Minnesota Power partners with Smart Wires to optimize power grid

Published on September 30, 2016 by Robert Moore

Minnesota Power and Smart Wires announced a partnership on Tuesday, releasing plans to deploy an innovative solution to optimize the flow of the power grid using devices installed directly on existing power lines that act as valves for electricity.

The first deployment of Smart Wires at Minnesota Power is estimated to be finished by the end of 2016, and will employ Smart Wires PowerLine Guardian technology. Smart Wires is a leading provider of power flow control technology for energy transmission systems.

PowerLine Guardians are devices placed directly on power lines to control the flow of electricity. The devices can be used to relieve heavily loaded power lines by shifting power onto underutilized power lines within the grid. The devices can be operated remotely or programed to automatically activate, allowing real-time response to line conditions.

“With Smart Wires we are able to optimize the use of our existing infrastructure, enabling us to improve the overall utilization of our assets and to save our customers money by deferring the need for costly transmission upgrades,” Chairman, President and CEO of ALLETE Al Hodnik said. “These innovative solutions fit seamlessly into our Energy Forward strategy to create a smarter, stronger, cleaner energy future while efficiently delivering the safe and reliable power our customers rely upon.”

Smart Wires will offer Minnesota Power flexibility when addressing the current and future requirement of the grid. As the grid evolves, the devices can adapt to the changing conditions of the network. The technology can also be relocated from one area to another if issues emerge elsewhere on the grid.