CTC Global co-sponsored and participated at the ERCOT Market Summit 2018 (Infocast conference) held in Austin, Texas from February 27 – March 1. The first day was devoted to “Resiliency in the 21st Century Grid”. David Townley, Director of Public Affairs at CTC Global moderated a panel on “Resiliency in the Transmission Planning Process” with panel members Dan Woodfin, Senior Director of System Operations at ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas), Brad Schwarz, Director of System Planning with Hunt Power, and John Fernandes, Director Regulatory Affairs with Invenergy. While we learned that a number of resiliency measures have already found their way in to the ERCOT planning process, additional measures, including high performance advanced conductors, should be considered to increase resiliency. Also discussed were the potential resiliency effects on the transmission system of distribution level measures such as rooftop solar, microgrids, storage, “smart grids”, and 2-way distribution flows. High capacity distribution conductor can add resiliency to the distribution system under these new conditions.
Later in the ERCOT conference, David Townley also participated as a panelist in a discussion of “Solutions to Transmission Congestion Constraints and Risks in Texas”. Other panelists were Stuart Nelson, Senior vice President, Transmission Business Development with LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority), and Brad Schwarz, Director of System Planning with Hunt Power. The moderator was Dwain Rogers, Executive Director with Clean TX. The CREZ transmission expansion investments to facilitate wind growth have been very successful and the transmission capacity expansion provided by that investment has been fully subscribed. With rapidly expanding solar in central and western Texas, new transmission congestion will have to be addressed. A leading alternative, among several potential solutions, is reconductoring congested transmission pathways with high capacity, high efficiency ACCC conductor. This reconductoring using existing towers is a very cost effective and relatively fast solution to open up more pathways to get solar energy to the higher load areas in central and east Texas.