This year is going to go very well for people living in Georgia, as their power company, Georgia Power, will start to increase its reliability by completing a smart grid improvement project that's part of the Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) from the Department of Energy (DOE). The project, costing $109 million, and about half of which the company itself is funding, is one of the components of a much larger agreement between Southern Company and the DOE, which will take care of a four-state area covered by Southern Company. The funds came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act back in 2009.
One of the big highlights of Georgia Power's project is the self-healing network. So far, the company has made 73 of these networks made up of 174 feeders (three-phase power distribution channels that fan out from a substation). The self-healing network is a concept in electrical power distribution that allows for different problem areas to be isolated to prevent a blackout of an entire region. Power is consequently routed in an optimal manner that avoids going through the areas that have been deprived of the ability to carry electricity.
“These enhancements to our grid and processes are allowing us to work smarter across our system and better serve all of our customers throughout the state,” said Leslie Sibert, VP of distribution at Georgia Power. “Although our customers are already seeing a positive impact on reliability and service, this project will continue to provide economic and environmental benefits for the growing state of Georgia for years to come.”
This project, along with many others, show that innovation in the electrical industry is still possible, and that there is always room for improvement no matter how impressive a current grid is. It is also one of the rare examples in which ARRA money isn't wasted, but spent on an improvement that will benefit both the private sector and average citizens.
Edited by Alisen Downey