Electricity infrastructure across the country is aging rapidly. This has led to electrical transmission problems and reliability issues. Upgrading electromechanical protection and control with microprocessor based equipment enables the electric transmission grid to operate within more precise limitations, increasing transmission capacity and improving the overall performance of the grid. Modernization is critical to prevent future transmission problems such as those that occurred across the Midwest on Aug. 14, 2003.

The 345 kV transmission circuits are the critical backbone of the electric grid in the Midwest. Most of Northern Indiana Public Service Company's (NIPSCO) 345 kV transmission circuits were installed in the 1970's with state of the art protective relaying existing at that time. By performing regular periodic relay maintenance (inspection, calibration, and functional testing), and by monitoring and promptly addressing performance issues with these protection schemes, the reliability and security of the NIPSCO electrical system has been maintained over the past 35 years. However, the protective relays used in many of these schemes are nearing the end of their life cycle. Furthermore, improvements in technology and the advent of the microprocessor make it possible to improve the protection, and greatly enhance the monitoring and post fault analysis tools used in system protection. The use of these technologies results in greater dependability, security, selectivity, and speed of the protection schemes. The cumulative effect produces improvements in the overall reliability of the electrical transmission and distribution system.

There are two distinct aspects of the transmission portion of this project: The first aspect relates to the modernization of the protection and control schemes of two 345KV circuits on the NIPSCO system. The second entails the installation of monitoring equipment on transmission transformers....(read more...)