Innovation at Work

Innovation at WNH

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Waterloo North Hydro (WNH) strives to provide high-quality service and reliability to customers across our service territory. Through recent partnerships and projects, WNH has embraced and harnessed new technologies to improve the service we provide while also decreasing our impact on the environment.

Distribution System Automation and Fault Location, Isolation & Service Restoration (FLISR) Project

FLISR Innovation ProjectWNH has used technological development and automation to ensure our customers continue to receive reliable service, while also decreasing the frequency and severity of power interruptions to our customers.

In 2018, WNH partnered with Survalent to integrate Fault Location, Isolation & Service Restoration (FLISR) into its existing n Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system through a pilot project which saw this technology added to six WNH feeders in semi-automatic mode. Semi-automatic mode helps to isolate the fault, but requires operator approval before executing any field devices. The initial success of the pilot project saw FLISR expanded, in fully automated mode, across WNH’s service territory in 2019. Fully-automated mode allowed SCADA controllable devices to operate automatically when a fault is detected on an adjacent device. This activation automatically reroutes the power to restore power to as many customers as quickly as possible after an outage occurs. The fully-automated mode is the quickest, most efficient option for restoring power as FLISR will isolate the faulted portion and provide restoration, often in less than one minute, without operator input. More than 95 percent of customers are currently covered by some form of automation through FLISR and Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS). WNH intends to have 100 percent of its 13.8 kV and 27.6 kV feeders FLISR enabled by the end of 2023.

From 2015-2020, investments in technology, specifically FLISR and the ADMS, have reduced customer outage minutes by approximately 23 percent, or 8.131 million minutes. Through the expansion of FLISR across WNH’s service territory and the adaption of fully-automated mode, WNH was able to decrease outage minutes in 2019 by more than 30 percent over the number of minutes that would have occurred without the system in place. This decrease represents 1.6 million minutes saved. In 2020, the combination of FLISR and the ADMS has saved customers more than 1.9 million minutes, a decrease of 36 percent over what customers would have experienced. Operationally, FLISR and the ADMS also provides improved resourced deployment, as a control room operator can more easily isolate faults, allowing them to dispatch resources to more precise locations across smaller areas. In addition to the staffing and cost benefits, FLISR also ensures that restoration times are not impacted nearly as much by the time of day, or the day of the week.

For more information on the successes of the FLISR project, visit wnhydro.com/automation.

Innovia Geo-Pile Research Project

Innovia Geo-Pile Project Underway

WNH is proud to partner with Innovia GEO, as well as Grand River Energy, Pileworks, WalterFedy, Ryerson University, and HMC to complete the GEO-Pile Demonstration project at the Eby Rush Transformer Station.

The demonstration is the first of its kind to test Innovia’s novel geo-piles.

Geo-piles are a new type of in-ground heat exchanger. They utilize existing structural equipment to replace conventional geothermal equipment - yielding two building functions from the same installation cost. 

The piles have several benefits, including: 

  • Improving the reliability of thermal energy systems, while reducing the energy demand.
  • Opportunity for smart building integration with a custom control system and monitoring.
  • Increased property value by creation of on-site thermal energy generation system.  

The project at the Eby Rush Transformer station features a geo-pile array that has been installed to provide heating and cooling to our station building,

In addition to its benefits for the building, the site will also act as a state-of-the-art research centre. The site has a loop geothermal system so the performance of the two systems can be easily compared in a controlled environment by using the same building, site, and climate.

Data collected at the site will be used in ongoing academic research and will help with the development of novel control strategies to further improve the efficiency and sustainability of geo-pile systems.

This project is another example of WNH embracing geothermal energy projects, which have previously been utilized for the operations centre  building and other sub-stations.

For more information, please visit https://www.innoviageo.com/projects.

Please click here to see a media release regarding the Innovia Geo-Pile project.

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