Avangrid, a US-based diversified energy company has announced an investment of about $2.5bn through the next 10 years to strengthen its power grid and make its overall power infrastructure more resilient to severe storms.
The Iberdrola subsidiary said that it has developed a comprehensive and robust resiliency plan called Transforming Energy in this regard. Transforming Energy will cover Avangrid Networks companies such as NYSEG, RG&E, and Central Maine Power.
Avangrid said that the extent and scope of hardening and remediation efforts will vary for each company based on its specific requirements and criteria, and will be subject to regulatory approval.
Included in the Transforming Energy plan are steps to be taken to make the power grid to better withstand storms and also for using technology to help customers in managing their energy consumption in a better way.
Avangrid Networks CEO Bob Kump said: “Over the past 16 months alone, Avangrid Networks’ utilities in Maine, New York and Connecticut have incurred over $450 million in storm damage and restoration costs.
“As these weather patterns become the new norm, it is imperative that we implement a long-term plan to harden our grid and help ensure that our customers experience the level of reliability they expect from their energy company regardless of the weather.”
One of the key steps to be taken up is the full implementation of automated metering infrastructure (AMI). Avangrid said that AMI will enable its energy companies with greater visibility to quickly identify issues during storms.
The overall $2.5bn investment includes an existing $500m proposal in New York for the full implementation of AMI by NYSEG and RG&E, said the company.
Avangrid added that AMI gives various benefits like faster response to storm restoration and also helps customers to better manage their energy consumption via access to hourly usage data.
The company will also be largely focusing on addressing tree-related interruptions, which are one of the main causes of power outages.
According to Kump, trees cause 80% of storm-related outages, with more than half of that caused by trees planted outside of right-of-way.
Kump said: “That’s why we will look to improve our vegetation management protocols, working collaboratively with local municipalities, public works entities and individual customers to tackle potential problems both inside and outside of our right-of-way.”