ITC Holdings Executive Vice President and COO Jon Jipping on Feb. 9 said that the conversation within the electric transmission industry has evolved “from reliability to resiliency.”
Jipping spoke with TransmissionHub before participating on the “Utility of the Future: Is transmission more important than ever?” session, part of Americans for a Clean Energy Grid’s National Electric Transmission Infrastructure Summit that is being held in Washington, D.C.
The conversation still involves “reliability, but what we’re talking about more is resiliency,” he said.
Jipping said, “We want to have a grid that’s resilient,” one that, even after a catastrophic event, will respond as it should.
The discussion around resiliency also involves the changing generation mix, as well as the matter of national security, he said, noting: “Is the grid resilient enough to take those changes, because it takes a long time to build transmission. So all of us, collectively, are concerned with that.”
Discussing the “grid of the future,” he noted that such things as electric vehicles and energy storage are going to play a role.
He said that a challenge from an industry perspective involves the question of, “how are we going to create that grid of the future when there are some other uncertainties,” such as what will happen to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan.
Larger, regional transmission projects are beneficial, he said, adding: “Now, how do we go forward with new ones – how do we get that planned out? That’s, I think, our challenge in a time of a bit of uncertainty about what’s going to happen.”
Independent of the policy side, however, he noted that certain power plants are shutting down because they are old and other forms of generation, such as natural gas and wind energy, are cost-effective.
“[W]e’re going to have some transmission buildout to be able to support that,” he said.
Even with such new technologies as energy storage and electric vehicles, “the transmission system is there to back it up, so it’s almost more important than it is today” because it is needed to address intermittent resources, he said.
“We’ve proven that we can operate a system with intermittent resources, but we’ve got to plan it right and we’ve got to be prepared,” he said.
Among other projects, ITC continues to work on the 1,000-MW, bi-directional, high-voltage direct current, underwater ITC Lake Erie Connector transmission line, which, according to the company, would provide the first direct link between the markets of the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator and PJM Interconnection.
ITC is a Fortis (NYSE:FTS) company.