CPFL Piratininga, a power distribution unit of CPFL Energia, one of Brazil’s largest electric utilities, will install the 3M Aluminum Conductor Composite Reinforced (ACCR) to upgrade the capacity of a key transmission line serving a densely populated area in the state of São Paulo. The lightweight, sag-resistant 3M conductor provides more than twice the capacity of conventional steel conductors of similar size without requiring major tower modifications or construction of new towers.
CPFL Energia serves some 6.3 million customers in four states, with a generating capacity of 1,672 MW. With an expansion program underway to accommodate Brazil’s dynamic economic growth, the company expects to have 2,174 MW of capacity available in 2010.
The line to be upgraded with ACCR passes through a residential neighborhood in Várzea Paulista, where houses lining both sides of the right of way present numerous costly logistical problems for building new towers. According to Paulo Ricardo Bombassaro, engineering and planning manager for CPFL Energia: “After reviewing numerous options for meeting the growth in demand in this area, we determined that 3M ACCR is the most cost-effective, reliable and best technical solution available to us.”
Earlier in 2008, another major electric utility in Brazil, CTEEP, chose the ACCR for a capacity upgrade under very different circumstances. The utility is applying the breakthrough conductor to avoid new tower construction in a rural area, on a line that crosses an environmentally sensitive section of the Paraná River.
“Electric utilities are recognizing ACCR as a compelling tool in cases where upgrades are needed but new or larger towers and rights of way would pose substantial risks,” says Tim Koenig, director of the 3M High Capacity Conductor Program. “This revolutionary conductor allows them to avoid the expense and risk of new construction and permitting, and minimize environmental disruption.”
To date, more than 20 utilities in the United States and five other nations have installed the 3M ACCR, including two in China. In the U.S., major users include Western Area Power Administration, Arizona Public Service, Xcel Energy and Alabama Power Company, a unit of Southern Company. These installations are all performing successfully, as 3M expected.
The CPFL Energia installation, boosting power to Varzea Paulista and Jundiaí, which are both north of the city of São Paulo, is expected to be completed in March 2009. The 3.3 km upgrade increases capacity on an 88 kV, double circuit line.
3M ACCR’s strength and durability result from its core, composed of aluminum oxide (alumina) fibers embedded in high-purity aluminum, utilizing a highly specialized and patented process. The constituent materials can withstand high temperatures without appreciable loss in strength, even over long periods of time.