ohio wraps up smart

New York begins transmission upgrades as Ohio wraps up smart grid overhaul

Two US states are announcing upgrades to their electrical grids: as New York gets the green light to start a transmission line upgrade project, Toledo Edison announces it has wrapped up its smart grid upgrades in Lucas County, Ohio.

In New York, the Smart Path Connect project has been given the green light; it is a multi-faceted project to upgrade transmission lines and install substations.

Whereas in Ohio, electric company Toledo Edison has announced a wrap-up of its smart grid upgrades in Lucas County to help prevent or minimise the length of service disruptions, particularly during severe weather.

Transmission line overhaul for New York

The project has been greenlit by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and National Grid NY. The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the 100-mile transmission line project at its regularly scheduled monthly meeting in August 2022.

According to the NYPA, Smart Path Connect is a multi-faceted project that includes:

  • Completion of the second phase of NYPA’s Smart Path Moses-Adirondack rebuild
  • Building approximately 45 miles of transmission eastward from Massena to the Town of Clinton, known as the Northern Alignment
  • Building approximately 55 miles of transmission southward from Croghan to Marcy, known as the Southern Alignment
  • Several substations along the impacted transmission corridor.

The work falls primarily within existing transmission rights-of-way in Clinton, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Lewis and Oneida counties. The rebuilt lines will connect economical, clean and renewable energy into the statewide power system. This includes low-cost hydropower from NYPA’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project and power from newly constructed and proposed renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

The project is hoped to help unbottle existing renewable resources in the region and yield production cost savings, emissions reductions and decreases in transmission congestion. It is estimated to result in more than 1.16 million tons of CO2 emissions avoided annually on a statewide basis and an annual reduction of an estimated 160 tons of NOx emissions.

Construction on Smart Path Connect is expected to begin this Fall.

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Smart grid upgrades in Ohio

In Ohio, the work includes the installation of new, automated equipment and technology in substations and power lines serving more than 59,000 customers in parts of Toledo, Holland, Maumee and nearby areas. Upgrades began in 2020 under the company’s initial three-year portfolio of grid modernisation work and is on track to be completed this summer.

“Every project is customised and designed to address the particular reliability needs of each community,” stated Ed Shuttleworth, president of FirstEnergy’s Ohio operations. “These upgrades will allow us to restore service to our customers faster following severe weather events as well as pave the way for a more robust power system that has advanced technology to support different types of energy sources in the years to come.

Utility personnel are finalising electrical equipment upgrades in seven substations in the greater Toledo area and modernising 31 power lines that deliver electric service to customers from those facilities. 134 new automated reclosing devices will be installed in the substations and along power lines to help limit the frequency, duration and scope of service interruptions.

According to Toledo Edison, which serves nearly 315,000 customers in northwest Ohio, the electrical devices work like a circuit breaker in a home that shuts off power when trouble occurs, with the added benefit of automatically reenergising a substation or power line within seconds for certain types of outages to keep power safely flowing to customers. The allows utility personnel to automatically restore service to customers in lieu of sending a crew to investigate.

If the device senses a more serious issue, like a fallen tree on electrical equipment, it will isolate the outage to that area and limit the total number of affected customers. The device’s smart technology will quickly pinpoint the location of the fault and help utility personnel better understand the cause of the outage to help speed restoration.

Additional power lines that tie together existing circuits are also being constructed to provide more flexibility in restoring service following outages. The new power lines will help reduce the length and overall number of customers impacted during an outage by switching them to a backup line for faster service restoration.

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Nearly 140 capacitor banks have also been installed to help ensure customers served by a single power line receive the same flow of safe, reliable power by evenly distributing electricity down the line.

These devices are expected to reduce energy usage for customers served near the beginning of a power line because they will benefit from optimised power voltages being fed into their homes or businesses.

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