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Eversource Energy Center



All New Projects


With a focus on structural and electrical hardening and vegetation management, the Eversource Energy Center is funding three new projects for the period of October 2016 to December 2017. The projects explore improvements to be gained from investing in these intervention strategies that improve reliability.

Suresh Nair (PI), Paul Borochin (co-PI)
“Identifying Continuation and Recommended Funding Levels of Resiliency Programs Beyond 2017”
The results of Eversource’s $437 million System Resiliency Plan running 2012 through 2017, have been impressive to date. With a 50% improvement in overall reliability in Connecticut over the last five years, customers were able to count on reliable 99.98 percent of the time. Examples of resilience activities include structural hardening, electrical hardening measures, and strategic vegetation management practices in close coordination with town officials.

This study is focused on determining which of the resilience programs should be continued beyond 2017 to achieve maximum customer benefit. By identifying the effectiveness of individual resilience programs, we will contribute to a continued proactive approach for system investments and enhancements.

The project is exploring two approaches:
• A stochastic dynamic programming model – evaluating all possible combinations of resilience activities to find a solution that minimizes outages and maximizes reliability
• A decision tree, real options valuation approach – using fixed rules and costs to determine optimal courses of action

Fred Carstensen (PI), Peter Gunther (co-PI)
“The Benefit of Investing in Resiliency: A Dynamic Economic Analysis”
Reliable energy is a driver of business and economic growth. This study evaluates the benefits of a resilient electric distribution system and the relationship to Connecticut’s appeal as a great state to locate and operate businesses of all sizes.

This study will evaluate an array of Eversource’s investment strategies to determine linkages to business productivity and avoided downtime, job creation, potential growth in gross state product, and enhancements to state and municipal revenues. The study will include projections of additional benefits for homeowners when storms do not result in an outage.

The study is analyzing two significant areas of benefit:
• The avoided costs resulting from improved reliability
• The specific analysis of the resiliency in the face of major storms

Ross Bagtzoglou (PI), Wei Zhang (co-PI), Peng Zhang (co-PI), David Wanik (co-PI), Osvaldo Pensado (co-PI)
“Evaluation of Grid Resilience Activities with a Total System Performance Model.”
This project is identifying the contribution of resilience interventions (i.e. tree trimming, installation of stronger poles, distribution system design improvements, and automation devices) for system-level power grid resiliency to prevent or shorten outages. We also focus on the interventions’ relationship to distribution system operational costs including utility crews and equipment. Greenwich, Connecticut, has been selected as a demonstration site utilizing high-resolution GIS data on the infrastructure and surrounding vegetation.

The specific objectives of the project are to:
• Capture the effect of resilience interventions on the occurrence of outages and effects on reliability metrics
• Conduct “what if scenario” studies to optimize the remaining or an expanded resilience budget
• Identify other modules or analyses that can be integrated into this modular approach

3-D Imaging for Modernization

As millions of people are seeing the world with the help of Google Street View, smart phones, virtual reality, and high-tech graphics, the Eversource Energy Center through this 3-D modeling research project is turning data into decision making.

Jason Parent (PI), John C. Volin (co-PI), Emmanouil N. Anagnostou (co-PI), David Wanik (co-PI), Tom Meyer (co-PI), Wei Zhang (co-PI), Robert Fahey (co-PI)
“Further Evaluation of LiDAR and Alternative Technologies for Monitoring Roadside Vegetation and Utility Infrastructure”
This project is helping Eversource determine the most cost-effective suite of remote sensing tools for monitoring infrastructure and vegetation, reducing costs of data acquisition and assessing pole integrity, and optimizing trim cycles and data acquisition intervals based on vegetation growth rates.
The specific objectives of the project are to:
• Evaluate Geiger LiDAR and photogrammetrically-derived (aerial- and ground-based) 3-D point clouds for ability to detect utility poles, lines and vegetation
• Evaluate feasibility of manual utility pole mapping and inventory using 1) Google Earth street view and 2) spherical imagery collected during LiDAR pilot study
• Further develop algorithms for extraction of infrastructure and vegetation from 3-D point clouds as well as feature attributes
• Assess regrowth of vegetation after Standard Maintenance Trimming (SMT) and Enhanced Tree Trimming (ETT)
• Further develop pole structural integrity models

This project expands the existing LiDAR pilot research with a consideration of complementary or alternative technologies to develop new in-house capabilities for processing 3-D data, pole integrity models, and assessing vegetation annual growth rates after trimming.

Climate Change and Flooding

The power of water is evident in the lives of millions of people where oceans, rivers, streams, and storms meet, resulting in flooding, damage, replenished water levels and reservoirs, among other outcomes. Today, the Eversource Energy Center is undertaking a deliberate study of this critical natural resource and its potential impact on electric grid ground-level infrastructure in coastal and riverside areas.

Xinyi Shen (PI), Efthymios Nikolopoulos (co-PI)
“Evaluation of Substations Vulnerability of Flooding in Current and Climate Change Scenarios.”
Eversource Energy has substations located within floodplain areas that are vulnerable to extreme events and climate change effects. This project is developing an early warning system by integrating existing meteorological, hydrological and hydraulic models to estimate potential damage and risk under design flood (specified frequency) and storm scenario conditions at given locations. The 2011 and 2012 tropical storms (Irene and Sandy) in the Northeast were unprecedented in their severity and closeness in timing.

The specific objectives of the project are to:
• Develop accurate 100- and 200-year flood frequencies and extreme event scenarios (Category 2 and 3 hurricanes)
• Integrate multi-year atmospheric reanalysis with a physically based distributed hydrologic simulation model and flow observation network data
• Integrate high-resolution atmospheric simulations of Category 2 and 3 hurricanes with the distributed hydrologic model
• Estimate the risk of failure (overtopping and break) for a nearby dam during flood peaks and evaluate the flooding vulnerability of Freight St. Substation
• Evaluate the inundated area at Branford Substation during flood peaks

Investigating Geomagnetic Disturbances

The sun’s solar flares have the potential to interrupt electric and telecommunication networks on a global scale. Investigating alternatives to the ways we transmit bulk power today, this research project is diving into the technological advancements that are able to withstand the force of the sun.

Yang Cao (PI)
“HVDC Grid Hardening against Geomagnetic Disturbance.”
High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) applications and flexible alternative current transmission systems have been integrated in the Northeastern United States and Canada power grid for almost 25 years. There is an increasing interest in using clean energies such as hydropower and wind in New England, and HVDC lines provide a desirable option for transmitting bulk power over long distances. Similarly, HVDC submarine cables may be the only technical option for transmitting power generated by offshore wind resources. Research shows New England is the most susceptible area in the United States to geomagnetic disturbance (GMD), yet the GMD impacts on HVDC systems have not yet been simulated nor investigated in detail.

The specific objectives of the project are to:
• Identify potential impacts of GMD on one of the HVDC systems and on monopole operation
• Produce a guide for Eversource personnel on optimal deployment of blocking devices based on a predictive toolbox for GMD impact for HVDC/HVAC systems
• Produce a comprehensive state-of-the-art report on the sensitivity of coastal areas to GMD

Rooftop Solar Interconnection

Peng Zhang (PI), Marina Astitha (co-PI)
“Grid-Side System Enhancements to Integrate Distributed Energy Resources.”
Power distribution grids have been severely impacted by ubiquitous integration of distributed energy resources (DERs), the majority of which are photovoltaic (PV) units. For example, as of June 2016, there are over 15,000 residential solar PV projects installed in Connecticut, and research shows over 4,600 additional projects are in progress. This number is projected to quadruple within the next four years. Nationwide, a new PV was interconnected to the distribution grids every two minutes in 2015, a speed that will increase due to the drop of PV costs (down to $0.06/kWh in 2020 without incentives, predicted by the United States Department of Energy).

The specific objectives of the project are to:
• Mitigate negative impact from high penetration of intermittent resources
• Develop new methods and analytic approaches to enable successful future wide-scale deployment of DERs
• Improve grid resilience, voltage management, network efficiency and grid stability

Published: December 19, 2016

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