ABB FIA Formula E highlights ABB’s ability to make the US grid smarter and greener

ABB FIA Formula E highlights ABB’s ability to make the US grid smarter and greener

ABB technology is poised to help the US grid become more digitalized and environmentally friendly

The US energy sector is facing a paradigm shift as part of the Energy Revolution. The demand for electricity is growing quickly, and the integration of intermittent renewables within the energy mix is bringing new opportunities and challenges for energy companies and utilities. This means US power systems need to continue evolving into a more interconnected, resilient, smarter and greener grid with a sustainable backbone.

The ABB FIA Formula E race series, which will run through New York City for a dramatic season finale July 14-15, highlights the ways that ABB is helping the US seize opportunities and face these challenges. Innovative ABB technologies and digital solutions, like ABB AbilityTM, FACTS, HVDC and GIS continue to increase the grid’s reliability and efficiency through automation and intelligence, integrating renewables across long distances and reducing its carbon footprint.

FACTS technology makes the grid more efficient and reliable

FACTS (Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems) technologies provide more power and control in existing AC as well as green-field networks, with minimal environmental impact. Some of ABB’s most ambitious FACTS projects are in the US.

To increase the reliability of a critical transmission line in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States and expand the line’s transmission capacity, ABB completed the world’s largest capacity FACTS installation at Allegheny Power’s Black Oak substation in Maryland. The expansive project was completed in only 14 months, a world record given the size, complexity and scope of the project.

In another large-scale landmark project, ABB is supplying three capacitator banks –the first such in New York State -- to the Marcy South Series Compensation Project, which is located upstate. The project significantly improves power control and transmission efficiency and helped the utility, New York Power Authority, (NYPA), circumvent the need to build expensive new power lines.

Integrating renewables and facilitating power exchange using HVDC technology

ABB is also behind many other projects in the United States that improve power exchanges, power stability and power control over long distances, including more than a dozen high-voltage direct current (HVDC) installations in locations across the country.

For example, ABB built the Pacific HVDC Intertie that has supported and safeguarded power sharing in the western U.S. for nearly half a century. This critically important installation comprises an HVDC link and three AC lines that collectively transmit enormous quantities of power between the Pacific Northwest and the southwestern states.

Additional HVDC projects where ABB has long-term involvements include the Intermountain Power Project, an HVDC transmission system that provides power for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the largest municipal utility in the U.S., which serves over four million people. The project, located in an area known for seismic activity even has earthquake-proofing stability reinforcements. Other projects in the long list include Blackwater, a back-to-back HVDC transmission system located outside of Clovis, New Mexico, and Mackinac, another back-to-back HVDC Light system that helps integrate renewables and transmit electricity across the Straits of Mackinac, a narrow waterway that separates Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas, and connects two of the Great Lakes, Michigan and Huron.

And it’s worth mentioning that ABB has provided technology to the 1,400 kilometer long Quebec-New England Phase II project since it was built in 1986 and declared the first large-scale multi-terminal HVDC transmission in the world.

ABB Ability enables real-time monitoring

Digitalization of the grid is fundamental to its evolution, as automation and information-gathering help increase efficiency and security and manage new complexities like integrating renewable energy sources. ABB AbilityTM, is the company’s unified, cross-industry digital device, product and service offering that allows customers increased efficiency, connectivity and agility across multiple communication platforms.

ABB Ability solutions installed throughout the US are helping revolutionize grid operations. One example is in New York’s Mid-Hudson River Valley region. Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation adopted the high capacity and resilient ABB Ability field area wireless network for 900 distribution automation (DA) devices across a large service territory with a demanding terrain and climate to increase automation and digitalization. This solution now enables smooth communication between the field and the operators in the control room, and it enables centralized monitoring and control in New York.

The latest ABB Ability distribution and outage management systems that was delivered to ComEd, a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation, integrates information, system status and resources to more accurately predict and locate outages, to efficiently dispatch repair crews and enables ComEd to address the issue. “In an era of digital transformation, it is critical for organizations to be kept informed in real-time as they manage the grid and ensure reliable power supply to millions of consumers”, said Massimo Danieli, Managing Director of ABB’s Grid Automation business unit, a part of the company’s Power Grids division.

Strengthening the grid with GIS technology

The Capital Grid project created a networked system connecting multiple substations through underground transmission lines from the north to the south of the region. ABB designed, supplied and installed 69-kilovolt (kV) and 230 kV GIS for four substations within the network. The gas-insulated swithchgear (GIS) technology was chosen due its reliability and compactness, which are key considerations when land is scarce and at a premium. It enables substations to be housed in buildings to protect them in severe weather conditions, while saving up to 70 percent space compared to conventional air-insulated substations.

Across the United States,advanced technology plays a key role in upgrading the grid. With its innovative technology and custom solutions, ABB is the partner of choice for enabling a stronger, smarter and greener future grid.

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