Digital fault detection added to New Mexio power grid

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The digital protective relay developed by Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) in Washington can automatically trip circuit-breakers on the grid when problems arise, isolating faults and reducing maintenenace and test time.

PNM and SEL used digital simulations to test the new technology under real-life operating scenarios with numerous variables before implementing the new relays on a 345kV transmission line in New Mexico. The implementation of this equipment and its standardized design across the PNM system eliminates the need for technicians to familiarize and troubleshoot various design configurations, reducing the time needed to restore power to customers after an outage and translating into lower maintenance costs to customers.

“We are proud to be the first utility to fully integrate this grid technology across our system,” said Pat Vincent-Collawn, PNM Resources chairman, president and CEO. “This project is a clear example of how investment in technology to modernize and advance our infrastructure can improve the service we provide to customers while reducing costs.”

PNM is the first to deploy it as a fully operational protective device said Richard Kirby, senior product sales manager for Washington-based Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, which designed and built the system.

“Others are putting it on transmission lines as a pilot monitoring system, not to actually interrupt electric flow, or trip a breaker,” said Kirby.


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