Energy Central Power Perspectives: Welcome New Expert Interview Series: Dave Bryant, New Expert in the Transmission Professionals Community
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- Dec 3, 2019 3:15 pm GMT
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The transmission technology and infrastructure of the utility industry were for so long one of the constants. The main goal was to repair and maintain transmission so it could continue to do its job, but the real innovation and progress were taking place on the generation side or in the homes of customers. That image of the transmission sector is a thing of the past, though, as smart grid technology, distributed assets, cybersecurity concerns and more have made staying abreast of developments in the transmission sector a top priority of the utility industry.
Because of the fast-moving nature of transmission changes, including technical and operational, Energy Central is thrilled to add yet another industry expert to our network of experts who will specialize in our Transmission Professionals Group: Dave Bryant.
To introduce Dave to the Energy Central community and ensure those seeking out answers to their transmission questions know the value of having Dave as our expert, he agreed to sit down for the ‘Welcome New Expert Interview Series’:
Matt Chester: One of the goals of this interview is to allow our community to get to know you and understand the value you bring to the network of experts. So, to kick that off, can you give a bit of a background—how did you find your way into the utility industry? What’s your current role and what are you working on these days?
Dave Bryant: I currently serve as Director of Technology at CTC Global, a company I helped establish in 2003 with the goal of improving the efficiency, capacity, reliability, and resilience of the world’s electric power grid. Previously, I founded American Structural Composites, a company that focused on using composite materials to build energy-efficient, affordable homes.
My career path and experience with composite materials began when I launched my first company in 1980. I have helped develop and commercialize products ranging from bromine generators to submarine mounted radomes. Currently, at CTC Global we are continuing to raise the performance bar for overhead conductors and help regulators, policymakers, project financiers, and our utility customers recognize the importance of improving grid efficiency.
MC: An area of your focus has strongly been on the development of the ACCC® Conductor—can you explain what the importance of this technology has been and will continue to be in the utility industry?
DB: The ACCC Conductor uses a hybrid carbon fiber composite core to replace conventional steel wires used in several bare overhead conductor designs. The composite core has a coefficient of thermal expansion about ten times lower than steel which serves to mitigate conductor sag. This allows the conductor to carry up to twice the current of conventional bare overhead conductors without violating clearance limits. Because the core is also 70% lighter than steel, the ACCC Conductor also incorporates 28% more aluminum. The added aluminum content decreases electrical resistance which serves to reduce line losses. While added capacity can reduce congestion costs, enable the integration of renewable generation resources and improve grid reliability, reducing line losses can reduce fuel consumption and associated emissions while freeing up generation capacity that is otherwise wasted.
MC: Looking backward, what do you think has been the most significant project or industry strategy that you’ve been a part of? What brings you the most pride in your long and distinguished career?
DB: Introducing a new product to a highly risk-averse industry is very challenging. When we first introduced the ACCC Conductor, there were many skeptics, not to mention competitors. Today, we have hundreds of customers and our product has inspired dozens of copycats. Didn’t someone once say that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”?
With that said, at any given time there are approximately 50 ACCC Conductor installations underway in any of 50 countries. It has been very gratifying to see such an important technology take hold, and our company strives to continue to raise the performance bar and stay ahead of the competition with innovation, experience, and value.
MC: Now looking forward as a new expert in our transmission community, what are the one or two biggest challenges that you see facing this area of the utility sector in the coming years, amid all the important and rapid changes that are going on?
DB: I’ve been engaged in ongoing discussions about our grid since the major East Coast blackout of 2003. Though our grid in the U.S. received a poor D+ rating by ASCE in 2013 and again in 2017, I’m very optimistic that we are making good headway not only with grid improvements but also in DER, microgrids, energy storage, and modern control and metering technologies.
I’d also like to commend the WIRES Group and Brattle (among others) for the work they are doing helping society better understand the importance of building a robust electric power infrastructure. It’s also very reassuring to see the development of green financing as a means of funding desperately needed upgrades. It’s also not insignificant that the Asian Development Bank has been funding transmission line projects in developing countries that used high-efficiency ACCC Conductors, specifically, under economic development and climate change mitigation funding initiatives.
MC: While you’re still new to the Energy Central community, can you comment on what drew you to the platform and what value you find you get out of this type of community- and collaboration-driven resource? Conversely, what value do you hope to impart upon the community yourself?
DB: I actually joined the Energy Central Network in 2012 and read posts nearly every day. It’s a great forum and I appreciate everyone’s contributions. When Energy Central first created this format, I was blown away impressed thinking ‘these people really care about our industry.’ It’s a great place to learn about highly relevant and timely news from people that have great stories to share about their projects, challenges, and successes. I’ve always been a fan and enjoy contributing from time to time.
MC: Is there anything else you’d like the community to know that didn’t get mentioned in the above questions?
DB: I would just like to commend and thank everyone in the Energy Central Community for your hard work and commitment to a very important industry during a very complex time. Our society has become very reliant on access to affordable and reliable electric energy and millions of people are counting on us to do our best to mitigate climate change issues as much as possible. Please keep up the great work.
Please join me in thanking Dave Bryant for sharing his experience with the community in this interview and continually as an expert in our Transmission Professionals Group. Now that you know Dave’s background, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask him questions in the comments sections or pick his brain in that way.