Doubling transmission capacity with reconductoring upgrade
POWER & RENEWABLE ENERGY

Doubling transmission capacity with reconductoring upgrade

Advancements in grid technologies are being hailed as potential solutions to enhance the current transmission infrastructure quickly and cost-effectively. A recent report by the non-profit organization GridLab has highlighted one such solution: reconductoring with advanced conductors within existing corridors.

The process of reconductoring entails the replacement of existing conductors with more advanced ones within the same rights-of-way (ROW), thereby improving the transmission capacity of the current grid.

According to the report, reconductoring presents the most viable option for doubling transmission capacity along existing transmission corridors. This approach enables the efficient utilization of clean energy resources while new transmission lines are being developed to meet long-term system requirements.

By utilizing advanced conductors, reconductoring projects can double the power transfer capacity within existing ROWs, especially benefiting shorter transmission lines (<50 miles) that are restricted by thermal limitations.

In a report issued last year, the International Energy Agency emphasized that the world needs to add or replace 80 million kilometers of electricity grids by 2040, equivalent to the total length of grids worldwide today, in order to achieve national climate targets and bolster energy security.

The reconductoring technology solution could prove beneficial in countries like India, where there is a surge in renewable energy generation, leading to an unprecedented demand for evacuation infrastructure to connect to the grid.

The Need for Reconductoring

The landscape of energy production and consumption is undergoing rapid changes, driven by both the substantial decrease in costs associated with clean energy technologies and the growing demand for electricity across various sectors.

In order to achieve ambitious clean energy targets, such as the goal of achieving 100% clean electricity in the US by 2035, the focus has shifted towards generating renewable energy and addressing the critical issue of grid capacity.

While the adoption of renewable energy sources has experienced growth, the expansion of transmission capacity has struggled to keep pace, increasing at a mere 1% annually over the past decade. This disparity has resulted in over 2 TW of untapped generation and storage resources awaiting access to the grid.

Additionally, the rising demand for electricity, coupled with the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events, is placing unprecedented pressure on the grid.

In order to alleviate this strain and ensure the realization of decarbonization objectives, immediate action to enhance transmission capacity is essential.

Recent policy initiatives have outlined long-term strategies for expanding transmission capacity; however, the implementation of these measures will take time, leaving critical gaps in the interim.

Economic Advantages of Reconductoring

The economic benefits of reconductoring with advanced conductors are significant. Compared to the construction of new transmission lines, reconductoring projects typically cost less than half while providing similar capacity increases across all voltage levels.

These cost savings are further enhanced when considering the speed of implementation and the avoidance of new ROW acquisition and construction costs.

Advancements in grid technologies are being hailed as potential solutions to enhance the current transmission infrastructure quickly and cost-effectively. A recent report by the non-profit organization GridLab has highlighted one such solution: reconductoring with advanced conductors within existing corridors. The process of reconductoring entails the replacement of existing conductors with more advanced ones within the same rights-of-way (ROW), thereby improving the transmission capacity of the current grid. According to the report, reconductoring presents the most viable option for doubling transmission capacity along existing transmission corridors. This approach enables the efficient utilization of clean energy resources while new transmission lines are being developed to meet long-term system requirements. By utilizing advanced conductors, reconductoring projects can double the power transfer capacity within existing ROWs, especially benefiting shorter transmission lines (

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