EPRI to make electric grid more efficient through research

Palo Alto, Calif., April, 30 2010 — The Electric Power Research Institute launched an industry-wide transmission efficiency demonstration collaborative with a group of utilities and transmission system operators that will compile and analyze performance data from transmission lines, substations and grid operations to assess the cost, benefit and technical criteria for implementing efficiency measures.

More than 20 organizations and proposed 33 transmission demonstration projects will be providing data, and EPRI is actively recruiting more utilities and system operators to participate. The results will serve as a blueprint that will help improve the efficiency of the existing transmission system and the future bulk power network.

The collaborative is an outgrowth of efforts by EPRI, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and transmission owners and operators to implement various technical designs that can facilitate more efficiency in the transmission system.

The initiative was unveiled today during a Washington meeting hosted by FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff and attended by members of the Transmission Executive Committee, comprising of representatives of leading transmission owners and operators from throughout the country.

“The lessons learned by demonstrating real-life examples of transmission efficiency will help the industry to meet the Department of Energy‘s goal of improving grid efficiency by 40 percent by 2030,” said Chairman Wellinghoff. “This would deliver the twin benefits of increasing supply while reducing emissions.”

EPRI estimates a 40 percent improvement in grid efficiency would result in a savings of 54 terawatt hours, enough electricity to power 4.8 million homes in the U.S.

“We cannot build transmission lines and substations the same way we did years ago,” said Mike Heyeck, senior vice president of American Electric Power and Chairman of EPRI’s Transmission Executive Committee. “We must fully incorporate life-cycle efficiencies into planning, engineering, and procurement for the grid of our energy future.”

The initiative follows five meetings by key stakeholders in the U.S. and one in Poland in 2009 that identified the best practices and the technology improvements necessary to bolster bulk power efficiency. The international part of the collaborative will be launched June 2 in Madrid, Spain.

“These projects will provide the data under operational conditions for improving the efficiency of our transmission system,” said Arshad Mansoor, vice president of EPRI’s Power Delivery and Utilization sector. “We encourage broader participation by the transmission industry to maximize the opportunity for shared learning.”


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