CCBJ Vol V No 03: The Future of the Grid - Part I, Transmission


Unlike the distribution grid (subject of CCBJ's next edition; part 2 of The Future of the Grid), the high-voltage transmission grid has used advanced technology for decades. Transmission grid operators monitor voltages, currents and power continuously in sophisticated control centers. But the transmission grid could still benefit from, and will increasingly need, more advanced technology for greater visibility, flexibility and control—technology like synchrophasors which are the subjects of widespread trials and pilot projects. But mostly what the transmission grid needs is growth and expansion to integrate new, remote sources of renewable energy and to keep up with changes in the conventional generation mix. As explored in depth in this edition, investment in transmission is expected to be between $12 billion and $16 bilion annually through 2016, with $1 to $1.2 billion in annual revenues for consulting and engineering firms (excluding construction).

Table of Contents

01.Overview: The need to modernize for reliability, greater regional interconnection and savings in efficiency have been accellerated by the emerging need to integrate reneawable energy generation, leading to the biggest growth in transmission investments seen for 1-10

02.Profile: The nation’s largest independent elec- tricity transmission company, ITC responds to load growth and reliability concerns, plans for renewable integration, and invests heavily-–an estimated $1.6 billion through 2016-–to maintain and replace its current 11

03.Profile: An engineering firm with 20% of its revenues in electricity transmission and distribution, B&M is working on some very significant transmission contracts. Southern California Edison’s Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project is one of the largest designed to connect wind power with a distant load center; as construction manager, mitigating and managing environmental and aesthetic issues has forced B&M and its partners to come up with some creative 16

04.Profile: Oncor builds out the largest portion of Texas's 18,500 MW of new transmission capacity to connect remote wind resources with load 17

05.Profile: Tighter reliability standards spur transmission upgrades and new work for Sega 19

06.Feature: HVDC technology can be the best option for high-capacity, long-haul lines linking remote wind and hydro to load centers—but its capacity to deliver more power than HVAC over similarly sized systems, as well as extra costs, are 20



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