Smart Wire Grid sells a device that clamps onto transmission lines to control the flow of power. Originally developed at Georgia Tech, the technology can monitor and even help redirect power flow. Once a problem has been studied at one location, the devices can be moved to other lines.

Skeptical? The idea has enough merit that Tennessee Valley Authority is piloting it and Southern Company is about to start tests. – Jesse Berst

In the TVA pilot, the Smart Wire system is installed on a 161-kilovolt transmission line near Knoxville, Tenn. The technology consists of an array of distributed series reactance units (DSRs) that attach to a transmission line. As the company explains it, the units limit the electrical current flow on the line by injecting inductive reactance. The DSRs can be operated autonomously or with full operator control and provides distributed line sensing and monitoring.

“The technology offers our transmission grid planners and operators a new tool that helps address a wide range of issues facing TVA today,” said Rob Manning, EVP and Chief Energy Delivery Officer for TVA. “The number of challenges that transmission system owners must meet increases every year. We are asked to improve grid reliability, facilitate efficient electricity markets along with integrating renewables. We think Smart Wire technology will help us do this.”

The units will be monitored for a year by the DOE’s Advanced Research Program Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) to verify performance.

Original article.