Line Loss and The Environment
Looking back a few years, there has been substantial investment in improving the efficiency of generators to reduce fuel consumption and/or help improve the economic viability of competing generation technologies such as solar and wind. Improved transformer technologies, while slightly more expensive, were also fairly easy to justify – as they offered reduced life-cycle costs and significantly improved efficiency.
With regards to Transmission and Distribution however, very little emphases historically has been put on conductor efficiency and line losses, as the costs associated have been simply passed on to the consumer or end user. More recently however, industry experts and policy makers have started to recognize the impact transmission and distribution assets are having on climate change on an international level. Luckily for the environment and consumer alike, more consideration is being given to improving grid efficiency and reducing the overall cost as a result. Conductor efficiency is now being considered as part of the ever expanding equation of global warming, and it is another step in a shared effort and a long road ahead.
Considering that the average car in North America emits 4.75 metric tons of CO2 per year, this would be the equivalent of taking 42,000 cars off the road or removing 2.5 million light bulbs for every one-hundred circuit miles of 345 kV conductor upgraded from standard ACSR with an HTLS conductor alturnative.
It appears that replacing aging conductor with a high-temperature low-sag alternative like ACCC conductor may be a significantly faster and substantial way to slow the progress and subsequent effects that environmental change is having on our planet.