S&C Electric Company, a global leader in renewable energy integration, announced it was awarded a $2.6MM contract by Sweetwater Wind to upgrade a portion of their 585 MW wind farm in Sweetwater, Texas. This upgrade will enable Sweetwater Wind to meet new renewable energy generation interconnection standards that have been enacted in Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).
Wind farm power production can rapidly change due to the intermittent nature of the source â€” ultimately creating voltage instability on power grids. Last year, ERCOT revised its grid code by modifying the reactive power capability requirements. The new standards require Sweetwater Wind to provide a lagging power factor capability of 0.95 or less and a leading power factor capability of 0.95 or less at the point of interconnection (POI). Sweetwater Wind turned to S&C for a solution to meet the new standards.
"S&C worked with Sweetwater Wind to evaluate the current system and develop the best long-term solution that can quickly meet the new requirements, which is critical to avoiding production curtailments," says Dan Girard, director â€” Renewable Energy and Energy Storage Business Development, S&C. "This upgrade will help Sweetwater Wind maximize its wind project production while ensuring the grid is protected."
S&C is engineering and constructing a complete system using mechanically switched capacitors in three substations at the site. S&C is also designing and installing the control system in the plant's east substation to manage the capacitor banks and switches. S&C's unique combination of engineering expertise in power quality, consulting and analytical studies, and project management enabled S&C to design and install a control system to manage the multiple sets of capacitor banks at the POI. The project is expected to be completed by June 2013.
"As the U.S. builds upon the existing 50 GW of wind energy already connected to the grid, renewable interconnection requirements will continue to evolve," says Girard. "Renewable energy plant owners will need expert solutions that allow them to meet these changing standards while maximizing project production and return on investment."
S&C Electric Company, headquartered in Chicago, IL, is applying its heritage of innovation to address challenges facing the world's power grids and is thus shaping the future of reliable electricity delivery. The mission of employee-owned S&C is to continually develop new solutions for electricity delivery, fostering the improved efficiency and reliability required for the intelligent grid. Additional information about S&C is available at www.sandc.com.