In 2016, American Electric Power won the Edison Award for Transmission Project of the Year. They replaced two 120 mile long 345 kV circuits of ACSR conductor with ACCC® Conductor with a goal of nearly doubling line capacity without having to rebuild or replace existing structures (to save time, money and environmental impact). The project was completed while the line remained energized. While the primary goals were achieved and the project completed eight months ahead of schedule, the use of ACCC Conductor also reduced line losses by a whopping 30%.
Reduced line losses in this case translates into a 300,000 MWh savings per year (~$15 million @ $50.00 / MWh). It also reduces CO2 emissions by ~200,000 metric tons per year (the equivalent of removing 34,000 cars from the road). This also freed-up 34 MW of generation capacity that was previously wasted.
Though the cost of the conductor was only a small percentage of the overall project cost (which included substation upgrades), the use of ACCC Conductor benefited AEP, their customers and the environment and is also saving over 3.6 million gallons of clean filtered water every year that is used by fossil and nuclear generation plants to produce steam that spins turbine generators. This the amount of clean water consumed by over 68,000 people every year!
As regulators in the U.S. move away from a “risk based” approach to a “consumer benefits” approach when considering ROI’s for transmission investment, the case for deploying modern power line conductors such as ACCC® Conductor has never been stronger. These are the types of benefits our Utilities should consider, present and pursue.