The Case for Underground Distribution

The Case for Underground Distribution

The Case for Underground Distribution

The intense heat waves of summer 2022 are further exposing the poor integrity of America’s current power grid.

Utility Dive recently published an insightful article that supports the case for transferring distribution lines underground, as places like Texas are awaiting the impending doom of possible grid outages.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency reports that 62% of all power lines in the country are overhead, and that power outages are 9 times more likely to occur when lines are conducted overhead.

In regards to worker and civilian safety, power line reliability, and resilience, Underground presents many benefits.

Learn more about strategic under-grounding and its background at the article here.

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Battery Storage Installations will Soar in 2022 and Beyond.

Battery Storage Installations will Soar in 2022 and Beyond.

Battery Storage Installations will Soar in 2022 and Beyond.

A recent story in the Wall Street Journal reports that companies like Irby are poised to install record amounts of battery storage in the coming year, citing government mandates and declining costs as reasons for significant growth in power storage.

“The U.S., which had less than a gigawatt of large battery installations in 2020—roughly enough to power 350,000 homes for a handful of hours—is on pace to add six gigawatts this year and another nine gigawatts in 2022, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence,” Jennifer Hiller and Katherine Blunt report for the Wall Street Journal. 

California is driving much of the U.S. battery market’s expansion as it races to comply with a 2018 law that requires decarbonization of its power grid by 2045. Other states also have storage mandates or targets, including New York, Virginia and Nevada, according to the U.S. Energy Storage Association.

The story says that Goldman Sachs expects the U.S. market for stationary batteries to grow from about $1 billion in 2020 to $13 billion to $14 billion by 2030.

Read the complete WSJ article here.

Irby Construction is “leading the charge” in battery storage having completed construction of the Manatee BESS earlier this month. Manatee is currently the world’s largest battery energy storage center. Read more about Manatee and see related news coverage here. 

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New Report from ACORE says Transmission Makes the Grid More Resilient to Extreme Weather

New Report from ACORE says Transmission Makes the Grid More Resilient to Extreme Weather

New Report from ACORE says Transmission Makes the Grid More Resilient to Extreme Weather

A new report, released by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) says transmission makes the power system more resilient to extreme weather.

The report details the value additional transmission would have provided during five severe weather events in Texas, the Northeast, and the Midwest between 2014 and 2021.

For example, according to the report, each additional gigawatt (GW) of transmission capacity connecting the Texas power grid (ERCOT) with neighboring states in the Southeast could have saved nearly US$1 billion and kept the heat on for approximately 200,000 Texas homes during Winter Storm Uri in February of 2021.

ACORE President and CEO Gregory Wetstone commented in an article in T&D World.

“As severe weather events become more frequent, our balkanized power grid is increasingly unable to deliver reliable electricity to consumers who need it,” said Wetstone. “This report demonstrates that we are already paying an enormous price for our lack of interregional transmission and that the benefits of a robust transmission grid would quickly surpass the cost of constructing new lines. It is time to implement pro-transmission policies to enable the investments we need to strengthen our grid, lower costs for consumers and reduce power outages during extreme weather events.”

Read the T&D World story here.

View the report from ACORE here.

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Thought Leaders Cover the Case for Transmission Build Out

Thought Leaders Cover the Case for Transmission Build Out

Thought Leaders Cover the Case for Transmission Build Out

Due to Climate and energy goals on which the Biden administration is focussed, transmission development and power grid infrastructure are in the spotlight. Capital and interest are flowing toward necessary renewables-adjacent transmission projects.

A recent white paper authored by Daniel HaganJohn Forbush, Aaron Bryant covers the business case for transmission projects connecting rural renewables to urban usage. It also covers regulatory issues, legislation, and funding.

For a good read on the future of transmission, check out the full story here.

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Manatee Battery Energy Storage Center 75% Complete

Manatee Battery Energy Storage Center 75% Complete

Manatee Battery Energy Storage Center 75% Complete

On August 12, 2021, Florida Power and Light released an update on the progress of construction at the Manatee Battery Energy Storage Center project. Fox 13 Tampa Bay ran a related story giving viewers a video tour of the work in progress. Watch the story here. Written news stories also appeared on the Power Engineering website and in the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

When complete the battery system will consist of 132 energy storage containers organized across a 40-acre plot of land that’s the size of 30 football fields. The FPL release explains that the first of more than 50,000 battery modules have been installed. Each battery module can store the equivalent of 2,000 iPhone batteries. When complete the Manatee Energy Storage Center is set to have a 409-megawatt (MW) capacity, delivering 900 megawatt-hours (MWh) of solar energy – enough to power approximately 329,000 homes for more than two hours.

Completion will also allow FPL to retire the existing power plant in Manatee County. The project is expected to save $50 million and reduce 1 million tons of carbon.

Irby Construction is proud to be a part of this monumental project and its continued partnership with FPL. The scope of our work at Manatee Battery Energy Storage Center is detailed in our project profile.

Featured photo courtesy of FPL

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One Way or Another Upgrades are on the Horizon.

One Way or Another Upgrades are on the Horizon.

One Way or Another Upgrades are on the Horizon.

A story published yesterday in The New York Times covers the evolving conversation around exactly how we upgrade the nation’s utility grid. President Biden and energy companies are pushing for new transmission lines to carry clean energy from solar and wind generation. Others suggest that the construction of more solar panels, batteries, and other localized energy sources is a better path.

Everyone agrees upgrades, action, and construction are necessary. The conversation centers around speed, cost, and exactly what infrastructure will serve the country best in the long term.

Whether building transmission lines or battery storage plants, Irby Construction is contributing to the cause of a reliable, resilient, and robust future for our electric grid.

In June the Biden administration secured $73 billion for thousands of miles of new power lines in an infrastructure proposal the president and senators from both parties agreed to.

Read the full New York Times story here.