Starwood Energy and TS Conductor Announce $100 million Joint Venture to Bring Energy Performance Contracting Approaches to Power Grid Infrastructure
August 25, 2022 in
GREENWICH, Conn. and HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – August 25, 2022 – Starwood Energy Group Global LLC (“Starwood Energy”), a leading private investment firm focused on energy infrastructure, and TS Conductor Corp. (“TS Conductor”), a pioneer in high-performance transmission and distribution wires for electricity grids, today announced the creation of a $100 million joint venture, Gridline Finance InvestCo, LLC. The joint venture unlocks an innovative method for financing much-needed grid modernization, including reconductoring existing lines and building new lines, to accelerate the energy transition and integrate more renewable generation.
For reconductoring existing lines, Gridline Finance brings to transmission and distribution infrastructure a similar energy performance contracting (EPC) approach that energy service companies (ESCOs) originally popularized for energy efficiency upgrades. TS Conductor’s breakthrough technology uses a lightweight, high-strength encapsulated core under pre-tension with safety, reliability, and longevity built-in, and the most-conductive form of aluminum to deliver superior performance:
- It is able to cut line losses in half for the same amount of power vs. the previous line, which can save the U.S. economy billions of dollars by preserving electricity that currently never reaches its destination.
- During peak generation and demand periods, it is able to handle triple the capacity with the same overhead line towers , delivering more green electrons from renewable generation to the load centers, reducing large-scale wind and solar curtailment, increasing system reliability, and alleviating grid congestion bottlenecks that are causing customer utility bills to rise.
These benefits are now available to regional transmission operators (RTOs), independent system operators (ISOs), investor-owned utilities, municipal utilities, electric cooperatives, and other grid operators—at no upfront cost, thanks to Gridline Finance’s ESCO-like approach to transmission upgrades that funds deployment through realized savings.
For new line construction, Gridline Finance delivers both CAPEX and OPEX savings. Stronger, higher-capacity, lower-sag wires mean the need for fewer, shorter power grid structures such as poles and towers, longer spans, and fewer total wires, reducing overall system CAPEX and OPEX for the benefit of utility ratepayers.
Across both re-conducting and new construction use cases, TS Conductor technology’s straightforward installation procedures are compatible with traditional field practice. Linemen can use the same tools and techniques already used for ACSR/ACSS transmission lines to install TS Conductor wires rapidly, safely, and easily. TS Conductor’s encapsulated core offers unparalleled protection against corrosion and other environmental issues to ensure long-term durability.
“Transmission infrastructure is the next frontier of the energy transition, and the backbone of a modern power grid. As utility-scale renewables and grid-edge distributed energy resources continue growing, transmission infrastructure is the critical ‘connective tissue’ of the electricity system,” explained Jason Huang, PhD, CEO of TS Conductor. “We’re doing for the power grid what fiber optic did for Internet service—delivering massive performance upgrades, including ‘bandwidth’ expansion. We’re proud to join with Starwood Energy to bring these benefits to transmission networks throughout North America and around the world.”
“TS Conductor’s technology will be a major catalyst for increasing the penetration of renewables in North America. We are delighted to partner with this innovative team to drive the adoption of an outstanding technology,” said Himanshu Saxena, CEO at Starwood Energy. “Furthermore, we look forward to providing access to an attractive financing model that will enable its customers to upgrade transmission networks without any upfront investment.”
In the United States alone, the Department of Energy (US DOE) notes that more than 70% of the country’s transmission lines are in excess of 25 years old. Meanwhile, U.S. DOE forecasts a need for 60% greater transmission capacity by 2030 and up to 200% more by 2050 to meet the nation’s “increase in renewable generation and expanding electrification needs.” The Starwood Energy / TS Conductor joint venture will pave the way for scaling leapfrog solutions designed for the needs of 21st century power grids.
Nikki Arnone, Inflection Point Agency for TS Conductor
Tom Johnson or Dan Scorpio for Starwood Energy Group