Efficiency Matters

When the term “efficiency” is used, it is generally considered to be an important aspect of consumer products. A higher performing product may come at a cost premium, but it is generally recognized that it will last longer, use less fuel or offer some other important advantages that will pay dividends over time. In the world of power line wires (“overhead conductors”), the same arguments hold true. Efficiency matters.

Today, as we are scrambling to increase the capacity of our grid to serve growing demand and connect with the least expensive (and/or cleanest) source of generation, we may be overlooking an opportunity to improve grid efficiency as well. Not surprisingly, this is a very good idea and the right time to act.

Here is an example from a company in the US: In 2014, American Electric Power (AEP) needed to increase the capacity of two parallel 120 miles 345 kV lines near the Gulf of Mexico to accommodate growing demand. AEP considered a number of high-capacity conductors like ACSS, Invar, ACCR and GAP, but none of these would meet their capacity requirements without modifying or replacing existing structures. AEP selected the ACCC® Conductor that uses a hybrid carbon fiber core because it met both the capacity and sag requirement. No structural modifications were required.

Because AEP had a high degree of confidence with ACCC Conductor, they were also able to complete the upgrade while the line remained energized. At the end of the day, they successfully completed their project eight months ahead of schedule, winning the coveted EEI Edison Award in 2016.

Because the ACCC Conductor’s composite core is so much lighter than steel, this product utilizes twenty-eight percent (28%) more aluminum without a weight or diameter penalty. The added aluminum content served to reduce line losses by thirty percent (30%). At a very low annual load factor of thirty-four percent (34%), this saved AEP 300,000 MWh per year, representing an ANNUAL SAVINGS of over $15 million dollars EVERY YEAR. Additionally, based on all combined sources of generation in the state where the project was completed, it also reduced CO2 emissions by over 200,000 metric tons – the emission equivalent of removing 34,000 cars from the road. From another point of view, reduced line losses also freed-up 28 MW of generation resources that were otherwise wasted – the equivalent of saving another $28 +/- million dollars.

With over 700 ACCC Conductor installations completed worldwide on T&D projects ranging from 11 to 533 kV, the ACCC Conductor’s attributes have been well proven. In fact, the ACCC Conductor is now being specified for several reconductor and greenfield projects in the EHV range from 345 to 500 kV. In many parts of the world, the ACCC Conductor is being chosen specifically for its improved capacity and efficiency by multilateral banks funding Climate Mitigation & Energy Projects. For more information please contact [email protected]

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