CPFL Energia’s power distribution unit, CPFL Piratininga, has installed and energized the 3M Aluminum Conductor Composite Reinforced (ACCR) as part of an upgrade on a key transmission line serving a densely populated area in São Paulo state, more than doubling the capacity of that line without requiring larger towers.
Use of the light-weight, low-sag conductor in place of a conventional steel conductor enabled the utility to increase power transmission along a narrow right of way immediately surrounded by residences, without disrupting residents or causing potentially costly delays.
CPFL Energia serves some 6.5 million customers in four states, with a generating capacity of 1,672 MW, which is expected to grow to 2,174 MW in 2010, as the result of a vigorous expansion program.
The 3M ACCR conductor was installed on a 3.3-km (slightly over 2 mi) line segment passing through a residential district of Várzea Paulista, a municipality of about 110,000 residents, some 40 km (25 mi) northwest of the city of São Paulo. The 88-kV double-circuit line boosts the power supply to Várzea Paulista and nearby Jundiaí, which has a population of more than 320,000.
“We studied several options and decided that 3M ACCR provides the most reliable, cost-effective solution for delivering more power through a dense neighborhood without creating numerous logistical problems,” says Paulo Ricardo Bombassaro, engineering and planning manager for CPFL Energia. “We were impressed by its high-performance results in other applications where new tower construction was undesirable. We also were pleased that our transmission line installation process went very smoothly and everything is working as designed.”
CPFL Energia is the second Brazilian utility to install the breakthrough conductor. In February of this year, Companhia de Transmissão de Energia Elétrica Paulista (CTEEP), installed the 3M ACCR to upgrade an environmentally sensitive river crossing, also avoiding new tower construction while boosting transmission capacity.
Overall, the new 3M conductor is now in use by some two dozen utilities in the United States and five other nations on three continents.
“There is growing recognition around the world that 3M ACCR is a genuine problem solver, a readily available, proven, cost-effective way to avoid the multiple risks that accompany tower construction, permitting and right-of-way expansion in certain areas,” says Tim Koenig, director of the 3M High Capacity Conductor Program.
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.