Author: Emma Tobin, Communications Intern, NASEO
The electricity transmission and distribution (T&D) system delivers about 95% of the electricity generated to customers. While more efficient regional power dispatching and newer equipment have resulted in increased system productivity, significant supply-side efficiency opportunities remain. T&D line losses, for example, can be dramatically reduced with modern advanced conductors. Conductors offer highly cost-effective energy and water savings as well as CO2 and compliance-related emission reductions.
Some states are exploring policy incentives and modernization directives to reap untapped supply-side efficiency options by analyzing state-level electricity data provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). NASEO Affiliate CTC Global offers an easy-to-use worksheet that calculates potential energy and emissions cutbacks based on the size of a proposed T&D loss reduction program. These calculations demonstrate that for the nation as a whole, a 30% reduction in T&D losses would result in almost 59 million MWh of energy savings and almost 28 million metric tons of CO2 reduced. This type of reduction saves an additional 7.5 GW of energy. At the state level, a 30% T&D loss reduction would provide energy savings between 0.086 and 6.2 million MWh per year and CO2 reductions from 0.022 to 3.2 million metric tons, depending on the size of the state electric load and the fuel source for meeting it.
The growing number of advanced Aluminum Conductor Composite Core (ACCC) installations around the country are seizing on these supply-side efficiency opportunities. More than 30 utilities, with service territory in more than half of the states, have installed ACCC® projects.
American Electric Power (AEP), which operates in 11 states and has the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, has demonstrated exceptional leadership in ACCC. In May of this year, AEP-Texas completed its 15th installation of advanced conductors, a 345 kV restoration project following Hurricane Harvey to replace existing structures and downed ACSR conductors. In the Lower Rio Grande Valley, AEP completed a landmark Energized Reconductor Project using ACCC conductor technology to achieve a 30% reduction in line losses. Both projects increased grid capacity, reliability, and energy efficiency.
State Energy Officials interested in pursuing supply-side efficiency may consider leveraging EIA’s data to engage and educate public utility commissions on these opportunities. Advances in ACCC conductor productivity and profitability are making this a compelling option across the country.