ARTEC selects Railbelt council facilitator
The Alaska Railbelt Cooperative Transmission and Electric Co. has selected Georgia-based consultancy firm GDS Associates Inc. to act as facilitator for the formation of a Railbelt Reliability Council for the Alaska Railbelt electricity transmission grid. The idea is that the RRC would become responsible for the oversight of reliability standards, planning and open access for the grid. Six independent utilities and the state of Alaska own and operate different grid sectors.
“GDS stood out to the selection committee due to their extensive experience working with other utility groups throughout the U.S. on collaborative and innovative solutions,” said David Glines, chair of the ARCTEC board and president of the Matanuska Electric Association board of directors. “They will be a catalyst for developing a model that can serve Alaskan ratepayers for years to come.”
“GDS is honored to be selected by ARCTEC to facilitate a model for a more effective and reliable electric grid with lower long-term costs,” said Seth Brown, partner and vice president of GDS’s transmission services.
The idea is that GDS will involve the Railbelt utilities, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska and other stakeholders in discussions and public forums, with the objective of recommending an organizational and leadership structure for the RRC, together with a proposed scope of responsibilities and specification of authority for the organization. The plan is to complete the work within six months. ARCTEC, with four of the Railbelt utilities as members, was originally formed to advance the concept of having a system operator for the Railbelt grid.
The proposal for the formation of the RRC comes in conjunction with moves towards a more unified and hence more cost effective electrical system in the Railbelt, including the pooling between utilities of the cheapest sources of electrical power and the possible formation of a transmission company to operate the transmission grid as a single entity.
- ALAN BAILEY