Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative (GVEC) in south central Texas has become the nation’s first rural electric cooperative to install the advanced overhead transmission conductor, 3M Aluminum Conductor Composite Reinforced (3M ACCR).
GVEC has deployed the lightweight, low-sag, high-capacity conductor on a transmission line linking the utility’s Schertz and Parkway substations. The conductor increases the line’s capacity by more than 60 percent without GVEC having to enlarge the towers or widen the right of way.
The 2.8-mi, single-circuit 138-kV line provides power for the city of Schertz, situated about 20 mi northeast of downtown San Antonio, and is near other communities in Guadalupe and Comal counties. 3M’s high-capacity ACCR conductor replaces a conventional steel core ACSR conductor on this line.
Rene Hernandez, system engineer for GVEC, says the new conductor “was chosen after an extensive review of the transmission load issues and the economics regarding replacement and addition of steel transmission structures. The higher ampacity conductor afforded GVEC the additional capacity needed to meet the planning requirement at a substantial savings to the GVEC membership.”
Founded 73 years ago, GVEC serves some 68,000 residential and commercial meters in a 13-county region comprising about 3,500 sq mi. The GVEC Schertz-Parkway line project was carried out in collaboration with the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), which conducted feasibility and design studies, with the support of GVEC staff engineers. Southwestern Power Construction of Bastrop, Texas, conducted the installation project.