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Dr. Asim Haldar: Transmission Line Design for Extreme Events

June 16, 2016
Haldar will chair and present at CEATI’s Transmission Conference to take place on Nov. 1-2, 2016, in San Diego, California

In the early part of his career in the mid 80s, Asim Haldar developed an interest in ice accretion on cables and the design of lines for extreme ice loads. So he became involved in ice accretion models and its application in extreme ice load prediction on lines as well as risk-based design (RBD). Numerous projects, emergencies and opportunities led Dr. Asim Haldar to eventually get involved in many other aspects of line design as well. To this day, he is still working in many of these areas through CEATI International as well as his own utility consulting firm.

Haldar is presently the technical advisor for CEATI International’s Transmission Overhead Design and Extreme Events Mitigation (TODEM) group, which consists of 30 leading international electrical utilities from four continents, with a common goal to discuss, benchmark, and share/capture knowledge on overhead transmission line design issues. Numerous activities are conducted in a collaborative manner to foster knowledge in the following core areas:

  • Extreme Events
  • Maximizing Availability/Utilization of Existing Transmission Lines
  • Investigation of New Technologies
  • Development of New Transmission Lines - Constraints (Environmental, Visual, Structural, etc.
  • Understanding Resiliency Issues and its Impact on Overhead Line Design
CEATI is designed to provide leadership in developing applied technology solutions for the electricity industry; its collaborative programs offer a flexible and cost-effective approach to participation in technological innovation and advancement.

Haldar will chair and present at CEATI’s Transmission Conference to take place on Nov. 1-2, 2016, in San Diego, California: Best Practices for EHV Line Design and Asset Management. The conference will provide the industry with state-of-the-art information on the best practices for design, construction and maintenance of EHV transmission lines through eight featured sessions led by world-renowned experts and authors of CEATI’s report entitled, “Best Practices Guide for the Design of 230kV to 765kV Overhead Transmission Lines.” Strategic Breakout Sessions will provide attendees with a platform to exchange knowledge and information on new initiatives and recent technological advancements in a more intimate setting.

T&D World asked Dr. Haldar about the conference, his interesting experiences in line design and the importance of EHV in power delivery:

Q: How does your position help you in chairing and presenting this transmission conference—and how does your past experience relate?

I am providing services to one of the CEATI’s twelve T&D groups and wear a few “hats” – facilitator, technology expert, technical manager and leader for collaborative projects initiated by participants. My exposure to transmission experts within the group and beyond definitely helps me to be abreast of the latest technological advancements and present this information at group meetings and conference sessions.

I have worked in the utility industry for 37 years.  Prior to joining CEATI as the technical advisor, I was the manager of research and development in the Engineering Services Division of Nalcor Energy, NL, Canada. I have also been an active member of numerous international organizations within our industry, including IEEE TPC (Tower, Pole and Conductor subcommittee), CEA (Canadian Electricity Association), CIGRE Study committee SC B2 on Overhead Lines, PMAPS (Probabilistic Methods Applied to Power Systems) and IWAIS (International Workshop on Atmospheric Icing of Structures). Particularly, I have been in the International Technical Advisory Committee of the latter two organizations for many years.    

I have also written and published a large number of reports and articles (more than 50 publications) in the areas of transmission line design and asset management, covering problems of ice accretion on cables, vibration of conductors, reliability based design and optimization, foundation behaviors under static and dynamic loads, cascade prevention, asset management etc.  My background is clearly quite helpful in my mission to educate new engineers and assist them to solve problems that our industry faces and provide practical solutions. 

Q:  When and why did you decide to go into EHV and transmission design?

Well, my main area of expertise is applied R&D that provides practical solutions and helps utility engineers in their day-to-day operations.

I have to admit that this was not at all well planned, but at the end, it worked out extremely well for me. My graduate work was on the behavior of offshore structures, but I accepted a career in the transmission line design area with Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (N&LH) during my graduate studies (many years ago). That position led me to develop an interest in ice accretion on cables and design of lines for extreme ice loads. I was lucky to have been supported by my utility throughout my career to carry out the R&D work and solve practical problems.

I have always had an interest in research on the topic of line design and always wanted to know a bit more, even it took a little longer to find the solution. For example, one large project that I was involved in at Newfoundland & Labrador Hydro (N&LH) in 2003, led to the development of a comprehensive wood pole line management program ($ 2M annually).  It was initially based on a thorough research and testing project in collaboration with the university, and later was approved by the regulatory body as a multi-year asset management program for N&LH. This program is still being carried out.  It was one of the most successful programs that N&LH has implemented in the asset management area and has been commended by the regulatory body.

Q: Best thing about your job right now?

I do not consider this as a regular job. I enjoy the work and can work at my own pace.  I always have a lot of questions, know many answers and am fully engaged with the utility members and with my peers and colleagues.

The CEATI platform provides a unique opportunity to have excellent discussions, debates, and raise questions on many issues, eventually enabling us to develop and formalize project scopes and initiatives. These initiatives are eventually executed by contractors (representing utilities, consulting firms, Universities and Research Institutes) to provide our members with possible practical solutions to their problems.  I am always connected to the Industry and the best thing is, I have a lot of flexibility to develop and formalize my thoughts and eventually, to execute them successfully.

At present, I am involved in three separate projects in the Overhead Line Area apart from my regular work as Technical Advisor for the CEATI International Transmission Overhead Line Design program.

Q: What courses/sessions have you presented in the past, and what’s coming up?

I have participated in many seminars, conferences etc. during my lengthy professional career. Some of the organizations listed above provide just a small sample of the activities in this area that I have been involved with for over the past 30 years.

My first experience with CEATI as a technical leader (dated by 2014) was an International Conference on “Line Design and Asset Management in the 21st Century” ( in Niagara Falls, Canada.  It was a great success with many attendees from all corners of the globe. The event was organized in an interactive format with breakout sessions as well as numerous presentations and discussion that allowed attendees to identify problems and outline ways of collaborative approach and problem solving.  

Presently, we are in the process of organizing an International conference on the topic of “Best Practices for EHV Line Design & Asset Management” ( in San Diego.  It is scheduled to take place this fall.  Considering the success of the 2014 conference, I proposed to CEATI the same format and it was accepted. This time, we expect many world recognized experts to attend and contribute in various subject areas. This provides me with an opportunity to connect with colleagues and peers bringing their expertise to one place.  It also allows us to disseminate the state-of-the-art information to new engineers that are joining our industry at an increasing pace.

Q: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your past experience that you want to communicate to students or participants?

The most important thing is to have perseverance in order to work through difficult problems to get reasonable solutions (even if it is not 100% complete) and pursue this in a practical manner so that the benefit can be measured in a tangible form. The industry is always looking to have a measure of benefit to ensure that resources are allocated in an efficient manner.

Q: Why do you think transmission line design is so important to the industry?

I have worked in many facets of transmission line design, and the objective was always to ensure that the customers (ratepayers) are provided with an optimized line design leading to them having to pay less.  This is because a well-balanced design approach takes into consideration initial line cost and risk of failure. One can only achieve this in the long term by carrying out a thorough R&D program so that all important design parameters are accounted for appropriately. 

Risk-based overhead line design and asset management, which I have advocated, is important to the utility industry because it balances the line cost, provides optimum reliability and reduces the ratepayers’ bills.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?

I have many interests.  I play musical instruments and am very much interested in politics, music and I also sing (probably not that well).  I am also an avid traveler, at least three to four times a year.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

I have always enjoyed working with students and young engineers throughout my career, allowing me to see at least 100 senior-term engineering students who have continued on to do a wonderful job for me during my professional career.  I always prefer to provide support and guidance to the students as they are growing, but also a lot of independence, so that they can think independently and develop their own skills to solve problems. I also supervised one graduate student at a Master’s level who is at present working as Manager of Regulatory Affairs in my former company.

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