Aging power delivery infrastructures by Willis, H. Lee; Schrieber, Randall R

By Willis, H. Lee; Schrieber, Randall R

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This is much more likely to happen in modern power systems than it was in traditional, regulated power systems, due to changes in utilization and design made in the period 1990–2000, and the more volatile operating environment of de-regulation. The reason is that modern power systems are much “leaner” than those of thirty or forty years ago, when N–1 was first developed and applied. In the 1960s through the early 1980s, electric utilities typically loaded key equipment, such as substation power transformers and downtown sub-transmission cables, to only about 2/3 or a little more (typically about 66%) of their capacity, even during peak periods.

Many utilities operate from year-to-year by revising the current year budget incrementally for the following year. Budget allocations and functions among departments are effectively institutionalized along traditional lines. • Protection and restoration practices at many utilities follow practices developed in the late 60s and early 70s. These are often incompatible with modern consumer needs of fewer interruptions and do not make use of the most modern equipment and techniques for elimination of interruption propagation through the network whenever an outage occurs.

Every major utility developed the design of its high voltage transmission grid, sub-transmission and substation systems, and other critical Aging Power Delivery Infrastructures 23 elements of its system, using this method. Nearly every utility modified the method in numerous small respects to fit its needs or preferences, but overall, this approach was universally applied. The reasons were: 1) The basic concept makes tremendous sense – design the system so that if anything goes wrong, nothing bad happens as a result.

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