Energy coalition calls for technology deployments
November 21, 2017
A coalition of US energy companies aims to get more out of the grid using advanced technologies. The Working for Advanced Transmission Technologies (Watt) group plans to work with policy makers and utilities on regulatory policies that save consumers money and enable clean energy delivery.
The six initial members are Ampacimon, Genscape, Lindsey Manufacturing, NewGrid, Smart Wires and WindSim Americas.
US homes and businesses can save $20bn over ten years through the deployment of new technologies to reduce transmission grid congestion costs. The coalition says it is stepping up to help upgrade the nation's transmission network. Coalition members say they have developed the tools and processes that can make the grid more reliable, flexible and cost-effective.
"We have technologies that can bring tremendous benefits to business and households," said coalition chair Todd Ryan of Smart Wires. "The question is whether we can put the right incentives in place so that utilities who deploy them will share in the rewards. That will be our goal."
Watt will be working to promote the deployment of advanced power flow control, dynamic line ratings, topology optimisation, and potentially other technologies that can deliver more energy to customers over existing grids.
"We've been encouraged by the support from regulators, grid operators and transmission owners," said Hudson Gilmer, vice president of Genscape and chair-elect of the coalition. “We see an important role for Watt to engage these groups and inform them about the compelling benefits of advanced transmission technologies.”
The group is critical of how the current system penalises utilities that innovate with technology. For example, for a $50m traditional investment, a utility earns just under $25m in present value post-tax earnings. For advanced transmission technology that is 50% of the capital cost of the traditional option ($25m); the utility earns just under $12m in post-tax earnings. The utility loses around $12m in earnings when they choose the advanced technology. There is thus no incentive for innovation; there is a penalty for saving money.
The group wants utilities to share in the benefits when they use advanced transmission technologies and create significant savings for consumers.