The project was prompted by problems with ENMU’s 30-year-old, 4160-volt distribution system, which suffered several prolonged power outages resulting in the partial or full closure of the campus.
In upgrading the system, the university replaced more than 3,750 feet of 5 kV underground electrical cable with new 15 kV cable. They also decided to utilize smart grid technology to improve its power system, ensuring better reliability throughout the campus’ education, dormitory, and recreational facilities in the event of a fault.
ENMU physical plant director Ted Fares says, “We wanted to make a forward-thinking investment in ENMU’s infrastructure, and decided not only to replace the underground cables, but to implement a distribution system for the twenty-first century. Instead of hours or days without power, our facilities now experience, at most, a few seconds of an outage before the system heals itself and brings power on again.”
S&C also engineered and integrated a tool that allows ENMU’s facility personnel to view the status of the system in real time and control it when necessary.
Wanda Reder, S&C vice president of United States power systems solutions, adds: “With the self-healing system, the outages that would be caused by a fault on the main feeder would be so short that they could go unnoticed. ENMU’s facilities group wanted a way to monitor the status of the feeders in real time. We worked with ENMU to implement a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) interface that gathers information from the High-Speed Fault-Clearing System, and very simply and visually shows ENMU’s staff if there are any feeders that have had a fault and need to be repaired.”