A low cost technology, which is highly reliable, with short lead times and ease of scaling is likely to be adopted to address the increase in energy demands in the US. Smart Wire Grid, Inc. provides such a technology as a solution through a device known as “Smart Wires”. Smart Wires belongs to the family of Distributed FACTS (Flexible Alternating Current Transmission System) technologies that realizes effective power flow control in meshed networks.
Smart Wires technology converts the existing transmission system to a “Smart Asset” that can monitor, regulate power flow and effectively shift excess power to under-utilized network. In the proposed technology, standard transmission lines are to be augmented with a large number of Discrete Series Reactor (DSR). The modules are directly fixed on to the conductor. Each of the DSR modules in a line is designed to be autonomously switched on at a particular current level. In a meshed network as Smart Wires reaches its thermal rating, more DSRs are autonomously switched on to increase its impedance. This ultimately pushes the power to alternate low impedance lines. With increased power transfer in meshed networks, the average line utilization is substantially increased. Below is a picture of smart wire module clamped on a conductor.
Smart Wire modules are self powered using line current and do not require communications among devices. The modules operate at line potential and eliminate isolation issues which makes them more viable. The target lifetime of the product is in excess of twenty years with zero maintenance. The prototype of the device has been fabricated, tested under high voltage, high current under normal and fault conditions. In transmission networks in the US which are overstressed, Smart Wires potentially increase asset utilization, would postpone transmission upgrades and result in significant transmission investment savings.