American Electric Power has entered into a collaborative agreement with the Zenergy Power to become the first utility company to install and operate a transmission-voltage Fault Current Limiter on the United States electricity grid.
AEP owns the United States’ largest electricity transmission system, comprising nearly 39,000 miles of transmission lines, and is a large generator of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 MW of generating capacity. The FCL is expected to be installed at the 138-kV Tidd substation near Steubenville, Ohio, in late 2011.
Zenergy Power’s FCL is a newly developed and proprietary Smart Grid device that helps to suppress the excess energy associated with fault currents and, in doing so, protects essential large-scale grid equipment, including cables, transformers, capacitor banks and switchgear. Accordingly, Zenergy Power’s FCL not only increases the reliability of the electricity supply but also mitigates significant capital expenditure by minimizing the incidence of electrical damage to grid equipment. In addition, it is anticipated that the use of FCLs in certain grid locations could defer the need to upgrade substation infrastructure.
Prior to entering into this agreement, AEP conducted a thorough evaluation of the FCL business case with respect to its own grid requirements.
The construction and installation of the high-voltage device will be partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of Zenergy Power's ongoing US$11 million project initially announced on June 29, 2007. As recently announced by the DOE, the availability of funding through this project has been accelerated as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Accordingly, Zenergy Power is particularly pleased to secure this agreement with AEP as it allows it to progress toward the completion of its DOE program for the development of a high-voltage FCL product based upon the newly developed and tested compact design.