Upgrading the Electrical Transmission Grid Using High Efficiency ACCC Conductor
D. Bryant, E. Bosze
Composite Technology Corporation, US
electrical transmission grid, energy efficiency, conductors
As growing demand for electricity continues to stress the electrical transmission grid, many transmission lines have become thermally constrained. These constraints are due to the subsequent sag that occurs as bare overhead conductors are operated at higher temperatures, due to their high coefficients of thermal expansion. A new conductor has been developed and commercialized that mitigates high temperature sag, through the use of aerospace derived carbon fiber composites. The ACCC conductor (Aluminum Conductor Composite Core) was developed not only to replace thermally constrained lines, but also to reduce the costs associated with new installations, by reducing the number of supporting structures required. This conductor reduces line losses by 25% compared to conventional steel core conductors and can also handle twice the power flow, which can mitigate congestion costs, improve grid reliability, and reduce fuel consumption and emissions. This reduction in line losses measured in killowatt hours on an average 50 mile line over a one month period can exceed 20 million kWh. At 5 cents per kWh that translates into a $1 millon dollar per month savings. While the cost of this conductor is slightly higher than the conventional alternative, the reduction in line losses and improved throughput can offset the premium in a matter of weeks.
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