In the US, Arizona utility Tucson Electric Power Company (TEP) has appointed French engineering giant Alstom to deliver technology to improve grid performance.
As part of the deal, TEP will adopt Alstom's Grid Stability Package, which is based on e-terraphasorpoint and e-terraphasoranalytics software.
The product will allow TEP to leverage its communications infrastructure and recent deployment of phasor measurement units to better manage grid stability at a time when the utility is expanding its solar energy portfolio, according to a joint statement released this week.
The Alstom smart grid software claims to allow TEP to better manage the variability of solar generation being integrated onto the grid and data analytics for engineering, operations and planning purposes.
Commenting on the deal, Chris Fleenor, manager of Meter and Protection Engineering for TEP, said: “We can gather a lot of information, but if we don’t have the analytics to decipher it and improve the performance of our system, it is just data.
"Alstom’s software will enable TEP to securely increase our power transfer levels and track our system’s dynamics using the latest synchrophasor-based information sources being deployed on our physical grid today."
Southern Arizona utility
TEP provides electric service to more than 414,000 customers in southern Arizona and ranks among the nation’s top ten utilities in expanding its solar energy portfolio, according to the Solar Electric Power Association.
TEP and other Arizona utilities are required to supply increasing amounts of renewable energy with a target of 15% of total retail power sales by 2025.
TEP will also use Alstom’s software solutions to help leverage its existing grid assets. Alstom smart grid software will enable TEP to increase use of its transmission assets by better managing power line congestion and optimizing the amount of electricity flowing on the network without jeopardizing the stability of the grid.
Alstom smart grid - real-time monitoring
Alstom, which has already sold its Grid Stability and Wide Area Monitoring solutions to other US independent system operators and transmission operators, said the deal was about "demonstrating the value" of synchrophasers.
The devices allow power transmission to be measured in real time up to 60 samples per second, unlike the once-every-two-seconds measurements that substations currently rely on.