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Alstom Grid equipment upgrade delivers double benefit for American Electric Power and a Virginia Steel Mill

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Alstom Grid, working with American Electric Power (AEP), has completed a major on-time power system equipment upgrade for AEP unit Appalachian Power. This upgrade improves the power quality of the local electricity network while boosting production and reducing maintenance costs for a steel mill located in Roanoke, Va. The project, delivered by Alstom Grid’s North American Flexible AC Transmission System (FACTS) division, involved the refurbishment of a Static VAr Compensator (SVC) – originally installed and commissioned by Alstom more than twenty years ago. SVCs are used in electricity transmission systems and industrial plants to stabilize voltage and reduce fluctuations as part of a FACTS network.

Following a comprehensive study of the existing system and the development of detailed equipment specifications, Alstom Grid upgraded some of the major SVC components with modern replacements that were engineered, manufactured and tested at the company’s FACTS Center of Excellence in Philadelphia, Pa.

With the refurbished SVC now operational, Appalachian Power has improved the power quality of the local network with fewer instances of disruptive harmonics or voltage flicker. That improvement is credited in part to the project’s further benefit to the nearby Roanoke Bar Division of Steel Dynamics, Inc., (SDI), which produces a range of carbon-steel merchant bar products. The overhaul has improved the power profile of SDI’s electric arc furnace, making it more efficient and less expensive to operate and maintain, thereby reducing its potential to impact other customers served by Appalachian Power’s local grid. On average, based on return of experience, Alstom’s SVC projects help customers improve their furnace heat times by 10-20%.

Modernizing America’s power grid is one of the most prominent themes in our national dialogue on the need for smarter, more resilient infrastructure,” commented Michael Atkinson, President of Alstom Grid North America. “This project demonstrates how enhancing existing systems with the latest technologies can advance that push for more modern infrastructure while delivering tangible bottom-line benefits for utilities and their end customers. It also showcases the role that American manufacturing can play in upgrading the country’s energy network.

The scope of work on this refurbishment project included a new state of the art digital SVC control system, and motor control center, as well as thyristor valve assemblies, a cooling system, and a harmonic filter in the outdoor yard. Alstom will also provide Appalachian Power with 5 years of service and maintenance support for the upgraded equipment.


About Alstom

Alstom is a global leader in the world of power generation, power transmission and rail infrastructure, setting the benchmark for innovative and environmentally friendly technologies. Alstom builds the fastest train and the highest capacity automated metro in the world, provides turnkey integrated power plant solutions and associated services for a wide variety of energy sources, including hydro, nuclear, gas, coal and wind, and it offers a wide range of solutions for power transmission, with a focus on smart grids. The Group employs 93,000 people in around 100 countries. It had sales of over €20 billion and booked close to €24 billion in orders in 2012/13.

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Alstom's Mike Atkinson explains how the company is shaping the future of U.S. power grids.