Is Your Grid Ready for the Next Wave of Severe Weather?

Posted by on September 6, 2014

The combination of increasingly severe weather, distributed generation and regulatory imperatives to improve reliability metrics creates severe pressure on utilities to modernize grid management. Two notable Silver Spring customers have met these challenges head on with aggressive investment in distribution automation (DA) using the Silver Spring multi-application network to help improve grid reliability. In this first post, I will touch on Florida Power & Light (FPL).

With the Atlantic hurricane season now coming to a close, business and residents in FPL’s territory have relied upon a resilient grid and rapid response to minimize storm impact. An extensive smart grid deployment (more than 4.5 million meters and 10,000 networked grid devices) underpins FPL’s grid modernization initiative. Silver Spring’s multi-application network provides the DA communications enabling monitoring and control of mission critical infrastructure ranging from fault current indicators to automated feeder switches.

The latest phase of the FPL deployment was recently highlighted during a CBS12 news story. The FPL distribution operations team member describes the automated processes of isolating faults and accelerating restoration in storm related events such as lighting strikes. The photos below illustrate several key elements of the fault location isolation and system restoration (FLISR) solution including S&C IntelliRupters enabled with Silver Spring remote bridges, networked fault circuit indicators and integration with FPL’s SCADA and distribution management systems. The fault circuit indicators continuously monitor grid characteristics communicating through Silver Spring communication modules embedded within the device. When an outage is detected the DA network delivers control signals to the automated feeder switches to isolate the fault and help ensure power continues to be delivered to the maximum number of customers in the area.

With the Silver Spring multi-application network, FPL cost effectively manages a broad range of grid reliability devices, and has been able to continuously improve key reliability metrics such as SAIFI and CAIDI. As a result, reports filed with the Florida Public Service Commission demonstrate ongoing progress in these key metrics and how the reliable power delivered by FPL contributes to regional economic development as well as overall customer satisfaction.

FPL has demonstrated the value of the smart grid and Silver Spring’s multi-application DA network to systematically increase grid reliability. They have also built confidence with their customers and regulators that they are ready for the next wave of severe weather.  You can learn more about Silver Spring’s grid management/DA solutions here and get into action with your own grid modernization initiative.

Kuljeet Kalkat is the Senior Director for Grid Management at Silver Spring Networks