With the signing of House Bill 729, “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR ADVANCED CONDUCTOR COST EFFECTIVENESS CRITERIA; ALLOWING ADVANCED CONDUCTOR RATE BASING; PROVIDING A DEFINITION; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE,” Montana became the first state in the Nation to enable the State’s Public Utility Commission to approve cost-effectiveness criteria for Advanced Conductor projects that may be placed into a utility’s ROI (Return on Investment) Rate Base.
While many major utilities in the U.S. and other countries have used Advanced Conductors such as ACCC® Conductor to increase line capacity, mitigate sag infractions and for several other purposes, the State of Montana now allows an ROI “adder” for utilities that use Advanced Conductors to improve a transmission or distribution lines efficiency. Specifically, this is defined by selecting a conductor of equal size that reduces electrical resistance by 10% or more.
Montana Public Utility Commissioner Randall Pinocci stated: “This ACT, which received overwhelming bi-partisan support, enables Montana Utilities to explore the use of Advanced Conductors on the Montana electric grid. In addition to the reduced energy losses, these low-sag advanced conductors will also reduce the risk and cost of fighting wildfires in Montana’s vast forest and grassland areas.” Commissioner Pinocci also noted that “Using high-efficiency, Advanced Conductors to upgrade our existing electric grid will bring lower costs to our electric consumers while providing substantial benefits to the environment and the grid.”
David Townley, Director of Public Policy with CTC Global Corporation, a provider of Advanced Conductor technology, added: “Montana now leads the nation in having ‘design-phase’ energy efficiency criterion for transmission and distribution projects with incentivizes for the utility to deploy high-efficiency Advanced Conductors.”
Considering the immense need to increase the efficiency, capacity, reliability, and resilience of the Nation’s electric power grid, Montana’s action is a brilliant step forward that all other states should consider and implement quickly.