Featured guest blog post by Carol Obando-Derstine, regional affairs director, PPL Electric Utilities
The power grid of today is changing right along with the energy landscape and PPL Electric Utilities is keeping pace by using new technology to help keep the grid reliable for everyone.
One example is our new battery project in the Harrisburg region. In a distribution line right of way in Perry County, we’ve taken the concept of battery backup and meshed it with the grid of the future.
The result? A 50-kilowatt battery will soon be operating on a power line serving a small number of customers who have experienced prior outages. In the event of an outage on the line serving their homes, the battery can automatically provide up to six hours of power to the customers on the line. It also can help regulate line voltage, another plus for reliability.
It’s the first of its kind on our grid and we’re exploring other locations to use this same system.
In addition to the battery project, I can tell you we’re also working on ways to allow more and more customers to install renewable energy like solar panels and to better manage that power when it comes onto the grid. These kinds of energy sources, also called distributed energy resources (DER), are gaining in popularity as they grow more affordable and efficient.
There are more than 8,000 customer owned or third-party DER systems currently connected to our grid, the vast majority of them solar. And we typically get 1,000-1,500 new applications a year.
Lastly, we’ve implemented a system that alerts our grid operators to downed power lines and gives us the ability to cut power to those downed lines. That’s a big plus for safety. We still want customers to report downed wires, to stay away and always treat any downed line as energized.
We’re doing all this because we know that if you wait to see what the future holds, it’ll pass you by. These advancements show we’re ready for a future that uses technology like never before to keep the grid reliable, resilient and safe. We’re working toward industry-leading solutions that work for the long term.
Millions of people in central and eastern Pennsylvania depend on us every day and we’re proud to power their lives.