Avangrid plans to increase New York grid capacity

  • September 6, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Connecticut-based Avangrid is working with LineVision on a pilot project to unlock additional capacity on transmission lines for renewable energy in New York.

The project will deploy monitoring for overhead transmission lines in the Hornell area of New York with the goal of reducing grid congestion by providing real-time data on where additional power can safely flow through the existing transmission infrastructure. These critical data and visibility could aid in linking more renewable energy resources into New York’s electrical grid and supporting the state’s clean energy goals.

The amount of energy that electric transmission lines can safely carry is variable. Historically, the lines have been operated using static line ratings that tell grid operators a lines’ energy capacity based on conservative and fixed values for assumed weather conditions. However, with LineVision’s monitoring, Avangrid will be able to see real-time data, allowing for more flexibility to increase the amount of energy flowing through the transmission lines based on current conditions.

The monitoring provides dynamic line ratings (DLRs), which determine capacity limits of the power lines by combining real-time properties such as sag, temperature and forecasted weather conditions. This results in more informed grid operations and increased carrying capacity of the transmission lines without needing to make any large grid upgrades.

As part of the project, LineVision will partner with Avangrid’s electric utility operating company New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) to install non-contact lidar sensors to monitor overhead transmission lines, accelerating renewable energy adoption and progressing towards the state’s Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act (CLCPA) goals.

The sensors will be installed on two of the company’s transmission lines. One runs from Elma (Erie county) to Strykersville (Wyoming county), and the other runs from Warsaw to Perry, both in Wyoming county.

Funding for the project was awarded to Avangrid and LineVision through round two of NYSERDA’s Future Grid Challenge programme. The programme addresses a recommendation contained in a Department of Public Service order released in 2022 for the deployment of transmission and distribution technologies for improved transmission use while supporting New York’s CLCPA goal to achieve 70% renewable electricity by 2030.

“Decarbonising our region and nation will require critical investments in transmission and distribution infrastructure,” said Pedro Azagra, CEO of Avangrid. “This pilot project is just one example of how we’re working to modernise the grid and enhance reliability and resiliency across our service areas for our customers. We’re proud to be making strategic and critical investments that will enable New York’s climate goals, help mitigate the impacts of climate change and increase access to renewable energy.”

Hudson Gilmer, CEO of LineVision (www.linevisioninc.com), added: “We are thrilled to have been chosen to take part in this important project. By multiple accounts, we must double the size of the power grid to have any hope of meeting critical climate goals. Our technology has helped our utility customers identify between 25 and 40% additional capacity on existing lines, which helps accelerate a transition to renewables. We are excited to work with Avangrid and NYSERDA to help optimise New York’s grid.”

And Patricia Nilsen, CEO of NYSEG and RG&E, said: “We have been an anchor institution in our communities for more than a century. We know that we have a critical role in building a smarter, more resilient network that will enable us to deliver clean energy to more customers. Investments in innovation like this are very exciting because it will benefit our customers in multiple ways.”

The CLCPA calls for an additional 10,000MW of solar capacity and 9000MW of offshore wind capacity. These aggressive goals, as well as the goals set forth by the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, would likely cause significant congestion on transmission lines. To ensure reliability of the system, reduce cost of congestion and allow faster integration of renewables, the implementation of DLRs could play a vital role.

Headquartered in Orange, Connecticut, with approximately $41bn in assets and operations in 24 US states, Avangrid (www.avangrid.com) owns and operates eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. It also owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the USA. The company is a subsidiary of Iberdrola and employs more than 7600 people.