Xcel Energy Strengthens the Grid with Advanced SVCs

Static-VAR-Compensators

T&D World – Xcel Energy uses flexible static VAR compensator topology to adapt to changing network conditions in New Mexico for more stability and voltage control.

In 2010, Xcel Energy Inc. was tasked by Southwest Power Pool Inc. (SPP) to build out the transmission system in southeast New Mexico, U.S., because the oil and gas industry in the area had a growing need for electricity. Oil producers were asking to convert from expensive diesel to more affordable electricity for their pumps. The request from SPP consisted of a transmission system expansion of new 115-kV and 345-kV projects in the region. Spending had to be prioritized between 2010 and 2021 because of the sheer scale of the plan needed to successfully implement the request.

Xcel Energy addressed the plan by implementing projects classified as high priority. This plan resulted in initiating 44 new transmission projects, an investment of US$557 million. In 2016, two static VAR compensators (SVCs) — the China Draw and Roadrunner — were built in southeast New Mexico to support SPP’s request.

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To build or not to build: TVA asks public to weigh in on construction of large solar farm

TVA-PV-Solar-Farm

RenewableEnergyWorld – The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is asking for public input on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the North Alabama Utility-Scale Solar Project in Lawrence County.

In January 2019, TVA announced that it holds a two-year purchase option on 3,000 acres in Lawrence County to study the feasibility of building a large solar farm in order to continue reducing its carbon footprint.  

The purpose of this EIS is to address the potential environmental effects associated with constructing, operating, maintaining, and decommissioning the solar facility.

The draft EIS includes two alternatives: a No Action Alternative and an Action Alternative. Under the No Action Alternative, TVA would not execute the purchase under the Purchase Option Agreement, and TVA would not develop a solar facility at this location. Under the Action Alternative, TVA would execute the purchase under the Purchase Option Agreement for the Lawrence County, Alabama, property. 

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Minnesota governor accelerates state’s carbon-free power target 10 years, to 2040

Minnesota-Carbon-Free-Electricity

UtilityDive – Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, D, on Thursday proposed a series of policies that would bring the state to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, a decade earlier than the goal he proposed in 2019.

His proposed policy goals follow a report from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued earlier this month, finding the state is not on track to meet its previous goals of reducing economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2025, and 80% by 2050. Overall, greenhouse gas emissions have declined 8% since 2005, according to the agency’s latest data, which measures emissions through 2018.

Minnesota’s largest investor-owned utilities (IOUs) — Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power — are pursuing 100% carbon-free energy by 2050 targets, and said their plans are more realistic.

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Chattanooga EPB’s Gigabit Generated $2.7 Billion in Economic Benefits

EPB-fiber-optics-network

Telecompetitor – EPB of Chattanooga’s gigabit broadband infrastructure has generated $2.69 billion in economic benefits to the community during its first decade of operation, according to a gigabit economic benefits report from the Rollins College of Business at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The study, which was conducted by Bento Lobo, Ph.D., head of the Department of Finance and Economics, identified five ways in which EBP of Chattanooga has benefited the community:

The infrastructure created and retained 9,516 jobs, which is about 40% of jobs created in Hamilton County during the study period.

The project kept unemployment down. This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic. The network enabled businesses to transition quickly to remote work. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the county’s unemployment rate in November 2020 was 4.7%. That’s a lower rate than the state of Tennessee overall and also lower than in the U.S. overall (5.3% and 6.7%, respectively).

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Five Reasons Remote Technology Makes Sense

Remote-Control-SCADA-Automation

PowerMag – The case for advanced analytics and remote diagnostics: During the last 25 years significant advancements have been made in remote monitoring capabilities for power plants. A number of operations and maintenance (O&M) functions can routinely be managed remotely, and it is also becoming more common for peaking and renewable energy plants to be remotely operated reliably and safely.

Operating and maintaining a full-scale power plant remotely presents challenges that require sophisticated systems, reliable sensor and diagnostic equipment, stable high-bandwidth communication, and advanced security protocols. Even with progress made in each of these areas, some plant managers don’t foresee a scenario where remote operations will become the norm. But even in cases where there are no plans to run a generating station from a remote location, there is still a solid case for adopting remote technology.

Here are five reasons why the case for remote technology is stronger today than ever before.

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