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(Image courtesy of the New York Power Authority)
(Image courtesy of the New York Power Authority)

New York Power Authority awarded $250,000 to study impacts of ice on Niagara Power Plant


Fri, Feb 5th 2021 12:30 pm

Advanced monitoring for substation assets

American Public Power Association grants will fund research to improve power supply efficiency in New York state and inform public utilities across US

The New York Power Authority announced it has been awarded two grants to fund demonstration projects – one that will analyze the impact of ice on a hydropower plant and one to test an advanced technology that evaluates the health of high voltage assets in a substation. The two $125,000 grants come from the American Public Power Association’s Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments (DEED) program, which funds research, pilot projects and education to improve the operations and services of public power utilities.

“The APPA recognizes the importance of these forward-thinking projects that will improve generation and transmission operations and allow data to be shared with other utilities seeking best practices,” said Alan Ettlinger, senior director of research, technology development and innovation. “Innovative energy solutions are key to maintaining a responsible supply of affordable, clean and reliable electricity.”

NYPA will undertake the following projects:

√ Analyze the impact of ice on hydropower resources with machine learning. NYPA has had significant power generation losses due to ice blockages near intake valves in the Niagara River and has worked to address the issue with industry groups and other utilities. During the winter, water can become supercooled all the way to the bottom of the river, leading to the formation of frazil ice crystals, anchor ice, or both. Anchor and frazil ice affects water availability estimation by Niagara River Control Center and frazil ice can affect hydropower plan operation since it’s “sticky” and can result in ice formation on the plant’s water turbines. These studies will include using 3-D sonar to quantify the impact of frazil ice on the efficiency of the hydropower units and forecasting the formation of anchor and frazil ice with a look ahead of a few days to a few weeks.

√ Smart insulation condition monitoring system (CMS) for substation assets. A state-of-the-art condition monitoring system will be developed to constantly monitor the insulation condition of various high voltage assets (transformers, GIS, switchgears and cables) in a substation. The CMS consists of smart sensing, advanced noise mitigation and artificial intelligence for data interpretation. The system will use an advanced diagnostic technology that recognizes and evaluates defects and provides guidance for maintenance planning. The system will improve the power grid reliability, reduce customer outage costs, and help asset management optimize maintenance and maximize asset life.

“NYPA is an active supporter of electric utility industry research and a long-time DEED program partner,” said APPA Vice President of Technical and Operations Services Alex Hofmann. “The application of machine learning and artificial intelligence to utility operations has significant potential for increasing efficiencies, and we are very excited to work with NYPA to share the results of these innovative projects with the public power community.”

The projects are expected to last two years and NYPA expects to release study results by spring 2023.

NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80% of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. For more information, visit www.nypa.gov.

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