The U.S. energy sector is facing a paradigm shift as part of the Energy Revolution. The demand for electricity is growing quickly, and the integration of intermittent renewables within the energy mix is bringing new opportunities and challenges for energy companies and utilities.
This means U.S. power systems need to continue evolving into a more interconnected, resilient, smarter and greener grid with a sustainable backbone.
The ABB FIA Formula E race series, which will run through New York City for a dramatic season finale July 14 to 15, highlights the ways that ABB is helping the U.S. seize opportunities and face these challenges. Innovative ABB technologies and digital solutions, like ABB Ability, FACTS, HVDC, and GIS continue to increase the grid’s reliability and efficiency through automation and intelligence, integrating renewables across long distances and reducing its carbon footprint.
A more efficient & reliable grid
FACTS (Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems) technologies provide more power and control in existing AC, as well as green-field networks, with minimal environmental impact. Some of ABB’s most ambitious FACTS projects are in the U.S.
To increase the reliability of a critical transmission line in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States and expand the line’s transmission capacity, ABB completed the world’s largest capacity FACTS installation at Allegheny Power’s Black Oak substation in Maryland. The expansive project was completed in only 14 months, a world record given the size, complexity and scope of the project.
In another large-scale landmark project, ABB is supplying three capacitator banks – the first such in New York State – to the Marcy South Series Compensation Project, which is located upstate. The project significantly improves power control and transmission efficiency and helped the utility, New York Power Authority, (NYPA), circumvent the need to build expensive new power lines.
Integrating renewables & facilitating power exchanges
ABB is also behind many other projects in the United States that improve power exchanges, power stability and power control over long distances, including more than a dozen high-voltage direct current (HVDC) installations in locations across the country.
For example, ABB built the Pacific HVDC Intertie that has supported and safeguarded power sharing in the western U.S. for nearly half a century. This critically important installation comprises an HVDC link and three AC lines that collectively transmit enormous quantities of power between the Pacific Northwest and the southwestern states.
Additional HVDC projects where ABB has long-term involvements include the Intermountain Power Project, an HVDC transmission system that provides power for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the largest municipal utility in the U.S., which serves over four million people. The project, located in an area known for seismic activity even has earthquake-proofing stability reinforcements.
Other projects in the long list include Blackwater, a back-to-back HVDC transmission system located outside of Clovis, New Mexico, and Mackinac, another back-to-back HVDC Light system that helps integrate renewables and transmit electricity across the Straits of Mackinac, a narrow waterway that separates Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas, and connects two of the Great Lakes, Michigan and Huron.
And it’s worth mentioning that ABB has provided technology to the 1,400 kilometer long Quebec-New England Phase II project since it was built in 1986 and declared the first large-scale multi-terminal HVDC transmission in the world.
Enabling real-time monitoring
Digitalization of the grid is fundamental to its evolution, as automation and information-gathering help increase efficiency and security and manage new complexities like integrating renewable energy sources. ABB Ability, is the company’s unified, cross-industry digital device, product and service offering that allows customers increased efficiency, connectivity and agility across multiple communication platforms.
The latest ABB Ability distribution and outage management systems that was delivered to ComEd, a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation, integrates information, system status and resources to more accurately predict and locate outages, to efficiently dispatch repair crews and enables ComEd to address the issue.
“In an era of digital transformation, it is critical for organizations to be kept informed in real-time as they manage the grid and ensure reliable power supply to millions of consumers”, said Massimo Danieli, Managing Director of ABB’s Grid Automation business unit, a part of the company’s Power Grids division.
Across the United States, advanced technology plays a key role in upgrading the grid.
Learn more about ABB’s projects here.