ST. PAUL, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation’s
largest electric utilities, has chosen the lightweight, low-sag 3M ACCR
overhead conductor to double transmission capacity on a set of lines
that cross extensive wetlands near Savannah. The upgrade significantly
reduces the need for larger towers or a wider right of way, thus
avoiding a range of potential challenges, including construction on
environmentally sensitive land.
Based in Atlanta, Southern Company serves more than 4.4 million
residential, commercial and industrial customers in four states. Georgia
Power is its largest subsidiary.
The upgrade is on a 16.7-mile line linking the Kraft generating plant in
Savannah with its McIntosh plant north of the city. The project resolves
potential capacity issues by approximately doubling the 230kV double
circuits’ line capacity, replacing a conventional steel core conductor
with a 3M
ACCR 1622 kcmil conductor that is light enough to be accommodated
mostly by the existing infrastructure.
After studying a number of options and considering the capacity
increases achievable; the costs of structures, construction and
permitting, and conductor costs, Georgia Power chose ACCR as the most
Bob Beck, Southern Company Services Senior Transmission Planner, cited
three issues that confronted the upgrade project: right-of-way expansion
was not feasible, wet terrain made tower construction very expensive and
environmentally problematic, and construction outages were limited to
“3M ACCR enabled us to use mostly existing towers and to re-conductor
with minimal disturbance to the land and no service interruption,” he
In 2013, the company is completing a similar project with 3M ACCR to
further enhance area reliability.
3M ACCR’s composite core is as strong as steel, but lighter, and its
coefficient of thermal expansion is half that of steel.
Tim Koenig, director of 3M’s High-Capacity Conductor program, notes,
“Utilities around the globe are recognizing 3M ACCR as a proven solution
to electric transmission constraints that is both cost-effective and
applicable to a very broad range of climate conditions and terrain. Most
important, it offers a means of quickly making more power available in
response to growing demand without the financial and environmental risks
associated with enlarging towers or expanding rights of way.”
Koenig also observes that 3M ACCR is helping utilities meet new demands
being placed on electricity grids without encountering costly and
problematic construction, right-of-way expansion or permitting issues.
3M ACCR was developed with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy,
which tested the conductor at its Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
in Tennessee, and with early contributions by the Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency. The ORNL tests demonstrated that the conductor
retains its integrity after exposure to temperatures even higher than
the rated continuous operating temperature of 210 degrees Celsius and
the emergency operating temperature of 240 degrees Celsius. It has the
durability and longevity of traditional steel core conductors, even when
operated continuously at high temperatures.
The conductor’s strength and durability result from its core, composed
of aluminum oxide (alumina) fibers embedded in high-purity aluminum,
utilizing a highly specialized and proprietary process. The constituent
materials can withstand high temperatures without appreciable loss in
Also, since 3M's ACCR is based on aluminum, it has the corrosion
resistance typically associated with all-aluminum conductors.
3M holds several patents on its ACCR technology, which has been
recognized by R&D Magazine with an R&D 100 Award as one of
the most technologically significant products introduced into the
marketplace, and by the Minnesota High Tech Association with a Tekne
Award for innovative development.
Electrical Markets Division, based in Austin, Texas, designs,
manufactures and markets products for electrical construction,
industrial maintenance, utility and industrial power, and electrical and
electronic components. EMD has more than 60 years of experience serving
customers with highly reliable products, including electrical and
electronic insulating tapes and papers; electromagnetic compatible
products; power cable splices and terminations; high-temperature,
low-sag transmission conductors; heat shrinkable tubing and molded
shapes; electrical wire connectors, terminals, tools and lugs; wire
marking products; cable ties; and electrical diagnostic and detection
More information about the 3M high capacity conductor is available at www.3M.com/accr.
3M captures the spark
of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products.
Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of
powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the innovation
company that never stops inventing. With $30 billion in sales, 3M
employs about 88,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 70
countries. For more information, visit www.3M.com
or follow @3MNews
3M is a trademark of 3M Company.