NYPA working with Ohio State on studying hurricane impact to transmission

utility worker nov transmission elp

The New Yorkers are working with the Buckeyes to figure out how to beat the hurricanes.

The New York Power Authority announced this week it will partner with Ohio State University to study the effects of hurricanes on transmission lines and towers. The ultimate goal is coming up with a more resilient power grid throughout the U.S.

The three-year project is being funded by a $529,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Ohio State researchers will develop a new class of advanced computerized models and scaled three-dimensional “towers” to study the effects of powerful storms and provide new insights into various complex wind-induced behaviors of these systems.

“We know how much damage hurricanes can cause to transmission lines and towers yet it isn’t feasible for any utility to upgrade its entire infrastructure,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “However, being able to more easily identify vulnerable systems and provide retrofit solutions would be a cost-effective way to upgrade the national network.”

Hurricane Sandy hit landfall in late October, 2012, ultimately causing more than 8 million customer outages in New York, New Jersey, New England and mid-Atlantic states, according to a report by the North American Electric Reliability Corp. Damages cost New York alone about $42 billion, bringing down more than 100 transmission lines, transformer banks and other equipment.

Abdollah Shafieezadeh, the Ohio State professor leading the project, reached out to NYPA as well as American Electric Power, a utility serving 11 Southern and Midwestern states, and the Bonneville Power Administration, a federal power marketing administration in the Pacific Northwest, to take part in the study. He wanted to make sure different regions were represented and get a practical perspective from hands-on researchers and engineers.

“The outcomes of the research will significantly improve the hurricane resilience of transmission power systems and power grids in the U.S., and reduce the impact of outages on the functioning of other critical infrastructures such as telecommunication, water and transportation systems,” said Shafieezadeh, who expects to complete the research by August 2019.

NYPA is the nation's largest state public power organization, through the operation of its 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.

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