Power and renewables

Views from the industry: Sharyland Utilities

Sharyland is an independent electric transmission utility which owns and operates 345 kV and 138 kV transmission networks and substations in Texas, U.S and the 300 MW Sharyland DC Tie HVDC interconnector to the Mexican national grid.

Sharyland Utilities

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Venkata Viswanadham
Venkata Surya Viswanadham

Lead Senior Consultant, Regional Transmission Compliance & Business Development

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We spoke to President and CEO Stacey Doré about keeping up with changing technology, a unique approach to partnering with renewable developers and the secret behind its most important asset.

Stacey Doré: As part of a family of companies whose mission is to ‘impact humanity for the better, with energy,’ Sharyland believes we are in the middle of an energy transformation that involves adding more energy resources to the mix rather than completely transitioning away in the near term from current energy sources. This transformation is a tremendous opportunity for Sharyland. As a transmission service provider throughout the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid, we intend to develop, build, and operate transmission infrastructure enabling the continued rise of renewable energy and energy storage to meet ever-rising energy demand. The challenge for Sharyland and our industry is to keep up with changing technology in a regulated world where change is not always rapid. We try to meet this challenge by staying abreast of the latest trends and research and advocating for policy changes when appropriate.

Faster electrification is a key accelerator of the energy transformation. DNV GL predicts that electricity’s share in the final energy demand mix will more than double within a single generation, and that half the light vehicles sold worldwide will be electric vehicles (EVs) by the early 2030s. We see broad consensus that electrification of society will increase exponentially in the coming decades, including renewables, storage, and other carbon-neutral generation technologies. Electrification of heavy and light vehicles, and greater adoption of distributed energy resources and utility scale storage, will also be key factors in advancing the energy transition.

Advanced charging technology and investment in infrastructure to drive the adoption of EVs would speed up the transformation. It is also important that capital continues to be deployed to lower the cost of renewable power and storage technologies. Longer duration battery-storage technology, such as flow batteries, could make wind power storage more economically viable, thereby enabling more wind generation. Investment in grid resilience and stability is critical to ensure that we can reliably transmit the renewable power that our world is demanding. Various smart-grid technologies could improve transmission capacity and reliability, making our business more efficient and effective.

We take a unique approach to partnering with renewable developers and enabling advanced technologies. For example, we are currently working on a project to connect a 200 MW battery energy storage system to one of our substations in South Texas, one of the largest battery projects underway in ERCOT. We have worked constructively with the battery developer to be responsive to their timeline and flexible on design issues to ensure the desired in-service date. Whereas some other utilities have opposed competitive development of energy storage, we embrace the opportunity that the competitive marketplace brings to us. We enable customer choice and technology advancement because we believe in expanding the pie rather than engaging in turf wars. We have partnered with battery developers to ensure their projects come online on time, but in a way that preserves grid reliability. Perhaps most importantly, we are nimble and responsive to those who partner with us. We believe in speed and agility, not utility bureaucracy.

Sharyland participates in various industry groups committed to leading a clean energy transformation – such as the Edison Electric Institute. This gives us invaluable access to worldwide peers on the leading edge of ensuring that the utility industry meets the needs of the energy transition. It keeps us abreast of developments and lends our voice to important issues.

Sharyland participates in various industry groups committed to leading a clean energy transformation – such as the Edison Electric Institute. This gives us invaluable access to worldwide peers on the leading edge of ensuring that the utility industry meets the needs of the energy transition. It keeps us abreast of developments and lends our voice to important issues.

In the near term, there is much speculation about COVID-19 impacts on the energy transition. We don’t know how the pandemic will ultimately affect the pace of transformation, but we do know that COVID-19 will not stop it. The transformation continues, and we will continue to do our part to advance it. COVID-19 has taught us so much about the value of technology, efficiency, productivity, and crisis management. We have also learned to be more agile and adaptable as we have had to transform our businesses to survive the pandemic. Those lessons will help us be better leaders.

But I believe the most important lesson is that no matter what technology, policy, cost, environmental, or health challenges we face, we cannot advance any of our objectives without our people, our most important asset. The highly committed and tremendously talented workforce at Sharyland and in the wider energy industry will help us navigate and advance the energy transformation in a way that impacts humanity for the better.

Contact us:

Venkata Viswanadham
Venkata Surya Viswanadham

Lead Senior Consultant, Regional Transmission Compliance & Business Development

Send email
No matter what technology, policy, cost, environmental, or health challenges we face, we cannot advance any of our objectives without our people, our most important asset.
Stacey Doré,
  • President and CEO
  • Sharyland Utilities