T&D World Magazine

'Perfect Power System' Includes Underground Distribution Switchgear

The nation’s first “Perfect Power System” is an example of how government, utilities, businesses and municipalities can collaborate in the development and implementation of advanced power systems that are required to meet rising 21st-century power demands. The project, developed for Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) with the Galvin Electricity Initiative, is the result of a partnership among the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), local utility Exelon/ComEd, the entrepreneurial electricity distribution developer Endurant Energy and S&C Electric Co.

When fully implemented, the system will consist of nearly 40 units of S&C Remote Supervisory Vista® Underground Distribution Switchgear. These are integrated with SEL-351 Directional Overcurrent and Reclosing Relays that can detect faults quickly, and instantly sectionalizes to eliminate service interruptions to the customer. This High-Speed Fault-Clearing System can be applied to either a closed-loop or open-loop configuration, and can clear a backbone feeder fault in less than six cycles.

Projections indicate that the Perfect Power model at IIT will pay for itself within five years after it is completed. For IIT, the Perfect Power System will generate significant savings — at least $20 million over 10 years. Following the short payback period, the university will make money from Perfect Power through cheaper power costs, such as grid infrastructure improvements, allowing them to purchase electricity based on real-time prices rather than the traditional contracted average. IIT will also be able to sell electricity back to local energy markets and to employ more efficient energy conservation efforts by integrating local power generation from clean sources, like solar.

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