It would be fair to say that the decisions on how we invest in transmission and distribution projects, are heavily driven by initial investment cost. What if we could improve the decision-making process by thinking about the longer term effects on society, energy consumers and the environment through considering the quantifiable factors of reliability, speed to implement and other life-cycle value contributors? This suggests a forward-looking approach, and there is every indication that the time is right for a change in philosophy relative to choosing the right installation option based on data rather than historic practices.

Let’s look at overhead and underground installation, for instance. Conversations regarding decisions to install power transmission lines underground or overhead has been ongoing for decades. Using data to help make decisions—on a case-by-case basis—can provide an objective means to evaluate power infrastructure investments and help determine which power delivery solutions—overhead or underground—to employ.

For example, while it’s true that underground can be more expensive on the front end, as rights-of-way become scarce, and improvements in quality and consistency of underground cables and installations increase, costs of overhead compared to underground come more in line. When combined with other factors including repair costs, outages and ongoing maintenance, the parity comes more closely into focus in certain situations.

Further, consider power outages as a life-cycle contributor. With occurrences like the 2003 Northeast blackout, Superstorm Sandy and now Hurricane Matthew, economic and societal impacts of power outages are even more in the forefront. According to a White House report in August of 2013: “Power outages cost the economy between $18 and $33 billion every year.” With numbers like these, both providers and users of electricity are putting these power industry drivers under the microscope:

  • Aging infrastructure
  • Long-term projected load growth
  • New sources of generation (e.g. renewables)
  • More volatile weather
  • Physical security (e.g. vandalism and terrorism)

So, the industry really must start looking beyond first costs. This philosophy can be a real game-changer. Value-based planning and the construction and implementation of viable methodologies for quantifying life-cycle costs must work hand-in-hand to produce the best outcome for communities, businesses, customers and the utilities that serve them. This is exactly what PDi2 proposes. We will:

  • Promote education and decisions based on full life-cycle cost comparisons
  • Implement and evaluate case-specific models that include:
    • Speed of implementation
    • Total life-cycle costs versus first costs of systems
    • Cost of delaying the project
    • Cost of outages to the economy and tax revenues
    • Additional repair and maintenance costs

The quantification of life-cycle costs is clearly an ambitious undertaking and will require much cooperation throughout the entire power industry value chain including:

  • Materials Suppliers/Compounders
  • Cable Makers
  • Installation Contractors
  • Equipment Manufacturers
  • Utilities, Municipalities and Independent Power Providers
  • Public Utility Commissions

A life-cycle cost approach to determine the best power infrastructure options for new and rehabilitation projects should be given strong consideration. Fact-based data can:

  • Help utilities justify investment decisions
  • Educate stakeholders on all technology and construction options to determine the most viable, reliable and cost-effective solution for the installation of transmission and distribution systems
  •  Convey qualitative and quantitative value of installation options to all stakeholders
  • Determine common methods by which cable systems can be evaluated from both a utility and public-value perspective
  • Enable adoption of developed models as an enabler for grid extension in North America

In conclusion, it should be recognized that committing to this kind of shift in philosophy, and converting data-based models into action, can have a sizeable impact on the industry. When considering the effect that repairs, operations and maintenance have on total costs, along with acknowledging that improved reliability leads to enhanced reputation and happier customers—adopting a life-cycle approach to project determination is simply the right thing to do.

 

As seen in November 9 issue of Electric Light & Power

 

About the authors: Brent Richardson is  Manager, End Use Marketing, North America, Dow Electrical & Telecommunications.  In this role, Brent represents Dow’s Electrical & Telecommunications business to the utility industry in North America.  Prior to joining Dow in May of 2007, Brent worked for nearly 25 years for Duke Energy in Charlotte, NC.  His experience includes many components of the utility business including Field Engineering, Distribution Standards, Project and Product Management and Marketing. He received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech and is a registered Professional Engineer in NC and SC. Richardson serves as Vice Chair of the ICC A14D – Cable Standards subcommittee and is the Vice Chair, Voting Member, of the Power Delivery Intelligence Initiative.

 

 

Nathan Kelley, Vice President, High Voltage Cables and Systems Business Unit, Prysmian. Since joining Prysmian Cables and Systems in 1997, Kelley has been involved with research, design, installation and sales of High Voltage and Extra High Voltage power cable systems.  From 2002 until 2015, he managed the engineering team responsible for the High Voltage Business Unit’s activities and actively participated in many of the largest HV cable projects ever conducted in North America. Kelley was raised in Indiana, but received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University in 1995 and his MS in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2002. He also is Chair and Voting Member of the Power Delivery Intelligence Initiative.

Mathew Raymond

Underground Transmission Division Manager
Haugland Energy LLC
Associate Member, PDi2

Mathew Raymond, Underground Transmission Division Manager, has over 12 years of field experience in the construction industry, and has worked in all phases of construction including project management, business development, estimating, project scheduling, costing, budgeting, supervision and claims/change order processing. Prior to moving over to Haugland Energy in 2015, Mr. Raymond worked for 2 years with ABB and 6 years with CB&I. He has worked in the capacity of Project Manager, Process Manager, Contracts Specialist, and Business Development, accumulating a list of notable project achievements for clients including: PSE&G, PSE&GLI, Deep Water Wind, NYPA, NSEG, GEMMA Power, NRG, and Georgia. Mr. Raymond has a Masters Certificate in Government & Commercial Contract Management from Villanova University and a BA in Political Science (Pre-Law) from Coastal Carolina University.

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Ivan Jovanovic

Managing Director, Cable Accessories Business Unit (CABU)
G&W Electric
Associate Member, PDi2

Ivan has global responsibility for MV and HV cable accessory product lines for G&W Electric Company, a specialized manufacturer and marketer of high-voltage electrical equipment for distribution and transmission networks. His responsibility includes leading product management, marketing, R&D and engineering for the CABU. With nearly 20 years at G&W Electric, Ivan has also served as General Manager, Cable Accessories Engineering Department; and Product Development Engineer. Previously to joining G&W Electric, Ivan was a Research Engineer for the Nikola Tesla Electrical Engineering Institute in Belgrade, Serbia. He received a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Belgrade, and an MBA from Loyola University Chicago. Ivan also leads IEEE and CIGRE working groups and is Chairman of IEEE 48/404 Standard for transmission CA; and is the US member in IEC 62271-209 Standard for cable connections to Gas Insulated Switchgear.

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Brent Richardson

Marketing Development Manager, North America - DOW
Voting Member PDi2

Brent represents Dow’s Wire & Cable business to the utility industry in North America. Prior to joining Dow in May of 2007, Brent worked for nearly 25 years for Duke Energy in Charlotte, NC. His experience includes many components of the utility business including Field Engineering, Distribution Standards, Project and Product Management and Marketing. He received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech and is a registered Professional Engineer in NC and SC. He is also a Senior Member of the IEEE and the Insulated Conductors Committee and has made numerous presentations to the IEEE, the ICC and other industry organizations. In the ICC, Brent serves as Chair of Discussion Group A14D –Cable Standards and Vice Chair of Subcommittee A-Cable Construction and Design.

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Ben Lanz

Director of Applications Engineering, IMCORP
Vice-chairman/Voting Member PDi2

After 20 years in the power cable industry, Mr. Lanz currently holds the position of Director of Applications Engineering at IMCORP and has technical oversight of power cable life cycle consulting. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE Power & Energy Society, a voting member of the IEEE Standards Society, and a member of the IEEE Dielectrics and Industrial Applications Societies. He has served as Chairman of the Insulated Conductors Committee (ICC) technical committees responsible for cable testing, cable reliability and surge arresters, Chairman of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) O&M Balance of Plant technical subcommittee, a UL technical study committee member for MV and HV DC cables and is a reviewer and voting pool member for InterNational Electrical Testing Association (NETA) standards. Mr. Lanz received his electrical engineering degree from the University of Connecticut (UCONN) under mentorship of Director of the Institute of Material Science Electrical Insulation Research Center (EIRC), Dr. Matthew Mashikian. He has published over a dozen papers on power system reliability, asset management, and diagnostics and regularly presents on the topics.

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David Lindsay

Marketing Manager – Energy Borealis Compounds, Inc.
Chairman/Voting Member PDi2

David Lindsay is currently Marketing Manager for the Energy business of Borealis Compounds, Inc. in North America. He has over 20 years in the US wire and cable business, working at manufacturers, non-profit organizations and electrical contractors. His experiences range from research and product development, to manufacturing, construction and installation of EHV cable systems. At Borealis he is responsible for customer and end-use marketing, and strategic planning of all wire and cable related product lines.

David serves on the NEETRAC Advisory Board, is actively involved in IEEE Insulated Conductor Committee and is past US representative to Cigré SC B1. He holds a Bachelors of Materials Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Masters of Business Administration from the University of West Georgia.

Brian Hunter

Regional Manager
TT Technologies, Inc
Associate Member PDi2

Brian Hunter is a regional manager with TT Technologies, Inc., a trenchless equipment manufacturer based out of Aurora, Illinois. He has been successfully managing the sales and service of this equipment in the southeast US for nearly 21 years. He is a graduate of Clemson University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He is a member of various underground utility organizations such as NUCA, NASTT, SGA, SCRWA, NCRWA, ASCE, AREMA, ICC, NCAWWA-WEA, & SCAWWA-WEA. Brian was recently a key partner in the successful pilot underground steel pipe replacement project involving EPRI, PDC, & ATC. This underground pipe replacement process (pipe splitting) will significantly reduce the amount of excavation and time needed to replace current pipe-type cable steel lines with a new larger host pipe. Brian looks forward to contributing his extensive underground knowledge with Power Delivery Intelligence Initiative (PDi2 ).
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Nathan Rochel

Department Manager, T&D
Burns & McDonnell
Partner Member PDi2

Nathan Rochel is an electrical engineer specializing in the design of underground transmission lines and managing the underground transmission team at Burns & McDonnell Engineering. Throughout his 10-year career in underground transmission, he has been involved in the design and/or construction of underground transmission projects ranging from 15-kV through 500-kV. These projects include multiple cable technologies including HPFF, HPGF, EPR, XLPE and HVDC cables. Mr. Rochel’s experience includes projects in major metropolitan areas for clients throughout North and South America.

John W. Fluharty, II

Quanta Services Inc.
Partner Member PDi2

John W Fluharty, II is currently working as part of Quanta Services, Inc.’s (Quanta) underground cable group that performs large underground electrical projects.

Previously Mr. Fluharty was Vice President of Mears Group, Inc. (Mears) a subsidiary of Quanta Services, Inc. He was an owner of Mears until its sale to Quanta in 2000. He managed every division in the company and at the end of his tenure with Mears he focused on business development, asset management, safety and operations for large projects.

Mr. Fluharty is a board member of the Power and Communications Contractor Association (PCCA), and the American Pipeline Contractors Association (APCA).

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Matt Spalding

President, IMCORP
Director PDi2

With more than 30 years experience in the power industry, Mr. Spalding was named President of IMCORP in January 2018. He previously held positions of VP Sales & Marketing and VP Business Development. Prior to joining IMCORP, Spalding held a variety of positions at ABB, TE Connectivity, Tyco International (Raychem), and El Paso Electric. He has been very active in industry professional associations including IEEE and NEETRAC and holds 14 US patents related to power products including MV/HV insulators, substation animal mitigation devices, power connectors, HV cable designs and cable accessories. Mr. Spalding holds a BSEE degree from New Mexico State University with post-graduate studies in Engineering Economic Systems at Stanford University.

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Terri Howe, APR

Owner/Principal - Howe Marketing Communications LLC
Secretary/Treasurer, Marketing Counsel PDi2

Terri Howe, APR is Owner and Principal of Howe Marketing Communications LLC, a virtual, full-service advertising and public relations firm located in Grand Rapids, Michigan (Coopersville). HMC specializes in servicing local, regional, national and global business-to-business accounts and has been recognized with several local and regional advertising and public relations awards. Terri has 30 years’ experience in the marketing communications field, is a past president and board member of the West Michigan Public Relations Society of America (WMPRSA), is an executive committee member of PRSA’s Counselors Academy and has served as an adjunct professor in the School of Communications at Grand Valley State University. Terri is the secretary, treasurer and marketing counsel for the Power Delivery Intelligence Initiative.

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Nathan Kelley

Vice President, High Voltage Cables and Systems Business Unit - Prysmian
Voting Member PDi2

Nathan Kelley is currently Vice President, High Voltage Cables and Systems Business Unit. Since joining Prysmian Cables and Systems in 1997, Mr. Kelley has been involved with research, design, installation and sales of High Voltage and Extra High Voltage power cable systems. From 2002 until 2015, he managed the engineering team responsible for the High Voltage Business Unit’s activities and actively participated in many of the largest HV cable projects ever conducted in North America. Mr. Kelley was raised in Indiana, but received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University in 1995 and his MS in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2002.