MSc Thesis: An analysis of potential connection points for Hvalárvirkjun in the West Fjords

Kieran Stewart Read successfully defends his master's thesis


REYKJAVIK, July 18 - Kieran Stewart Read successfully defended his master's thesis where he determined a suitable connection point for a new hydropower plant in the West Fjords by considering voltage profiles, line loading, reliability, and cost. Kieran's work was supervised by Ragnar Kristjánsson from Reykjavik University, Samuel Perkin from Landsnet, and Arndís Magnúsdóttir.


You might ask Kieran, "what do geohazard assessments, physics, and sustainable energy have in common?" To which he would quickly say, "all three are key aspects of linear infrastructure and flow systems in Canada and Iceland." Building on the recent ASME book “Pipeline Geohazards: Planning, Design, Construction and Operations” (Rizkalla and Read, 2019), Kieran explored methods of leveraging experience from operating linear flow systems for conventional and sustainable energy transmission. 

Kieran lead an investigation into the improvement of the Westfjords' power system in Iceland, where there are plans to build a new hydropower plant, Hvalárvirkjun, which could provide the region with more reliability, as well as increase the potential load that the Westfjords' power system can handle. In partnership with both Landsnet and Verkis, Kieran's work demonstrated the use of multiple industry-accepted tests to determine a suitable connection point for Hvalárvirkjun. To determine the best possible connection point, tests based on voltage profile, line loading, reliability, and cost were performed. 

First, a steady state power flow analysis was completed to determine both line loading and the voltage levels at each bus for each option. This was followed by an N-1 contingency analysis combined with a probabilistic reliability assessment to determine the reliability of each option. Finally, a project cost and social cost was determined to help evaluate the potential for each connection point. The original system was also analyzed and presented for a comparison point. 

Combining the results from all of the tests, a final recommendation was made which included three of the ten different options, where two recommendations show a 66 kV connection directly to Ísafjörður in the northern ring and the other advises a 132 kV connection to Mjólká. Future recommendations include the use of this thesis structure in order to expand on the reliability and cost functions and provide a more exhaustive study of the three connection points.

Congratulations to Kieran on an excellent thesis defence!


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