Electric Transmission 101: How the Grid Works

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 15 Jan 2009 19:00:00 GMT

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Working Group for Investment in Reliable and Economic Electric Systems (WIRES) invite you to the first of two briefings designed to explore key issues associated with the planning, construction, operation, and regulation of the nation’s high voltage interstate electric transmission network. Transmission issues have emerged as a major concern to policymakers and a broad variety of stakeholders over the past few years. As the new Congress and Administration prepare to take action on matters involving clean energy development, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, energy independence, and the reliability and security of electricity supplies, the investment in the “grid” has become an increasingly important matter of national energy policy. The physics and evolution of modern transmission systems are complex. An understanding of grid operations, planning, facilities siting, finance, and regulation nevertheless starts with these basics.

The first session (January 15) will provide a basic explanation of how the high-voltage “grid” actually works, what it accomplishes, and how it is regulated. A panel of experts on electric transmission operations and regulation will address the history and basic components of the grid, how electric power flows are controlled, the basics of grid interconnection and operations, the limitations of the system, and how operators address those limitations. This briefing also will survey the fundamentals of rate regulation and cost allocation, organized (Regional Transmission Organizations, or RTO) and bilateral (non-RTO) markets, regional transmission planning, siting, and reliability concerns. Although this briefing is for the uninitiated, the panel will invite questions at any technical level.

Speakers for this event include:

  • James Hoecker, former Chairman, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and Counsel to WIRES
  • Kevin Kelly, Director, Policy Analysis and Rulemaking, FERC
  • Wayne Galli, PhD, Director, Transmission Development, NextEra Energy Resources (formerly FP&L Energy)
  • Gregory Ioanidis, Vice President, Business Strategy, ITC Holdings

This briefing is free and open to the public. No RSVP required. For more information, contact Laura Parsons at (202) 662-1884 or lparsons@eesi.org.

A second session will follow in February, with details posted at www.eesi.org as they become available. This briefing will tackle the major high-visibility policy challenges facing policy makers as they balance the need for investment in transmission with other energy-related objectives.