By: Kendall Smith, Induron Power Market Manager
I recently had the opportunity to attend Global Transmission Report’s 2nd annual conference on Transmission Infrastructure U.S. hosted in Washington D.C. The objective of the conference was to review the policies, present opportunities, and evaluate technologies and financing options for advancing the build-out of the much-needed transmission infrastructure in our country.
The challenges of outdated T&D systems
The meeting focused on the challenges of outdated and aging T&D systems, starting with the fact that renewables could be built now to achieve the Biden administration’s T&D goals by 2035. However, the existing high-voltage grid is not capable of handling the new renewable power generation. Plus, the existing grid is not located where most of the new power generation needs to be built in order to take advantage of where the sun shines most (solar power), and where the wind blows most (wind towers).
Environmental goals have been set that can only be achieved if a new grid is built. Climate change, decarbonization goals, destructive weather events, cybersecurity, and many other topics were presented–all which underscore the critical nature of our high-voltage transmission system with the future success of our country.
Building a modern and resilient power grid
The White House, DOE, FERC, NERC, RTOs/ISOs, PUCs, individual electric utilities, consultants, and scientists joined forces to explore the process and funding of such a gigantic task. Policy makers, regulators, investors, and many others presented a clear picture of the challenges at hand, as well as how to plan, finance, engineer, and build everything we need to succeed. A modern and resilient grid was the primary topic, and many powerful ideas were presented in order to create a “clean energy transition” for the future.
Utilities currently only coat about 5,000 structures a year, and at that rate, they will fall further and further behind. Plus, many presenters emphasized that the new grid will not work without the old. The new grid will need to be very large in order to replace the current fossil-fueled generation–much of which is to some extent, shutting down, and even being removed completely. The T&D infrastructure will also need to be capable of handling a rapidly increasing demand for EVs, which would overload the existing grid if everyone went out today and bought one.
The importance of protecting your grid
At Induron, while we strongly believe that the construction of a new power grid is extremely important, we believe it is just as critical to take care of the aging grid. Corrosion is a real issue on tens of thousands of poles and lattice towers, as well as substation structures and equipment.
In the U.S., the galvanizing process can provide roughly 30-40 years of corrosion resistance, depending on the environment. Once the galvanized layer is mostly gone, the clock IS ticking on the life of that structure. At that point, the zinc carbonate begins to break down into varying levels of corrosion. Once corrosion starts, it accelerates rapidly. At this time, painting is an effective way to reduce corrosion and/or slow down the corrosion process.
Induron offers a solution for extending the useful life of T&D structures
Induron Protective Coatings is an industry leader in high performance coatings with particular proven expertise in corrosion control in Power Transmission & Distribution applications.
Induron’s Induraguard 9200 is a key product, employed by utilities to refurbish aging galvanized lattice leg transmission towers and monopoles. This system provides:
- The lowest-cost per application
- The most efficient and fastest system to apply
- The least environmental impact of the available methods for refurbishment