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NY Power Authority Upgrades Switchyard with Smart Grid Tech

Dec. 21, 2015
Smart-Grid Technologies Make Switchyard Among Most Advanced in Nation

Upgrades in smart-grid technology are transforming a switchyard at the New York Power Authority’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project into one of the most advanced transmission hubs in North America.

The Switchyard Automated Monitoring and Controls (SAMAC) system being installed at the Robert Moses switchyard includes microprocessors that adapt to dynamically changing conditions. Real-time information is communicated instantly to other switchyard components as well as to St. Lawrence operators, for precision monitoring and control of electricity transmission. The SAMAC features also make it possible for any potential problems to be anticipated or mitigated before there are any equipment failures.

“Computer-based remote control and automated data gathering on power system conditions have become important new utility industry tools.” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “These state-of-the-art improvements help put New York State in the lead of smart-grid applications that make the grid more flexible and resilient.”

At the Moses switchyard and substation, power voltages are raised in order to efficiently transmit St. Lawrence-FDR generating output to businesses, municipalities, hospitals and nonprofits. NYPA is adding sophisticated electronic devices and associated software to provide operators with more control of switches and other equipment to dispatch the hydroelectric plant’s power.

The initiative is part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision plan to build a clean, efficient and affordable energy system. REV encourages energy innovation to overcome market barriers and give customers greater opportunities for energy savings, local power generation, and enhanced reliability. SAMAC is part of a $726 million Transmission Life Extension and Modernization (TLEM) program that NYPA is implementing at its facilities in Northern, Western and Central New York. NYPA is also investing hundreds of millions of dollars more in additional smart-grid upgrades to bolster its generation and transmission infrastructure.

The smart-grid measures are about 15 percent complete and are expected to be completed by 2023. However, the upgrades are already providing enhanced awareness of transmission conditions.

“As a long-time resident of Massena, I am especially proud of the pioneering technologies at the Robert Moses Switchyard,” said Judge Eugene L. Nicandri, a NYPA trustee. “The Power Authority recognizes the importance of being an early adopter of these smart-grid innovations and it’s gratifying to see this taking place in Massena.”

A number of firms have been supporting the Power Authority in the upgrades at the Moses switchyard and at another NYPA substation in Massena. They include O’Connell Electric Co., of Victor, Ontario County, and Northline Utilities of Au Sable, Clinton County.

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