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ABB helps save over 900 miles of distribution lines in Texas

10/7/2014 ABB Press Releases

 2014-10-07 - As a major renewable energy transmission project is rolled out across Texas, Station Service Voltage Transformers from ABB are helping deliver wind power from remote locations.

It has been over half a decade in the making, but the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) project is now connecting the wind energy generated at remote wind farm locations with some of the most populated areas in the state of Texas, US. The Public Utilities Commission in Texas initiated CREZ in 2008 in response to legislative action, with the aim of transmitting around 18,500 megawatts of wind power from West Texas and the Texas Panhandle to areas such as Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio further east.

One challenge was posed by the remote location of the wind farms and the erratic nature of wind power, which are incompatible with a substation’s requirement for full energy backup for control systems at all times. Redundancy in the substation’s low-voltage control energy system is critical to keep the substation working. To achieve this, the conventional options are a power transformer, diesel generator or a distribution grid network dedicated to this application – expensive options, especially when the required distribution lines come from distant substations, which could represent about 2 – 3 percent of the overall project investment. 

Treading a clean energy path 

This is why two important Texas utilities with CREZ subprojects turned to ABB to develop an innovative clean energy solution: the Station Service Voltage Transformer.This is a single-unit solution that provides reliable power from the high-voltage transmission line to any required low voltage. Integrated inside the substation, it gives the utility full control of the energy supply in a limited space and directly from the adjoining high-voltage transmission grid.

This solution is now in service with over 30 362kV units having been delivered and installed in Texas. Over 900 miles of distribution lines – representing around $30 million in savings – could be eliminated from the project due to sourcing power right from the transmission line. The use of polluting technologies was also reduced, entirely in keeping with the CREZ project’s overall aims of embarking on a new clean energy path.

To find out more about this project, click here.