Minnesota Power Deploys Smart Wires for Grid Optimization

Will save customers money by deferring needs for costly transmission upgrades

Minnesota Powers and Smart Wires announced today their partnership to deploy an innovation solution for optimizing the flow of power on the grid.

Smart Wires is a leading provider of power flow control technology for transmission systems.

The first deployment of Smart Wires at Minnesota Power is intended to be completed by the end of 2016 and will utilize Smart Wires Power Line Guardian technology. 

PowerLine Guardians are devices that are installed directly on existing power lines and essentially act as valves for electricity. They can be implemented to relieve heavily loaded power lines by pushing power onto other, underutilized lines on the grid. They can also be controlled remotely by the grid operator or programmed to activate automatically, responding to real-time 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,” said Al Hodnik, Chairman, CEO, and President of ALLETE. “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.”

As the grid evolves, the Smart Wires solution can be easily scaled to accommodate changing conditions on the network. The technology is also easily redeployable and can be moved from one location to another to address emerging issues elsewhere on the grid.

By deploying Smart Wires, Minnesota Power joins a group of leading utilities leveraging these solutions to solve a host of unique challenges. Additionally, Smart Wires solutions are typically more cost effective than conventional system upgrades like reconductoring or building new lines.