US-based CTC Global Corporation has developed and owns the rights to the highly efficient ACCC (aluminium conductor composite core) technology. With a presence in India for the past six years, CTC recently completed its 100th ACCC conductor project here. CTC Global today has a footprint spanning an impressive 16 Indian states with a total deployment of 8,000 km of ACCC conductor. In this exchange, J.D. Sitton, CEO, CTC Global Corporation, expresses his satisfaction on CTC’s performance in India, and explains why the subcontinent would be a key market for CTC worldwide. An interview by Venugopal Pillai.
As of today, CTC Global does have an impressive record in India with a footprint that spans almost the entire geography. Tell us about your cumulative achievement in India, in terms of number of installations and the associated km of transmission line.
Earlier this year, CTC and its partners booked the 100th ACCC conductor project in India. These projects now span across 16 Indian states totaling nearly 8,000 km of ACCC conductor. Over 75 of these projects (nearly 4,500 km of ACCC conductor) have already been installed and commissioned and are serving companies like Tata Power, Torrent Power, UPPTCL, MSETCL, PGCIL, KPTCL, OPTCL, WBSETCL, Cairn Energy, TS Transco and others, in voltages ranging from 22kV to 220kV.
CTC Global last year appointed its third stranding partner. Tell us more. Are you in negotiation for more partnerships?
Through the collective efforts and hard work of CTC Global and its authorized manufacturing partners—Sterlite Power Transmission Ltd and Apar Industries Ltd, the market in India has grown to the point that a third authorized manufacturing partner (AMP) is warranted. CTC has always respected Gupta Power and its team and in mid-2018, Gupta acknowledged the legitimacy of CTC’s intellectual property and expressed its willingness to become CTC’s third AMP. Things moved quickly and the market response has been very positive. CTC is a long-term investor in the Indian market. And from this perspective, my colleagues and I will continue assessing the market’s need for competent, qualified and respectable manufacturing partners.
Much of India’s power transmission grid is in the hands of government utilities that are not in the best of financial health, preempting them from experimenting with new technology. Despite this, CTC Global has recorded an impressive performance even with state-owned utilities. How has the experience been?
CTC has an extremely enviable track record in India and around the world. Our ACCC® Conductors are well beyond the need for experimentation and trials and India’s utility companies know this. Of course, accomplishing this track record and earning the respect of over 200 utilities in 50 countries globally has not been easy. Virtually every one of these utilities has its own set of approvals and product qualifications and CTC patiently worked through each one of these. And we will continue doing this with each new utility we serve. We have the design and testing expertise, the application engineering support, the fulfillment capability through our AMPs and the field service presence to drive excellent outcomes all over the globe.
Last year, we learnt that CTC Global could consider having a manufacturing facility for ACCC in India. Have matters moved closer to reality?
Year 2018 was a massively busy year for our company and its partners. This was driven by the realization of significant growth in key markets. Thus far we have been able to serve India and our other growing markets by expanding capabilities at our existing manufacturing plants. This year we are looking at adding more manufacturing facilities and India is a leading candidate.
Apart from China and Indonesia where CTC Global has local manufacturing facilities, are you considering any more countries?
Besides India, we are considering other global locations to accommodate demand and help ensure we can meet “local content” requirements while also taking advantage of other benefits and further supporting our customers and partner’s needs.
Speaking of South Asia where India is CTC Global’s major market, how do you rate opportunities in Bangladesh where you have made your debut, as we understand?
The deployment of the ACCC conductor in Bangladesh is a remarkable story. In the last 12 months or so, Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) has already completed over a dozen ACCC conductor installations, replacing both ACSR and AAAC conductors. Currently PGCB is working on more than a half dozen other ACCC projects, one of which is a 160-km quad bundle 400kV line.
India has achieved much in terms of adding electricity connections (in both rural and urban areas) under the Saubhagya scheme. India’s power distribution network, therefore, will become even more loaded. In such a scenario, how do you see prospects of an energy-efficient solution like ACCC conductor?
The 33kV distribution (sub-transmission) system provides a very important link between generation facilities and power delivery to residential, commercial and industrial users. Due to the magnitude of the challenge, Indian utilities will need to upgrade heavily-loaded 33kV lines with high performing conductors such ACCC to help increase line capacity and reduce line losses. Reductions in line losses can reduce operating costs, fuel consumption and associated green house gas emissions. This also serves to free up generation capacity that is otherwise wasted, essentially reducing the need to build new generation resources – which can save huge amounts of money.
Please summarize your outlook on India over the next 5-7 years, and also the subcontinent’s role in CTC Global’s business worldwide.
The Indian government’s schemes like Saubhagya (electricity to every household), UDAY, etc. are driving the growth in T&D in India and as utilities look to develop new transmission lines and upgrade existing lines they are leveraging modern technologies such as the high-performance, energy-efficient ACCC conductor.
Our experience in India and Bangladesh suggests that as other South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries work to improve access to and delivery of electricity, CTC Global and its partners will have excellent opportunities to provide good outcomes for the utilities and people in those countries.
(Photograph shows the 220kV Nerul-Trombay transmission line in Maharashtra, India, equipped with ACCC conductor)