WATT Coalition Executives Respond to Administration’s Factsheet on Electric Grid Expansion and Modernization 

Media Contact: Julia Selker, jselker@gridstrategiesllc.com, 541-908-5792

Washington, D.C. April 27, 2021 – Today the Biden Administration announced new measures to invest in the transmission grid, including a Grid Investments Advisory Council “with a special focus on the large-scale deployment of smart grid technologies that will increase capacity while building flexibility and resilience into our national grid.” The Working for Advanced Transmission Technologies (WATT) Coalition applauds the recognition that the transmission grid is an untapped asset in the energy transition and looks forward to supporting the next-generation network with our companies’ diverse Grid-Enhancing Technologies (GETs). 

GETs, such as dynamic line ratings, advanced power flow control and advanced topology control, improve the capacity, efficiency and/or reliability of the transmission network. Executives from technology companies weighed in on the Biden Administration’s goals for the electric grid, and how GETs fit in to the bigger picture. 

Brage Johansen, CEO, Heimdall Power: “All green projects and industries, be they data centers, factories, wind & solar energy, or electric vehicles, need a robust and efficient electric grid. In fact, a future-proof electric grid is a fundamental competitive criterion for any region or nation to attract green projects and green jobs. The first to digitize their grids with Grid-Enhancing Technologies will have a competitive advantage.” 

Pablo Ruiz, Ph.D., CEO, NewGrid Inc.: “Today’s grid was built for the last century’s energy system. It would cost trillions to fully rebuild, but grid-enhancing technologies help adapt the grid quickly to serve evolving needs. The key is to turn today’s static grid into a flexible and responsive asset. Topology optimization software allows grid operators to reconfigure the current grid and future transmission lines as supply and demand change, which makes more room for new clean energy generation.” 

Richard Tabors, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, NewGrid Inc. and former co-director of the MIT Energy Initiative’s Utility of the Future project: “Grid-enhancing technologies enable more new zero-emission generation, which creates construction and operations jobs. They can lower consumer congestion and transmission costs, and they increase the value of other grid upgrades. They also support reliability and resilience, through improved flexibility and situational awareness. These technologies should be in common use in the United States as soon as possible, as part of President Biden’s economic recovery and climate change mitigation strategies.” 

Jack McCall, Executive Vice President, Lindsey Systems: “The next few decades will see the grid continue to become one where power is generated everywhere from a growing number of clean energy sources, and where power must be delivered everywhere to support new electric transportation infrastructure.  The movement of power this will require can only be accomplished by making the most efficient use of existing, and future, transmission lines.  Dynamic line ratings – a key grid enhancing technology – will enable that future by quickly and cost effectively helping to optimize the operation of the grid.” 

Peter Wells, CEO, Smart Wires Inc. “Today’s announcements from the White House recognizes that grid technology and grid expansion are critical to a quick, low-cost transition to clean energy. Smart Wires is working around the world to help utilities unlock transmission capacity, and rapid progress in the United States is held back based on today’s regulatory obligations and incentives for transmission owners. I am hopeful that the new Grid Investments Advisory Council will help the federal government find ways to advance the deployment of grid-enhancing technologies and drive significant value for American citizens.” 

Donna Rennemo, CEO, WindSim Power: “As the dynamic energy market evolves rapidly, continual development of innovative technologies and practices will help the United States lead the global transition to a clean energy economy. Supportive federal policy and standardization activities are key to enabling wide scale adoption of Dynamic Line Rating technology that will enable a smarter and more reliable electricity grid. The WindSim Power Line technology has been developed with a broad understanding of the challenges facing the energy grid today, including grid modernization and the integration of renewable energy sources and technologies. ” 

Hudson Gilmer, CEO, LineVision: “Designed over a century ago, our sprawling electric transmission system has delivered affordable and reliable electricity which has powered our economic growth throughout the 20th century. Today, we face dramatically increased demand for that power and a new set of challenges, which our existing grid was not designed for. To integrate more renewables, enable electrification and protect against climate risk we need a more flexible, resilient and efficient grid, and we can’t afford the time or cost of expanding the grid as it was done over the last century. Fortunately, Grid-Enhancing Technologies like Dynamic Line Ratings, which use advanced sensors and analytics to unlock capacity on existing wires, can be deployed at scale to transform the grid to meet our ambitious energy transition goals.” 

Joey Alexander, Director of Business Development, Ampacimon: “Countermeasures that address climate change such as increased electrification and the accelerated integration of renewable energy will require utilities to focus on quickly increasing the capacity of the electric grid. Historically, capacity expansion has been accomplished by replacing or adding new heavy assets such as substation equipment, overhead conductors, and underground cables. While these types of large investments are sometimes needed, they ignore the unused capacity of the existing grid infrastructure, increase consumer’s electric bills, and require years of planning and development.  Luckily, and due to advancements in sensing technologies and machine learning over the last decade, proven technologies exist can increase grid capacity without the need to invest in new heavy grid assets.  Grid enhancing technologies like Dynamic Line Rating can be rapidly deployed in a matter of months and increase grid capacity by up to 50% in order to achieve these much needed and aggressive climate change goals.” 

Download this press release.

About the WATT Coalition: 

The Working for Advanced Transmission Technologies (WATT) Coalition advocates for policy that supports wide deployment of Grid-Enhancing Technologies (GETs), to accelerate the clean energy transition and lower energy costs. Dynamic Line Ratings determine the true, real-time capacity of power lines. Advanced Power Flow Control allows operators to reroute power to lines with available capacity. Topology Optimization identifies the best grid reconfigurations to reroute flow around bottlenecks. In operations, these technologies reduce congestion costs and improve economic dispatch, situational awareness and reliability. In planning, they reduce the time, cost and complexity of integrating new generation and load. WATT members include Ampacimon, EDF Renewables North America, Heimdall Power, LineVision, Lindsey Systems, NewGrid, Smart Wires, and WindSim Power Inc. Learn about unlocking more value from the grid at watt-transmission.org