Aging power delivery infrastructures by H Lee Willis; Randall R Schrieber; Gregory V Welch

By H Lee Willis; Randall R Schrieber; Gregory V Welch

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Rose's. 47kV-distribution transformer. 47 kV (the primary distribution voltage) the 40 MW is split into six parts, each about 7 MW, with each 7 MVA part routed onto a different distribution feeder. Mrs. Rose's power flows along one particular feeder for two miles, until it gets to within a few hundred feet of her home. Here, a much smaller amount of power, 50 kVA (sufficient for perhaps ten homes), is routed to a service transformer, one of several hundred scattered up and down the length of the feeder.

And, on its own, the obsolete system layout creates operating and reliability challenges. Both the problem and its solutions are complicated because they interact so strongly with both the other three causes of the aging infrastructure problem, and with many other aspects of the power delivery utility's operation. Generally, the solution is some combination of: a) Somehow obtaining a few new sites and ROW to improve the system layout, b) Use of innovative means of squeezing more capacity into existing sites, and most important, c) Optimized configuration of substation switching and buswork, and primary feeder-level switching, based on sound reliability-based engineering (to see discussed below).

Certainly, to some extent, the use of the out-dated engineering methods cited earlier could be characterized as part of this problem. Particularly, the considerable resistance to new ideas that prevents many utilities from fully adopting new reliability approaches (Contributed Cause 3, above) and distribution planning practices and guidelines (Contributing Cause 4, above) is mostly due to cultural resistance to a change in institutionalized values and methods. However, the authors have identified those as separate issues - methodology, rather than culture ~ in order to focus attention on broader issues.

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