American Electric Power (AEP), one of the largest electric utilities in the U.S., has chosen Siemens to modernize its high-voltage direct current (HVDC) back-to-back link at its 600-MW Welsh HVDC station in Titus County, Texas.
Siemens will upgrade its 20-year-old system by installing new control and protection technologies, replacing the cooling, heating and ventilation, and incorporating new harmonic filters and shunt reactors. Managing harmonics will maintain power quality standards and ensure the efficient and reliable operation of the Welsh HVDC station. This will be the first Siemens mid-life control and protection HVDC modernization in the U.S.
"Modernizing these critical HVDC systems allows AEP to provide more reliable, consistent power to their customers in the South," said Tim Dawidowsky, CEO of Business Unit Transmission Solutions within Siemens Energy Management Division. "We're extremely proud that Siemens is able to continue its 20-year technology partnership with AEP by installing state-of-the-art technologies that help utilities meet the challenges of our modern and continuously evolving grid."
Siemens installed the original HVDC classic station in 1994. The new upgrade will be fully completed by May 2017.
The grids of the independent system operators (ISOs), the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and Southwest Power Pool, both have seen major changes in how way power is dispatched and network operation since the original Welsh facility was installed in northeast Texas. These changes have led to increased levels of harmonics on the systems. Harmonics result in a disruption to the normal operation of the network that can lead to interruptions of the power supply. The new harmonic filters being supplied by Siemens will help the system operators control the increased level of harmonics and create more reliable power delivery.
The latest Siemens SIMATIC TDC controls, included as part of the modernization project, are a fully digital offering resulting in faster and more accurate operation. The controls will improve the reliability and availability of the station to facilitate power exchange between ERCOT and the Southwest Power Pool networks.
In addition, the new harmonic filters will allow the plant to accommodate to changes in the operation of the connected networks that have increased the level of harmonics since the plant was initially built.