The momentum building at the federal level for advanced transmission technologies is reaching a new high.
Last month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hosted a technical conference with a focus on dynamic line ratings (DLR), investigating best practices and what actions the agency can take to accelerate the industry’s adoption of the technology. The technical conference however is just the tip of the iceberg and the result of work by industry players and other federal agencies.
Under the leadership of FERC Chairman Chatterjee, this spring FERC announced a notice of inquiry into its decades-old transmission incentives. We were pleased to see broad industry support for incentives to operate the grid more efficiently in commentary from utilities like American Electric Power (AEP), National Grid, ConEd, Duke, Alliant Energy and DTE Electric.
In the leadup to the FERC conference, the Department of Energy released a report to Congress on dynamic line ratings, detailing the benefits and observing that “the U.S. currently lags behind other countries in the deployment of some advanced transmission technologies, such as DLR.”
The FERC technical conference, which took place September 10-11, brought together government officials, grid regulators, utility decision-makers and technology providers to discuss DLR and constructively address barriers to broader industry adoption.
Our own CEO, Hudson Gilmer, helped kick off the conference and spoke on its opening panel, Introduction to Transmission Line Rating Methodologies. Hudson spoke along with fellow panelists from the WATT Coalition including executive director Rob Gramlich and wholesale electricity market operations expert of The Brattle Group Bruce Tsuchida. Hudson presented on LineVision’s technology suite of non-contact monitoring solutions, explaining how LineRate™ leverages DLR to increase lines’ capacity and reliability, and shared insights from LineVision’s experience deploying solutions for utilities.
In another session, a PJM senior engineer presented a case study on LineVision’s DLR pilot project, conducted in conjunction with the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Lab and AEP to forecast the savings DLR can provide. The study showed an estimated reduction in net congestion cost of $4.2M over one year as a result of the DLR installation. Other representatives from major ISOs and utilities shared insights and case studies indicating major cost savings from reduced congestion on their lines, achieved through deployments of advanced transmission technologies. Following presentations detailing how transmission line monitoring enhances grid reliability, resiliency and efficiency, Joseph Bowring, Independent Market Monitor for PJM said, “I don’t understand why utilities wouldn’t deploy these systems on all their lines.”
This conference brought the industry together to understand the benefits of these technologies and address obstacles to wider deployment. On the heels of this conference, FERC announced a new workshop on Grid Enhancing Technologies that increase the capacity, efficiency or reliability of the grid to be held on November 5-6. We welcome the ongoing focus from FERC and will continue to work to bring the benefits of this technology to our utility clients and their customers.