Slashing Transmission Wildfire Risk Using High-Capacity Low-Sag Conductors
- Sep 8, 2021 3:51 pm GMT
In the Western United States, dry vegetation, strong winds and sagging powerlines have been blamed for hundreds of wildfires causing billions of dollars in damages and lost lives. While efforts are underway to improve vegetation management, underground distribution lines and upgrade other equipment, upgrading the transmission backbone is key to improving grid reliability and resilience while slashing the risk of transmission wildfires.
Much of the existing transmission system in the Western United States was built between 1950 and 1980 using conductor technology developed in the early 1900’s. These conductors consisted of steel core strands wrapped with aluminum wires. The steel provided tensile strength while the aluminum carried electrical current. In transmission voltages (above 69 kV), most of these conductors were suspended on steel lattice structures. While electrical demand varies within any given 24 hour period, many of the existing transmission lines are running at their upper limits and sagging beyond safe clearances as identified in the 2010 NERC Alert. Excessive conductor sag (and aged conductors) not only increases the risk of wildfires, they also reflect that the lines are most likely unable to carry additional current under emergency conditions.
Get Published - Build a Following
The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.
If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.