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Underground transmission?

Doug Houseman's picture
Visionary and innovator in the utility industry and grid modernization Burns & McDonnell

I have a broad background in utilities and energy. I worked for Capgemini in the Energy Practice for more than 15 years. During that time I rose to the position of CTO of the 12,000 person...

  • Member since 2017
  • 241 items added with 84,363 views
  • Oct 21, 2021

Some people are calling for the highway rights of way to be used for underground transmission to bypass the decade(s) long process of assembling transmission rights of way?

There are several methods for doing this at voltages above 345KV:

1.     Open a trench that is roughly 25 feet square and lay the conduits in the trench.

2.     Use directional boring to put each conduit in place individually

3.     Us a tunnel boring machine

There are variations and combinations for these methods that make in most cases better economic sense than doing the whole route with one method (e.g., directional boring under railroad tracks and overpasses and trenching elsewhere).

One of the issues with the US labeled highways is that it is main street in many small towns and the right of way would have to be under the street or around the outside of the town. US2 for instance is 2100 miles long and has over 700 communities where it is a major surface street.

Boring machines typically run over $50 million a mile to create the tunnel, Trenching typically is over $4 million a mile, and directional bore is typically in the middle.

How do we really reduce the cost of more transmission?


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Doug Houseman's picture
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