July 27, 2018 -- The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has begun implementing continuous protection system monitoring to survey the equipment health of transformers and protective relays at its switchyards and substations throughout the state. As a program under NYPA’s Smart Generation and Transmission strategic initiative, implementation of the system marks a significant step forward in delivering on NYPA’s Strategic Vision 2020 and advancing Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to strengthen and modernize New York’s energy system.
“Implementing continuous protection system monitoring is yet another milestone in our journey to become the first end‑to‑end digital utility,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA CEO and president. “This allows us to monitor the operational health of our generation, transmission and substation assets so we can continue to deliver reliable power to our customers.”
NYPA owns and operates approximately one‑third of New York’s high‑voltage power lines. These lines transmit power from NYPA’s three large hydroelectric generation facilities as well as wind power generating facilities in the state, connecting nearly 7,000 megawatts of renewable energy to New York State’s power grid. This includes connecting more than 6,200 megawatts of hydroelectric power and about 700 megawatts, or more than a third, of New York State‑generated wind energy to the grid.
The new monitoring technology - composed of both software and hardware controllers - continuously checks the operational health of the protection systems including instrument transformers that measure system voltage and current and the protective relays, which are designed to open the high voltage circuit breakers within fractions of a second when a problem in the high voltage circuit is detected. The intent of these protection systems is to protect workers, to limit damage to the equipment, and prevent the problem from spreading to other areas of the transmission network. The monitoring system uses real‑time automation controllers to compare voltages and currents between relays that share a common point on the electrical distribution system. If discrepancies exceed acceptable ranges, system operators are notified so they can address the issue and avoid unplanned shutdowns or outages.
NYPA first began deploying protective system monitoring at several of its small power plants near New York City. The system was installed at the Blenheim‑Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project in Schoharie County last year and NYPA is currently working to implement the system at its Clark Energy Center, near Utica. Implementation will conclude at NYPA’s St. Lawrence-FDR and Niagara Power Projects in the near future.
In addition to sending monitoring data to local plant operators, program engineers are also working on plans to send the data to NYPA’s Integrated Smart Operations Center (iSOC) in White Plains, for additional trend analysis and predictive monitoring, enabling NYPA to further realize the benefits of digitization.