A new tool to improve utility resiliency. (Did you know about fully submersible switchgear?)


Quick Take:  I recently had lunch with John Englander, the author of High Tide On Main Street: Rising sea level and the coming coastal crisis. In brief, it's worse than you realize. And the United States has the most to lose. Although other countries have huge swaths subject to flooding, nobody else has as much high-value real estate perched in zones that will soon be underwater. (Miami could be gone as soon as 2050. Because it's built on porous limestone, it can't even do Dutch-style dikes and pumps.)


Nor are coastal cities the only ones at risk of flooding and severe weather. So what to do? One piece of the solution is to buy flood-resistant gear, which is why I want you to pay attention to the press release below. As S&C Electric's Tim Qualheim points out, many communities are eager to see power lines buried as a way to reduce weather-related outages. But that doesn't work if the equipment you put underground will be damaged by flooding.


S&C's new product is completely submersible. It's resistant to water - even saltwater - and to motor oil, cleaning solvents and other corrosive elements. Products like these give utilities more tools to improve resiliency. And while we're talking about resiliency, notice S&C's accompanying 250-kW storage management system, which can provide backup power when outages do occur. - Jesse Berst


S&C Introduces New Underground Switchgear and 250-kW Storage Management System to Help Utilities Increase Power System Resilience, Adapt to Changing Industry


CHICAGO, April 15, 2014 - Today at the IEEE PES T&D Conference and Exposition, S&C Electric Company, a smart grid leader shaping the future of power delivery, announces two new products designed to improve power system reliability: Vista® SD Underground Distribution Switchgear and the PureWave® SMS-250 Storage Management System.


"The industry landscape is changing rapidly with new technology and new expectations from utility customers and regulators,” says Tim Qualheim, vice presidentâ€"Strategic Solutions, S&C. "Our new portfolio additions will help utilities improve the reliability and efficiency of power systems, even in the face of challenges including extreme weather and greater use of distributed renewable generation.”


Next-Generation Switchgear

Vista® SD Underground Distribution Switchgear is S&C's new platform of medium-voltage switchgear for modern power systems. Vista SD is designed to withstand difficult conditions, ensuring the product performs as expected in harsh conditions resulting from weather or other environmental factors. This is an especially important feature for applications in subsurface vaults or where flooding is a concern.


"Communities worldwide are actively working to reduce the impact of storms and natural disasters by hardening critical infrastructure like the electric power system,” says Phil Fahey, vice presidentâ€"Switching and Protection Products, S&C. "Vista SD Switchgear gives utilities a new option to increase power system resilience. It helps protect against one of the biggest reliability challenges to underground power systems: flooding.”


Vista SD is available at ratings of 17.5 kV and 29 kV max, in both pad-mounted and vault-mounted styles, with options for power operation.  It features elbow-connected components encapsulated in environmentally friendly solid-dielectric insulation, which provides a new switchgear alternative for utilities and large power users that want to reduce their use of SF6-gas-insulated equipment.