Spokane Smart Circuits project moves forward   

Tags: Avista Utilities, Smart Grid, Electricity

Smart grid work
Avista crews adding new,
larger power lines to area
in North Spokane.
Post by Hugh Imhof

Avista’s Spokane Smart Circuits project is officially off and rolling. On March 23, 2010 The U.S. Department of Energy and Avista signed off on an agreement that will start $20 million in investment grant funds flowing to our community.

The Department of Energy chose Avista’s smart grid project to receive the largest matching grant in Washington.  Avista will contribute $22 million for a total planned project investment of $42 million. The overall project includes the deployment of a distribution management system, intelligent end devices and a communications network along 59 distribution circuits and 14 substations, which will benefit more than 110,000 electric customers

Since January Avista line crews have been preparing the distribution system for the new hardware and software additions that will be elements of the Smart Circuits project. The crews have upgraded power lines along 5.5 miles of the system.

Smart grid work
The cross-arm extensions were
added to this utility pole, so crews
can add new, higher capacity power
lines, while keeping customers in
The new gear to be installed includes smart switches, transformers, regulators, communication devices, capacitors and more. It will take about two years to install all the new equipment and bring the system to functionality.

Once everything is completed, the project will reduce energy losses, lower system costs, increase reliability and enhance the ability to integrate distributed renewable generation resources. Customers will see fewer and shorter outages. The system efficiencies will save about 42,000 Megawatt hours a year and will prevent some 15,000 tons of carbon from being released into the atmosphere from power generation.

It is a complicated project involving many individuals and teams from throughout the company. In addition to technical design and engineering the project requires careful timing of purchasing, equipment staging, testing, training, crew scheduling, hiring personnel and much more.

We’ll post updated information about the project as it moves along further.
Posted by  System Account  on  3/30/2010
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