Reliable Electrical Power and Utilities at the University of Texas

As a University of Texas electrical engineering graduate, it is great to hear a success story on the successful electrical load control using Emerson technology on the main campus in Austin, Texas. The campus operates an independent electrical grid but connects back to the Texas electrical grid. The utilities department has a $2.8 million operating budget. The utilities group produces 140MW of electrical power and provides electricity, steam, compressed air, demineralized water and chilled water for the campus.

The campus as two combustion gas turbine generators, two heat recovery steam generators, for natural gas-fired boilers, two thermal energy storage (TES) tanks and five chilling station with 17 electric chillers. There are six pairs of electrical load centers and each building has two electrical feeds to support maintenance on either feed. This design was built to meet reliable energy demands for the campus.

2005 was the last outage and the utility staff chose to go with Emerson Ovation control technology. Tie-line monitoring predicts the average megawatt consumption of a demand period. Each demand period is 15 minutes. An alarm is generation if it predicts a violation of the demand limits. Operations can manually shed a load to maintain performance.

It is technically possible to sell power back to the grid. The system continuously monitors current and predicted campus power demand and generation. The system can compare real-time generation costs alongside current grid market prices. The goal is to perform complex real-time control functions and maintain the reliability standards set by the University.

Posted Monday, July 24th, 2017 under Power.