NYPA Transmission Projects: A Model of Continuous Improvement

NYPA’s transmission team is executing in a long-term plan for continuous equipment and technology improvements that will increase capacity, add versatility, reduce outages, and provide deep, real-time information about system operations.  

Called the Life Extension and Modernization project (LEM), the 12-year, $726 million project will upgrade transmission lines in Northern, Western and Central New York and related facilities such as switchyards and substations. Some of the upgrades will modernize transmission assets that date back to the 1950s and 1960s when NYPA built its major hydroelectric plants on the St. Lawrence and Niagara rivers. The LEM program, begun in 2013 and extending to 2025, is one of the key elements of the New York Energy Highway Blueprint, a multifaceted initiative introduced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to modernize the state’s electric power system. It will result in a truly smart grid, one which maximizes efficiency and resilience.

It took an innovative approach to help relieve transmission congestion from Central New York to the Catskills without having to build new towers and power lines. The $54-million endeavor, called the Marcy-South Series Compensation Project, was developed by NYPA and New York State Electric and Gas to increase power flows by up to 440 megawatts. The Marcy-South project strengthens the state’s power grid, allowing for the retirement of aging generation plants without reducing service and relieving the bottleneck that prevents lower-cost electricity from reaching areas where the demand is greatest.

At the Robert Moses substation, which transmits St. Lawrence-FDR hydropower across the state, NYPA has created one of the most advanced transmission hubs in North America. The technology includes the Switchyard Automated Monitoring and Controls (SAMAC) system whose microprocessors dynamically adapt to changing conditions. Real-time information is communicated to system operators and to automated switchyard components for precision monitoring and control of electricity transmission. The SAMAC system even anticipates and/or mitigates equipment failures.

Dynamic Line Rating technology uses field instruments and software to track the transmission capacity of power lines. That capacity changes due to weather conditions: ambient temperature, wind speed, solar radiation, and humidity. Real-time information can be used to adjust conductors, resulting in a potential five-to-15 percent increase in capacity. This “hidden capacity” can be used to optimize power flows across the grid.

NYPA is applying dynamic ratings technologies along three major transmission corridors near its large hydroelectric plants: the 345-kV Niagara-Rochester line near the Niagara Power Project; the 345-kV Gilboa-Fraser line near the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project; and the 230-kV Moses-Willis-Plattsburgh line, near the St. Lawrence project.

Microgrids are small-scale, highly interconnected sets of generation sources and delivery lines which offer a manageable way to improve reliability and introduce renewable or high-efficiency sources of energy (e.g. rooftop solar or cogeneration) to the system. Increasingly, microgrids are a critical complement to the regional grid, improving efficiency, helping to reduce the load on the central grid, and serving as a backup in a serious power emergency like the one New York faced after Hurricane Sandy. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) plan calls for the wide implementation of microgrids throughout New York. The state already leads the Northeast in microgrid development, with 75 installations and 200 megawatts of capacity, and NYPA is facilitating their growth and system integration.
“Microgrids are an essential component of Governor Cuomo's Reforming the Energy Vision plan. This is not a niche program. This is the state's energy future.”
—Gil Quiniones, NYPA President & CEO

SAMAC Advanced Transmission Technology

NYPA's SAMAC project adds control and reduces response time

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SAMAC Advanced Transmission Technology