About the Project
Artificial Island Project or Silver Run Project?
A lot of names are used in the news – what does it all mean?
The Artificial Island project refers to a group of electric grid upgrades in Delaware and southern New Jersey that work together to resolve the system stability issue. Within the Artificial Island project, Silver Run Electric has been designated to develop, construct and operate two elements – the new Silver Run Substation in New Castle County and a transmission line connecting Silver Run to the existing Hope Creek Substation in Salem County. Silver Run Electric’s two components of the overall Artificial Island project are called the Silver Run Project.
As we continue to be more dependent on energy from the power grid, keeping it resilient to interruptions is essential to maintaining the daily flow of life itself.
Casey Carroll, SRE Project Manager
- Electric Generating Facilities
Numerous electric generating facilities are dispatched in harmony by the grid operator to continuously match electricity production and consumption. Electricity for the grid is produced from renewable resources, like solar panels at the Dover Sun Park, fossil fuel and nuclear power sources – all combining together to flow reliably across the system to the homes, businesses and industries.
- Hope Creek Substation
The Silver Run Project’s eastern end will connect to the existing Hope Creek Substation, which will be expanded by its owner, New Jersey utility PSE&G. This substation is part of the regional transmission grid and where one of the Artificial Island generators connect to the system.
- Transition Structures
Submarine cables installed beneath the riverbed transition to overhead transmission lines at a transition structure near the western bank of the Delaware River. This avoids horizontal directional drilling and the temporary and permanent surface impacts along the sensitive environmental areas where the river meets land, called the riparian zone.
- Underwater Buried Cables
Silver Run Electric will install six submarine cables across the river with the vertical injector tool (#5) to resolve reliability issues and create a more resilient grid through better interconnectivity. The cable is to be installed at least 25 feet below the riverbed within the main ship navigation channel and typically 15 feet or more below elsewhere.
- Injector Tool
The vertical injector tool (VI) installs the cable directly in the riverbed. It works by injecting water into the subsurface which fluidizes the soils, creating a quicksand-like state in the immediate area around the VI. This allows the cable sink under its own weight into the riverbed to the required installation depth while the VI is gently pulled across the river by the barge. Once the VI passes, the river quickly returns to its natural state with the cable installed well below the riverbed.
The barge, specially fitted for the Silver Run Project, is the heart of the installation operations. On board, there are living quarters for the captain, navigation crew and installation crew, as well as room for the cables and all the installation equipment, including the vertical injector tool (#6) and massive cranes. The barge has a flat bottom so it can rest on the riverbed at low tide, allowing it to working in shallower water close to shore.
- Delaware River
The Silver Run Project includes electric transmission cables crossing the Delaware River between southern New Jersey and the Delmarva Peninsula east of Middletown, Delaware.
- Silver Run Substation
The western end of the Silver Run Project is SRE’s new Silver Run Substation, where the project will connect to two existing Delmarva Power and Light lines operating at 230 kilovolts. These new connections improve system reliability, create efficient new paths for power to flow and offer the grid operator improved control of the system.
- Non-SRE transmission
The PJM electrical grid, which includes the Mid-Atlantic region, is made up of over 60,000 miles of interconnected electric lines owned by about two dozen utility companies. Together, these high-voltage transmission lines efficiently move large amounts of electrical power to the areas it’s needed.
- Distribution System
From the high-voltage transmission system (like the Silver Run Project), electrical voltage is then stepped down at local substations through transformers. Lower voltage distribution lines transport electricity to reach your town.
- Homes & Businesses
Electricity is ‘stepped-down’ or transformed one last time to standard consumption voltages like 120 or 240 volts by transformers on poles or in electrical boxes in your neighborhood before being delivered into your home or business.
Did you know?
What is the Grid?
Like an interconnected system of highways, the grid transports electricity from suppliers to consumers:
- Electricity is produced at the numerous generating stations connected to the system, converting renewable, fossil fuel or nuclear resources to electrical energy.
- Electricity is then carried efficiently by high voltage transmission lines to the regions in which it’s needed.
- The lower voltage distribution moves the electricity from local distribution substations and lines, finally reaching your home.
How does the project benefit Delaware?
- Provides an additional grid connection to the Delmarva Peninsula. Better interconnectivity translates to a more robust and resilient system.
- Eliminates or delays the need for future transmission projects in the Delmarva Peninsula.
- Builds a stronger Delaware with more jobs and opportunities to grow and compete.
- Brings over $17 million in annual load savings to electric consumers in Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore by reducing transmission congestion and allowing the grid operator to more consistently call on the most efficient generators available to match demand.
Why is SRE best for this project?
- Expertise – Silver Run offered the lowest cost reliability solution with multiple construction technology and route options to be able to build the best overall project at the end of the day.
- Economy – SRE promises a first-of-its kind cost cap of $146 million to protect electricity consumers. Any project-overrun costs will be covered by SRE – a new, consumer focused approach in the utility world!
- Environmental Record – Addressing Delaware’s Clean Energy goals, the SRE team also developed Dover Sun Park – one of the first utility scale solar installations in the eastern United States. The team developed the natural gas fired West Deptford Energy Station in New Jersey, using environmentally-friendly, state-of-the-art-technology. It’s one of the most efficient plants in the entire electrical system.
How does a blackout happen?
- The electrical grid is a large and complex network of generators; substations with switches, breakers and other controls; transmission and distribution lines from 765,000 volts all the way down to the 120 volts typically used in homes; and consumers like homes, businesses and industry.
- Given the complexity, a number of things can trigger power outages.
- At the high-voltage level, outages can arise from an imbalance between electrical generation and load (consumption). Unlike many commodities, electricity must generally be produced as it is used because limited opportunities exist today for bulk storage.
- As a result of rigorous reliability standards, the grid operator is usually able to quickly respond to shifting demands, continuously generating and routing electricity to where it’s needed.
- However, events occasionally occur in which the grid operator is unable to resolve issues such as a shortage of generation, over-congestion of the transmission system or instabilities. Among its last resort tools, the grid operator can disconnect certain parts of the system in order to maintain stability and protect the grid as a whole, resulting in a blackout in the disconnected areas.
- In the most extreme circumstances, even last resort tools are insufficient to contain the issue – creating a domino effect that can lead to a widespread blackout.
- Should a major blackout occur, the Silver Run Project helps the system restore itself by providing black start services in the Delmarva Peninsula.
What is the Silver Run Project?
- Stability – An upgraded, safer, better integrated grid network that keeps the system operating stably within its limits.
- Reliability – A more robust transmission system, ensuring fewer power outages and faster recoveries. Literally, this translates to less time spent in the dark.
- Efficiency – Generators running as they were designed to avoid the need for more expensive, less efficient and less environmentally-friendly energy options.
The Silver Run Project is a new high-voltage connection between the Delmarva Peninsula and southern New Jersey. The two major project components are a new transmission substation along existing Delmarva Power and Light transmission lines in New Castle County and a new 5.5 mile, 230kV transmission line. This new line will run overhead for about 2 miles in Delaware, a 3 mile crossing of the Delaware River and a half mile in New Jersey, to ultimately on the eastern end at the Hope Creek substation in southern New Jersey.
Did you know?
This happens because:
- There isn’t enough efficient local generation to satisfy the needs of the peninsula during peak periods.
- This increases reliance on electricity imported from other areas, which contributes to ‘traffic jams’ on the system and increases electricity prices.
The additional connection to the Peninsula will help reduce the frequency and magnitude of these ‘traffic jams’ while addressing reliability issues in the Mid-Atlantic.
*PJM is a regional transmission organization operating the electrical grid in all or parts of 13 states and D.C., including Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
We have promised a robust cost cap of $146 million to protect electricity consumers from cost overrun – a key reason SRE was awarded the project. This is a new approach in the utility world, shifting risks from consumers to the utility.
The ability to select from environmentally-sensitive installation technologies and route options that protect wetlands and wildlife were a key reason SRE was awarded the project.
Other environment-focused regional projects by SRE’s parent company, LS Power, include Dover Sun Park and West Deptford Energy Station.
The Silver Run Project is expected to be energized in 2020, enhancing power grid reliability in the Mid-Atlantic.