T&D World Magazine

Ronald Hauth: ‘Learn All You Can’

Ronald Hauth teaches a course on transmission analysis, and his advice to engineers is to learn all they can about new technologies and methodologies that will or that possibly will affect their transmission system’s performance or the way they analyze and plan their systems.

Hauth is an instructor at General Electric Co.’s Energy Learning Center. He prepares and delivers lectures for GE’s Power Systems Engineering Course series including topics such as power flow and system stability analysis, transmission analysis in a deregulated industry, and reactive power compensation and voltage control.

He has been officially retired since 1999, working as a part-time consultant, and during that time has also lectured on HVDC transmission and flexible AC transmission systems. He also consulted with TransEnergie U.S. during the development and testing of the Cross-Sound HVDC cable between Connecticut and Long Island.

Hauth will be presenting “Transmission Analysis” at the GE Learning Center in Schenectady, New York, on Aug. 14-15. The course covers how transmission analysis is affected by the deregulation of the power industry. Students will learn through lectures and hands-on participation in an interconnection study exercise. The course will also touch on transmission congestion and its impact on reliability and the energy markets and the range of studies associated with integrating a merchant power plant.

“Electric power transmission has been declared by most experts in the field as vital in enabling the electric energy markets to function successfully and economically,” Hauth said. “Yet, investments in transmission assets lag behind investments in new energy sources to the detriment of the smooth operation of energy markets and to the reliability of the energy delivery system those assets represent.”

Hauth said that transmission analysis is more important in the evolving deregulated industry than in the past when traditional, vertically integrated utilities produced integrated resource plans. “Today’s transmission planner encounters more uncertainty since he does not know years in advance where the next generating plant will locate.”

He has had extensive experience in transmission engineering and planning himself. While working on an A.A. S. at Erie County Technical Institute, he chose a cooperative work assignment with Niagara Mohawk Power Co. (NIMO) where he was introduced to the challenges of planning and operating electric power transmission and distribution systems Upon graduating from ECTI, he worked for two years as a distribution planner for NYS Electric & Gas (NYSEG), before returning to college to earn a B.S. degree. “Senior engineers with whom I worked at NIMO and NYSEG spoke frequently, with high regard, of the GE power systems engineering experts that I ultimately was lucky to join some years later.”

He earned his B.S. in electrical technology at Rochester Institute of Technology in 1963 and then went on to earn an M.S. in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1966. He became design engineer at GE’s Motor and Generator Department and then joined GE’s Power Systems Engineering Department in 1969. From 1994 to 1998, he worked with New England Electric Systems as a transmission engineer and project manager.

Hauth’s teaching experience actually began when he tutored a high school student in trigonometry while he was attending junior college. His various professional assignments at GE and other employers required many technical marketing presentations to potential customers.

“My broad range of work assignments provides for many real-life examples – ‘war stories’ – that I can draw on as meaningful illustrations of my lecture subjects, if for no other reason than to provide a welcome break in an otherwise tedious theoretical session,” Hauth said.

He said that being retired allows more time in course preparation than if he were employed full time. He consults or lectures only on subjects that interest him and with which he feels comfortable. He also lectures at a seminar for professional engineers held annually during Engineers’ Week and, occasionally, as an invited speaker at local IEEE chapter meetings.

“Continued education is vital in remaining productive in your chosen career,” Hauth said. “In addition to formal courses and self education through independent reading and research, [professionals should] consider teaching. There is no better way to learn a subject than to seriously prepare a course and teach it to motivated students. By preparing in advance for every potential question and challenge from inquisitive students, you will learn the subject better than simply reading a book or taking a course from someone else.”

Even as a retiree, Hauth said his free time is precious and is spent in outdoor sports: fishing and boating in the summer and downhill skiing in the winter. He also likes to read adventure novels and subscribes to National Geographic and Smithsonian magazines.

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