Date: Thursday, April 11, 2019
Time: 6:15 PM. to 8:30 PM. (EST)
Speaker: Mr. Jay Caspary
Location: CALVIN COLLEGE, PRINCE CONFERENCE CENTER, HICKORY ROOM (park in free lots 15 and 16)
Cost: All IEEE members free, guests $15
RSVP: required
Event Details & Registration:

Summary: The U.S. electrical grid is really made up of three largely separate grids with puny transmission connections at the seams. These seams cross sparsely populated rangeland in the middle of the country. The Eastern Interconnection serves much of the United States east of the Great Plains. The Western Interconnection covers residents from the Great Plains to the Rockies and up and down the West Coast. and most of Texas has a grid of its own.
Almost like safety pins holding together an elaborate wedding dress, no more than 1,300 megawatts of transmission capacity at a total of seven locations stitch all of this together. The purpose of the Seam Study was to investigate the existing Seam between the Eastern and Western Interconnections and potential reconfigurations beyond the weak and aging back-to-back HVDC ties in-service today. The best wind and solar resources in the US straddle the Seam. Led by researchers at the U.S. Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Lab, the new study found considerable economic and engineering value in fortifying these connections to better distribute power resources around the country.
Some of the study results were presented in July, 2018 at the TransGrid-X Symposium at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. The SEAMS “report” is currently still a draft IEEE paper that has yet to be released by DoE. However, it was discussed in depth in an August 21018 IEEE Spectrum article:

A bigger seams study is underway now, the North American Renewable Integration Study (NARIS) that includes all US ISO/RTOs as well as entities in Mexico and Canada. NARIS is leveraging the SEAMS Study models, data, tools and expertise of NREL staff.

Jay Caspary is Director – Research, Development & Tariff Services at Southwest Power Pool (SPP) in Little Rock AR. He has over 37 years of experience in transmission planning, electric and gas resource planning, regulatory services/pricing, marketing/customer choice, and transmission services. At SPP since 2001, Jay has been instrumental in coordinated planning studies as well as research projects to capitalize on the opportunities with renewable developments in and around SPP. In early 2013, Jay completed a one-year assignment at the DOE’s Office of Electricity as a Sr Policy Advisor to help with grid modernization and research priorities. From 2016 to the present he has served on The Industry Advisory Board for Cybersecurity’s Center for Secure Evolvable Energy Delivery Systems (SEEDS).

Jay was the 2016-2018 Co-Chair of the Technical Review Committee for the DOE-funded, NREL-led Interconnections Seam Study. Jay’s presentation at our upcoming meeting on April 11th will focus on some of the exciting opportunities and challenges faced in transforming the Seam to enhance grid reliability and economic development of renewables to take advantage of the rich diversity of renewable resources. Jay is an active IEEE member and a member of the PES Society with a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois-Urban.

QUESTIONS: Contact PES/PELS Chapter Vice Chair Jim MacInnes at