Self-Healing Smart Grid System Greatly Reduces Power Outages on Campus
CHICAGO — S&C Electric Company, a smart grid leader shaping the future of power delivery, announces the successful design and completion of an S&C High-Speed Fault-Clearing System at Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) in Portales, N.M., as part of the university's plan to improve power reliability and reduce outages. S&C worked with TME, Inc. Consulting Engineers--Energy Services to develop a solution using S&C's 15-kV Remote Supervisory Vista® Underground Distribution Switchgear and advanced relays that detects and isolates underground distribution faults within a fraction of a second.
Prior to the project, ENMU's 30-year-old, 4160-volt distribution system experienced numerous prolonged outages resulting in the partial or full closure of the campus. As a result, the university replaced more than 3,750 feet of 5 kV underground electrical cable with new 15 kV cable. They also decided to utilize smart grid technology to improve its power system, ensuring better reliability throughout the campus' education, dormitory, and recreational facilities in the event of a fault.
"We wanted to make a forward-thinking investment in ENMU's infrastructure, and decided not only to replace the underground cables, but to implement a distribution system for the 21(st) century," says Ted Fares, director, Physical Plant, ENMU. "Instead of hours or days without power, our facilities now experience, at most, a few seconds of an outage before the system heals itself and brings power on again."
TME, Inc., in collaboration with S&C, engineered a looped distribution system that leverages two separate sources feeding the campus. Within the loops, nine pieces of S&C's Vista switchgear and two units of System VI™ Switchgear communicate with each other to detect faults on the underground distribution system. In most cases, if a fault is detected, the switchgear isolates the fault and reroutes power within a fraction of a second to keep ENMU's facilities running. S&C also engineered and integrated a tool that allows ENMU's facility personnel to view the status of the system in real time and control it when necessary.
"With the self-healing system, the outages that would be caused by a fault on the main feeder would be so short that they could go unnoticed. ENMU's facilities group wanted a way to monitor the status of the feeders in real time," says Wanda Reder, vice president, U.S. Power Systems Solutions, S&C. "We worked with ENMU to implement a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) interface that gathers information from the High-Speed Fault-Clearing System, and very simply and visually shows ENMU's staff if there are any feeders that have had a fault and need to be repaired."
S&C was responsible for the engineering, testing and commissioning of the entire High-Speed Fault-Clearing System. The project was completed in the first half of 2013, and the system is currently providing reliable power to ENMU's students, faculty and visitors.
About Eastern New Mexico University
ENMU is New Mexico's largest regional comprehensive university with over 5,000 students from 49 states and 17 countries. The university has three campuses throughout the state with their four-year campus located in Portales and two-year campuses in Roswell and Ruidoso. The university offers 60 associate's, bachelors and masters degrees and offers a variety of services to help students in their academic, personal, and professional lives. It is also a federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution and a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. To learn more about ENMU, visit them at www.enmu.edu.
About S&C Electric Company
S&C, with global headquarters in Chicago, USA, is applying its heritage of innovation to address challenges facing the world's power grids and is thus shaping the future of reliable electricity delivery. The mission of employee-owned S&C is to continually develop new solutions for electricity delivery, fostering the improved efficiency and reliability required for the intelligent grid. Additional information about S&C is available at www.sandc.com.
S&C Electric Company
Web Site: http://www.sandc.com