Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Procter & Gamble (P&G) Hyderabad - Kothur Manufacturing Unit

FMCG major Procter & Gamble (P&G) India is enhancing its manufacturing capabilities and expanding footprint by setting up its largest plant at Kothur Mandal in Mahaboobnagar District of Andhra Pradesh. The company will be investing Rs.370/- Crore in the plant through Procter & Gamble Home Products.

In this project, Bahuvida has successfully completed 110 Acres Earth Leveling Work, 6.2KM of High Security Perimeter Fencing, Pre-Cast Internal Compound Walls & 1.5 Lakh Sft Warehouse Fabrication etc...

Gulbarga Airport Developers (P) Limited

Gulbarga Airport is a greenfield airport being built 15km East of Gulbarga city on State Highway 10 (Sedam Road) near Srinivas Saradagi Village. It is scheduled be opened for commercial use by July 2013. The 186 crore project is being developed by Regional Airport Holdings International Limited (RAHI), under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with the Government of Karnataka.

In this project, Bahuvida has successfully completed 1.9KM Runway Earth Work, Mini Terminal Building, Light House, 9.5KM of Pre-Cast Compound Wall, 12.5KM of Periphery Roads & other miscellaneous works.

Shimoga Airport Developers (P) Limited

Shimoga Airport is a India’s first private regional greenfield airport developed under Public-Private–Partnership, in association with the Government of Karnataka. The project is being developed by Regional Airport Holdings International Limited, a pioneer in aviation infrastructure and services.

In this project, Bahuvida has successfully completed 1.9KM Runway Earth Work, Mini Terminal Building, Light House, 8KM of Pre-Cast Compound Wall, 9.5KM of Periphery Roads & other miscellaneous works.

GMR Ulundurpet Expressways (P) Limited

GMR Infrastructure Limited & GMR Energy Limited consortium has emerged as the successful bidder for Designing, Engineering, Developing, Financing, Operating & Maintaining the project highway starting from Tindivanam, passing through Vilupuram and ending at Ulundurpet. The total project length is 71 km.

In this project, Bahuvida has successfully completed 89KM (RHS & LHS) of ROW Fencing for Entire Project.

TNDK Expressways Limited

Tamil Nadu Dindigul Karur (TNDK) Expressways Limited is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) promoted by Madhucon Projects Limited and SREI Infrastructure Finance. TNDK has been formed to strengthen and widen the existing 68 KM long stretch between Karur - Dindigul on NH-7 in the state of Tamil Nadu.

In this project, Bahuvida has successfully completed 70KM (RHS & LHS) of ROW Fencing for Entire Project.

GMR Pochanpalli Expressways (P) Limited

GMR Group’s Adloor-Yellareddy to Gundla-Pochanpalli Highway is a 102 Km stretch on NH-7 between Adloor-Yellareddy and Gundla-Pochanpalli on the Hyderabad – Nagpur Highway.

In this project, Bahuvida has successfully completed 75KM (RHS & LHS) of ROW Fencing for Entire Project.

GMR Jadcherla Expressways Limited

GMR Group won the road project for strengthening and improving the two lane stretch to four lane between Shivrampalli / Faruknagar and Jadcherla on NH - 7 in the State of Andhra Pradesh.

In this project, Bahuvida has successfully completed 60KM (RHS & LHS) of ROW Fencing for Entire Project.

Transmission Line Tower

A transmission tower (colloquially termed an electricity pylon in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, and a hydro tower in certain provinces of Canada where power generation is mainly hydro-electric) is a tall structure, usually a steel lattice tower, used to support an overhead power line. They are used in high-voltage AC and DC systems, and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Typical height ranges from 15 to 55 metres (49 to 180 ft), though the tallest are the 370 m (1,214 ft) towers of a 2700-metre-long span of Zhoushan Island Overhead Powerline Tie. In addition to steel, other materials may be used, including concrete and wood.

There are four major categories of transmission towers: suspension, terminal, tension, and transposition. Some transmission towers combine these basic functions. Transmission towers and their overhead power lines are often considered to be a form of visual pollution. Methods to reduce the visual effect include undergrounding.


"Transmission tower" is the name for the structure used in the industry in the United Kingdom, United States, and other English-speaking countries. The term "pylon" comes from the basic shape of the structure, an obelisk-like structure which tapers toward the top, and is mostly used in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe in everyday colloquial speech. This term is used infrequently in the United States, as the word "pylon" is commonly used for a multitude of other things, mostly for traffic cones.

High Voltage AC Transmission Towers

Three-phase electric power systems are used for high voltage (66- or 69-kV and above) and extra-high voltage (110- or 115-kV and above; most often 138- or 230-kV and above in contemporary systems) AC transmission lines. The towers must be designed to carry three (or multiples of three) conductors. The towers are usually steel lattices or trusses (wooden structures are used in Canada, Germany, and Scandinavia in some cases) and the insulators are either glass or porcelain discs or composite insulators using silicone rubber or EPDM rubber material assembled in strings or long rods whose lengths are dependent on the line voltage and environmental conditions.

Typically, one or two ground wires, also called "guard" wires, are placed on top to intercept lightning and harmlessly divert it to ground.

Towers for high- and extra-high voltage are usually designed to carry two or more electric circuits (with very rare exceptions, only one circuit for 500-kV and higher). If a line is constructed using towers designed to carry several circuits, it is not necessary to install all the circuits at the time of construction. Indeed, for economic reasons, some transmission lines are designed for three (or four) circuits, but only two (or three) circuits are initially installed.

Some high voltage circuits are often erected on the same tower as 110 kV lines. Paralleling circuits of 380 kV, 220 kV and 110 kV-lines on the same towers is common. Sometimes, especially with 110 kV circuits, a parallel circuit carries traction lines for railway electrification.

High Voltage DC Transmission Towers

High-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission lines are either monopolar or bipolar systems. With bipolar systems a conductor arrangement with one conductor on each side of the tower is used. On some schemes, the ground conductor is used as electrode line or ground return. In this case it had to be installed with insulators equipped with surge arrestors on the pylons in order to prevent electrochemical corrosion of the pylons. For single-pole HVDC transmission with ground return, towers with only one conductor can be used. In many cases, however, the towers are designed for later conversion to a two-pole system. In these cases, often conductors on both sides of the tower are installed for mechanical reasons. Until the second pole is needed, it is either used as electrode line or joined in parallel with the pole in use. In the latter case the line from the converter station to the earthing (grounding) electrode is built as underground cable, as overhead line on a separate right of way or by using the ground conductors.

Electrode line towers are used in some HVDC schemes to carry the power line from the converter station to the grounding electrode. They are similar to structures used for lines with voltages of 10 – 30 kV, but normally carry only one or two conductors.

Railway Traction Line Towers

Towers used for single-phase AC railway traction lines are similar in construction to those towers used for 110 kV-three phase lines. Steel tube or concrete poles are also often used for these lines. However, railway traction current systems are two-pole AC systems, so traction lines are designed for two conductors (or multiples of two, usually four, eight, or twelve). As a rule, the towers of railway traction lines carry two electric circuits, so they have four conductors. These are usually arranged on one level, whereby each circuit occupies one half of the crossarm. For four traction circuits the arrangement of the conductors is in two-levels and for six electric circuits the arrangement of the conductors is in three levels.

Towers for Different Types of Currents

AC circuits of different frequency and phase-count, or AC and DC circuits, may be installed on the same tower. Usually all circuits of such lines have voltages of 50 kV and more. However, there are some lines of this type for lower voltages, for example, towers used by both railway traction power circuits and the general three-phase AC grid.

Two very short sections of line carry both AC and DC power circuits. One set of such towers is near the terminal of HVDC Volgograd-Donbass on Volga Hydroelectric Power Station. The other are two towers south of Stenkullen, which carry one circuit of HVDC Konti-Skan and üne circuit of the three-phase AC line Stenkullen-Holmbakullen.

Towers carrying AC circuits and DC electrode lines exist in a section of the powerline between Adalph Static Inverter Plant and Brookston the pylons carry the electrode line of HVDC Square Butte.

The electrode line of HVDC CU at the converter station at Coal Creek Station uses on a short section the towers of 2 AC lines as support.

The overhead section of the electrode line of Pacific DC Intertie from Sylmar Converter Station to the grounding electrode in the Pacific Ocean near Will Rogers State Beach is also installed on AC pylons. It runs from Sylmar East Converter Station to Southern California Edison Malibu Substation, where the overhead line section ends.

In Germany, Austria and Switzerland some transmission towers carry both public AC grid circuits and railway traction power in order to better use rights of way...

Tower Designs

Support Structures: Towers may be self-supporting and capable of resisting all forces due to conductor loads, unbalanced conductors, wind and ice in any direction. Such towers often have approximately square bases and usually four points of contact with the ground.

A semi-flexible tower is designed so that it can use overhead grounding wires to transfer mechanical load to adjacent structures, if a phase conductor breaks and the structure is subject to unbalanced loads. This type is useful at extra-high voltages, where phase conductors are bundled (two or more wires per phase). It is unlikely for all of them to break at once, barring a catastrophic crash or storm.

A guyed tower has a very small footprint and relys on guy wires in tension to support the structure and any unbalanced tension load from the conductors. A guyed tower can be made in a V shape, which saves weight and cost.

Tubular Steel: Poles made of tubular steel generally are assembled at the factory and placed on the right-of-way afterward. Because of its durability and ease of manufacturing and installation, many utilities in recent years prefer the use of monopolar steel or concrete towers over lattice steel for new power lines and tower replacements.

In Germany steel tube pylons are also established predominantly for medium voltage lines, in addition, for high voltage transmission lines or two electric circuits for operating voltages by up to 110 kV. Steel tube pylons are also frequently used for 380 kV lines in France, and for 500 kV lines in the United States.

Lattice: A lattice tower is a framework construction made of steel or aluminum sections. Lattice towers are used for power lines of all voltages, and are the most common type for high-voltage transmission lines. Lattice towers are usually made of galvanized steel. Aluminum is used for reduced weight, such as in mountainous areas where structures are placed by helicopter. Aluminum is also used in environments that would be corrosive to steel. The extra material cost of aluminum towers will be offset by lower installation cost. Design of aluminum lattice towers is similar to that for steel, but must take into account aluminum's lower Young's modulus.

A lattice tower is usually assembled at the location where it is to be erected. This makes very tall towers possible (up to 100 meters—in special cases even higher, as in the Elbe crossing 1 and Elbe crossing 2). Assembly of lattice steel towers can be done using a crane. Lattice steel towers are generally made of angle-profiled steel beams (L- or T-beams). For very tall towers, trusses are often used.

Wood: Wood is a material which is limited in use in high-voltage transmission. Because of the limited height of available trees the maximum height of wooden pylons is limited (approximately 30 metres). Wood is rarely used for lattice framework; they are instead used to build multi-pole structures, such as H-frame and K-frame structures. The voltages they carry are also limited, such as in Germany, where wood structures only carry voltages up to approximately 30 kV. In countries such as Canada or United States wooden towers carry voltages up to 345 kV; these can be less costly than steel structures and take advantage of the surge voltage insulating properties of wood.

Concrete: Concrete pylons are used in Germany normally only for lines with operating voltages below 30 kV. In exceptional cases concrete pylons are used also for 110 kV lines, as well as for the public grid or for the railway traction current grid. In Switzerland, concrete pylons with heights of up to 59.5 metres (world's tallest pylon of prefabricated concrete at Littau) are used for 380 kV overhead lines. Concrete poles are also used in Canada and the United States.

Concrete pylons, which are not prefabricated, are also used for constructions taller than 60 metres. One example is a 66 metres tall pylon of a 380 kV powerline near Reuter West Power Plant in Berlin. Such pylons look like industrial chimneys. In China some pylons for lines crossing rivers were built of concrete. The tallest of these pylons belong to the Yangtze Powerline crossing at Nanjing with a height of 257 metres.

Special Designs

Sometimes (in particular on steel lattice towers for the highest voltage levels) transmitting plants are installed, and antennas mounted on the top above or below the overhead ground wire. Usually these installations are for mobile phone services or the operating radio of the power supply firm, but occasionally also for other radio services, like directional radio. Thus transmitting antennas for low-power FM radio and television transmitters were already installed on pylons. On the Elbe Crossing 1 tower, there is a radar facility belonging to the Hamburg water and navigation office.

For crossing broad valleys, a large distance between the conductors must be maintained to avoid short-circuits caused by conductor cables colliding during storms. To achieve this, sometimes a separate mast or tower is used for each conductor. For crossing wide rivers and straits with flat coastlines, very tall towers must be built due to the necessity of a large height clearance for navigation. Such towers and the conductors they carry must be equipped with flight safety lamps and reflectors.

Two well-known wide river crossings are the Elbe Crossing 1 and Elbe Crossing 2. The latter has the tallest overhead line masts in Europe, at 227 metres (745 ft) tall. In Spain, the overhead line crossing pylons in the Spanish bay of Cádiz have a particularly interesting construction. The main crossing towers are 158 metres (518 ft) tall with one crossarm atop a frustum framework construction. The longest overhead line spans are the crossing of the Norwegian Sognefjord (4,597 metres (15,082 ft) between two masts) and the Ameralik span in Greenland (5,376 metres (17,638 ft)). In Germany, the overhead line of the EnBW AG crossing of the Eyachtal has the longest span in the country at 1,444 metres (4,738 ft).

In order to drop overhead lines into steep, deep valleys, inclined towers are occasionally used. These are utilized at the Hoover Dam, located in the United States, to descend the cliff walls of the Black Canyon of the Colorado. In Switzerland, a NOK pylon inclined around 20 degrees to the vertical is located near Sargans, St. Gallens. Highly sloping masts are used on two 380 kV pylons in Switzerland, the top 32 meters of one of them being bent by 18 degrees to the vertical.

Power station chimneys are sometimes equipped with crossbars for fixing conductors of the outgoing lines. Because of possible problems with corrosion by the flue gases, such constructions are very rare.

A new type of pylon will be used in the Netherlands starting in 2010. The pylons were designed as a minimalist structure by Dutch architects Zwarts and Jansma. The use of physical laws for the design made a reduction of the magnetic field possible. Also, the visual impact on the surrounding landscape is reduced.


Before transmission towers are even erected, prototype towers are tested at tower testing stations. There are a variety of ways they can then be assembled and erected:

  • They can be assembled horizontally on the ground and erected by push-pull cable. This method is rarely used, however, because of the large assembly area needed.
  • They can be assembled vertically (in their final upright position). Very tall towers, such as the Yangtze River Crossing, were assembled in this way.
  • A jin-pole crane can be used to assemble lattice towers. This is also used for utility poles.
  • Helicopters can serve as aerial cranes for their assembly in areas with limited accessibility. Towers can also be assembled elsewhere and flown to their place on the transmission right-of-way.


The International Civil Aviation Organization issues recommendations on markers for towers and the conductors suspended between them. Certain jurisdictions will make these recommendations mandatory, for example that certain power lines must have spherical markers placed at intervals, and that obstacle lights be placed on any sufficiently high towers.

Electricity pylons often have an identification number or code placed on the pole in the form of a sign, an identification plate, painted numbers, or anything else the electric company chooses. These tags are usually marked with the names of the line (either the terminal points of the line or the internal designation of the power company) and the tower number. This makes identifying the location of a fault to the power company that owns the tower easier.

Transmission towers, much like other steel lattice towers including broadcasting or cellphone towers, are marked with signs which discourage public access due to the danger of the high voltage. Often this is accomplished with a sign warning of the high voltage; other times the entire access point to the transmission corridor is marked with a sign. Some countries require that lattice steel towers be equipped with a barbed wire barrier approximately 3 metres (9.8 ft) above ground in order to deter unauthorized climbing. Such barriers can often be found on towers close to roads or other areas with easy public access, even where there is not a legal requirement. In the United Kingdom, all such towers are fitted with barbed wire.

Tower Functions

Tower structures can be classified by the way in which they support the line conductors. Suspension structures support the conductor vertically using suspension insulators. Strain structures resist net tension in the conductors and the conductors attach to the structure through strain insulators. Dead-end structures support the full weight of the conductor and also all the tension in it, and also use strain insulators.

Structures are classified as tangent suspension, angle suspension, tangent strain, angle strain, tangent dead-end and angle dead-end. Where the conductors are in a straight line, a tangent tower is used. Angle towers are used where a line must change direction.

Cross Arms & Conductor Arrangement

Generally three conductors are required per AC 3-phase circuit, although single-phase and DC circuits are also carried on towers. Conductors may be arranged in one plane, or by use of several cross-arms may be arranged in a roughly symmetrical, triangulated pattern to balance the impedances of all three phases. If more than one circuit is required to be carried and the width of the line right-of-way does not permit multiple towers to be used, two or three circuits can be carried on the same tower using several levels of cross-arms. Often multiple circuits are the same voltage, but mixed voltages can be found on some structures.

Rural Electrification

Rural Electrification is the process of bringing electrical power to rural and remote areas. Electricity is used not only for lighting and household purposes, but it also allows for mechanization of many farming operations, such as threshing, milking, and hoisting grain for storage. In areas facing labor shortages, this allows for greater productivity at reduced cost. One famous program was the New Deal's Rural Electrification Administration in the United States, which pioneered many of the schemes still practiced in other countries. According to IEA (2009) worldwide 1.456 billion people (18% of the world's population) do not have access to electricity, of which 83% live in rural areas. In 1990 around 40 percent (2.2 billion) of the world's people still lacked power. Much of this increase over the past quarter century has been in India, facilitated by mass migration to slums in powered metropolitan areas. India was only 43% electrified in 1990 as opposed to about 75% in 2012. In 1979 37% of China's rural population lacked access to electricity entirely. Some 23% of people in East Java, Indonesia, a core region, also lack electricity, as surveyed in 2013.

In Sub-Saharan Africa less than 10% of the rural population has access to electricity. Worldwide rural electrification progresses only slowly. The IEA estimates that, if current trends do not change, the number of people without electricity will rise to 1.2 billion by the year 2030. Due to high population growth, the number of people without electricity is expected to rise in Sub-Saharan Africa.


In impoverished and undeveloped areas, small amounts of electricity can free large amounts of human time and labor. In the poorest areas, people carry water and fuel by hand, their food storage may be limited, and their activity is limited to daylight hours.

Adding electric-powered wells for clean water can prevent many water-borne diseases, e.g. dysentery, by reducing or eliminating direct contact between people (hands) and the water supply. Refrigerators increase the length of time that food can be stored, potentially reducing hunger, while evening lighting can lengthen a community's daylight hours allowing more time for productivity.


Depending on the source, rural electrification (and electricity in general) can bring problems as well as solutions. New power plants may be built, or existing plants' generation capacity increased to meet the demands of the new rural electrical users. Among the main issues that have to be considered in rural electrification are the potential conflicts with land use and the impact on the rural environments. With regard to land use, administrators will need to ensure that adequate planning in regards to infrastructure development and land use allocation is put in place. The economic cost attached to providing electricity in rural areas is also of major concern.

Environmental impact concerns on the effects of generating and distributing electricity in rural areas is also of significance. The environment in rural areas will be affected by the location of power plants. The energy source used in this power generation is the area that may have the most impact. The use of coal-based power is dangerous to the environment as it releases pollutants such as oxides of sulfur, nitric oxide, carbon dioxide among others. The use of hydro power is much cleaner with fewer pollutants released into the atmosphere. However this method is more land intensive and would thus a larger financial commitment to acquire property and to relocate locals who reside in identified zones. A developer may be inclined to use the cheapest generation source, which may be highly polluting, and locate the power plant next to vulnerable minorities or rural areas.


One of the least expensive, most reliable, and best proven electricity distribution systems for rural electrification is single wire earth return. This system is widely used in countries such as Australia with very low population densities. There are some geographical requirements necessary for its use.

Since modern power distribution networks can cheaply include optic fibres in the centre of electricity transfer wires, telephone and internet service may become available with rural electrification.

Locally generated renewable energy is an alternative technology, particularly compared to electrification with diesel generators. In some countries (particularly Bangladesh and India) hundreds of thousands of Solar Home Systems have been installed in recent years. The deployment of these systems is coupled with microfinance schemes, such as Grameen Shakti. Most of these systems provide electricity for lighting and some small appliances (radio, TV). Mini-grids (central generation and village wide distribution network) can be a more potent alternative to energy home systems since they can provide capacity for the productive use of electricity (small businesses). Hybrid mini-grids (renewables combined with diesel generators) are a widely acknowledged technology for rural electrification in developing countries.

Continental & National Initiatives

Africa: In 2006, financed under the Energy Facility Program and promoted by the French consulting firm, Innovation Energie Développement (IED), was created the Club of national agencies and structures in charge of rural electrification (Club-ER). More than 17 African countries are now members of this south-south initiative with IED as secretariat. The CLUB-ER has the purpose to accelerate the development of rural electrification in Africa by creating the conditions for a mutually beneficial sharing of experiences between agencies and national structures in charge of rural electrification.

Brazil: In 1981, 74.9% of Brazilian households were served by electric power, according to the IBGE's PNAD survey. In 2000, the Federal government of Brazil, under the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration, launched the Luz no Campo program to expand the distribution of electricity in Brazilian domiciles, with a focus on rural households. From 2003 on, the program was reinforced and renamed Luz para Todos by the Lula administration. The results were that, according to the PNAD, by 1996, 79.9% of all households had access to an electric power supply and that proportion rose to 90.8% in 2002 and 98.9% in 2009.

China: Over 99 percent of Chinese people now have access to power, up from only 50% in 1976 and 90% in 1990. China launched the China Township Electrification Program in 2001 to provide renewable electricity to 1,000 townships, one of the largest of such programs in the world. This was followed by the China Village Electrification Program, also using renewable energy, aimed at the electrification of a further 3.5 million households in 10,000 villages by 2010, to be followed by full rural electrification by 2015.

India: Rural areas in India are electrified non-uniformly, with richer states being able to provide a majority of the villages with power while poorer states still struggling to do so. The Rural Electrification Corporation Limited was formed to specifically address the issue of providing electricity in all the villages across the country.Poverty, lack of resources, lack of political will, poor planning and electricity theft are some of the major causes which has left many villages in India without electricity, while urban areas have enjoyed growth in electricity consumption and capacity. The central government is increasingly trying to improve the dire conditions by investing heavily in bio-gas, solar as well as wind energy.Programs such as The JNN solar mission, Pradhan Mantri Gram Vidyut yojna to fasten the pace of electrification and diversify the procedure.The work is also on-going for reducing wastage, providing better equipments and improving the overall infrastructure for electrical transmissions in villages. Currently, some 60% of villages in India have been electrified with a further goal of providing complete electrification by 2025. Northern and North-Eastern states in India are lagging behind the national average bringing the numbers down, primarily due to inefficient state governments and lack of economic resources; these states are currently the focus of many NGOs as well as state programs. It is estimated that 1-2 GW of solar power will be required for the 1 lakh un-electrified villages in the country, not to mention the solar power requirements of un-electrified households of electrified villages. A breakdown is provided below on the number of states and UT's (Union Territories) that have been electrified:

Rural Electrification ratesN.o of states and UT'sRemarks
99%4electrification %, un-electrified villages: Gujarat (99.8%, 35), Maharashtra (99.9%, 36), Himachal Pradesh (99.9%, 15), West Bengal (99.99%, 4)
+95%7Assam (96.1%), Bihar (97%), Chhattisgarh (97.4%), Rajasthan (97.6%), Madhya Pradesh (97.7%), Jammu & Kashmir (98.2%), Uttaranchal (98.9%)
+90%2Tripura (92.9%), Mizoram (93.5%)
+80%5Orissa (81.9%), Meghalaya (86.3%), Manipur (86.3%), Uttar Pradesh (88.9%), Jharkhand (89.2%)
Under 80%3Andaman & Nicobar (67.7%), Nagaland (70.1%), Arunachal Pradesh (75.5%)
European Union: In Europe exists the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), an international non-profit organization founded in 2006. ARE promotes the use of renewable energy in developing countries. ARE is partner of the United Nations Global Compact and the European Union Sustainable Energy Campaign.

Ireland: During the 1930s most towns in Ireland were connected to the national grid. The outbreak of World War II in Europe lead to shortages of fuel and materials and the electrification process was brought to a virtual halt. In the early 1950s the Rural Electrification scheme gradually brought electric power to the countryside, a process that was completed on the mainland in 1973 (although it wasn't until 2003 that the last of the inhabited offshore islands were fully connected). Currently the Rural Electrification scheme continues, but is primarily concerned with upgrading the quality of the network (voltage fluctuations are still a problem in parts of Ireland - particularly in rural areas) and making three phase supplies available to larger farms and rural businesses requiring it.

United States: In 1892, Guy Beardslee, the original owner of Beardslee Castle, was paid $40,000 to provide hydroelectric power to East Creek in New York.

Despite widespread electricity in cities, by the 1920s electricity was not delivered by power companies to rural areas because of the general belief that the infrastructure costs would not be recouped. In sparsely-populated farmland, there were far fewer houses per mile of installed electric lines. A Minnesota state committee was organized to carry out a study of the costs and benefits of rural electrification. The University of Minnesota Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, working jointly with Northern States Power Company (NSP, now Xcel Energy), conducted an experiment, providing electricity to nine farms in the Red Wing area. Electricity was first delivered on December 24, 1923. The "Red Wing Project" was successful- the power company and the University concluded that rural electrification was economically feasible. The results of the report were influential in the National government's decision to support rural electrification.

Before 1936, a small but growing number of farms installed small wind-electric plants. These generally used a 40V DC generator to charge batteries in the barn or the basement of the farmhouse. This was enough to provide lighting, washing machines and some limited well-pumping or refrigeration. Wind-electric plants were used mostly on the Great Plains, which have usable winds on most days.

Of the 6.3 million farms in the United States in January 1925, only 205,000 were receiving centralized electric services. The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was created by executive order as an independent federal bureau in 1935, authorized by the United States Congress in the 1936 Rural Electrification Act, and later in 1939, reorganized as a division of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. It was charged with administering loan programs for electrification and telephone service in rural areas. Between 1935 and 1939 – or the first 4½ years after REA's establishment, the number of farms using electric services more than doubled.

The REA undertook to provide farms with inexpensive electric lighting and power. To implement those goals the administration made long-term, self-liquidating loans to state and local governments, to farmers' cooperatives, and to nonprofit organizations; no loans were made directly to consumers. In 1949 the REA was authorized to make loans for telephone improvements; in 1988, REA was permitted to give interest-free loans for job creation and rural electric systems. By the early 1970s about 98% of all farms in the United States had electric service, a demonstration of REA's success. In 1994 the administration was reorganized into the Rural Utilities Service by the Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994. Also, the Tennessee Valley Authority is an agency involved in rural electrification.

Jamaica: The Rural Electrification Programme (REP) was incorporated in 1975 with the specific mandate to expand the reach of electricity supply to rural areas, where the provision of such services would not be economically viable for commercial providers of electricity. The REP extends the national grid through the construction of electrical distribution pole lines to un-electrified areas and provides house wiring assistance through a loan programme to householders.

Electrical Substation

A substation is a part of an electrical generation, transmission, and distribution system. Substations transform voltage from high to low, or the reverse, or perform any of several other important functions. Between the generating station and consumer, electric power may flow through several substations at different voltage levels.

Substations may be owned and operated by an electrical utility, or may be owned by a large industrial or commercial customer. Generally substations are unattended, relying on SCADA for remote supervision and control.

A substation may include transformers to change voltage levels between high transmission voltages and lower distribution voltages, or at the interconnection of two different transmission voltages. The word substation comes from the days before the distribution system became a grid. As central generation stations became larger, smaller generating plants were converted to distribution stations, receiving their energy supply from a larger plant instead of using their own generators. The first substations were connected to only one power station, where the generators were housed, and were subsidiaries of that power station.

Elements of a Substation

Substations generally have switching, protection and control equipment, and transformers. In a large substation, circuit breakers are used to interrupt any short circuits or overload currents that may occur on the network. Smaller distribution stations may use recloser circuit breakers or fuses for protection of distribution circuits. Substations themselves do not usually have generators, although a power plant may have a substation nearby. Other devices such as capacitors and voltage regulators may also be located at a substation.

Substations may be on the surface in fenced enclosures, underground, or located in special-purpose buildings. High-rise buildings may have several indoor substations. Indoor substations are usually found in urban areas to reduce the noise from the transformers, for reasons of appearance, or to protect switchgear from extreme climate or pollution conditions.

Where a substation has a metallic fence, it must be properly grounded to protect people from high voltages that may occur during a fault in the network. Earth faults at a substation can cause a ground potential rise. Currents flowing in the Earth's surface during a fault can cause metal objects to have a significantly different voltage than the ground under a person's feet; this touch potential presents a hazard of electrocution.


Substations may be described by their voltage class, their applications within the power system, the method used to insulate most connections, and by the style and materials of the structures used. These categories are not disjointed; to solve a particular problem, a transmission substation may include significant distribution functions, for example.

Transmission Substation: A transmission substation connects two or more transmission lines. The simplest case is where all transmission lines have the same voltage. In such cases, substation contains high-voltage switches that allow lines to be connected or isolated for fault clearance or maintenance. A transmission station may have transformers to convert between two transmission voltages, voltage control/power factor correction devices such as capacitors, reactors or static VAR compensators and equipment such as phase shifting transformers to control power flow between two adjacent power systems.

Transmission substations can range from simple to complex. A small "switching station" may be little more than a bus plus some circuit breakers. The largest transmission substations can cover a large area (several acres/hectares) with multiple voltage levels, many circuit breakers and a large amount of protection and control equipment (voltage and current transformers, relays and SCADA systems). Modern substations may be implemented using international standards such as IEC Standard 61850.

Distribution Substation: A distribution substation transfers power from the transmission system to the distribution system of an area. It is uneconomical to directly connect electricity consumers to the main transmission network, unless they use large amounts of power, so the distribution station reduces voltage to a level suitable for local distribution.

The input for a distribution substation is typically at least two transmission or subtransmission lines. Input voltage may be, for example, 115 kV, or whatever is common in the area. The output is a number of feeders. Distribution voltages are typically medium voltage, between 2.4 kV and 33 kV depending on the size of the area served and the practices of the local utility. The feeders run along streets overhead (or underground, in some cases) and power the distribution transformers at or near the customer premises.

In addition to transforming voltage, distribution substations also isolate faults in either the transmission or distribution systems. Distribution substations are typically the points of voltage regulation, although on long distribution circuits (of several miles/kilometers), voltage regulation equipment may also be installed along the line.

The downtown areas of large cities feature complicated distribution substations, with high-voltage switching, and switching and backup systems on the low-voltage side. More typical distribution substations have a switch, one transformer, and minimal facilities on the low-voltage side.

Collector Substation: In distributed generation projects such as a wind farm, a collector substation may be required. It resembles a distribution substation although power flow is in the opposite direction, from many wind turbines up into the transmission grid. Usually for economy of construction the collector system operates around 35 kV, and the collector substation steps up voltage to a transmission voltage for the grid. The collector substation can also provide power factor correction if it is needed, metering and control of the wind farm. In some special cases a collector substation can also contain an HVDC converter station.

Collector substations also exist where multiple thermal or hydroelectric power plants of comparable output power are in proximity. Examples for such substations are Brauweiler in Germany and Hradec in the Czech Republic, where power is collected from nearby lignite-fired power plants. If no transformers are required for increase of voltage to transmission level, the substation is a switching station.

Converter Substations: Substations may be associated with HVDC converter plants, traction current, or interconnected non-synchronous networks. These stations contain power electronic devices to change the frequency of current, or else convert from alternating to direct current or the reverse. Formerly rotary converters changed frequency to interconnect two systems; such substations today are rare.

Switching Substation: A switching substation is a substation without transformers and operating only at a single voltage level. Switching substations are sometimes used as collector and distribution stations. Sometimes they are used for switching the current to back-up lines or for parallelizing circuits in case of failure. An example is the switching stations for the HVDC Inga–Shaba transmission line.

A switching substation may also be known as a switchyard, and these are commonly located directly adjacent to or nearby a power station. In this case the generators from the power station supply their power into the yard onto the Generator Bus on one side of the yard, and the transmission lines take their power from a Feeder Bus on the other side of the yard.

Classification by Insulation: Switches, circuit breakers, transformers and other apparatus may be interconnected by air-insulated bare conductors strung on support structures. The air space required increases with system voltage and with the lightning surge voltage rating. For medium-voltage distribution substations, metal-enclosed switchgear may be used and no live conductors exposed at all. For higher voltages, gas-insulated switchgear reduces the space required around live bus. Instead of bare conductors, bus and apparatus are built into pressurized tubular containers filled with sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) gas. This gas has a higher insulating value than air, allowing the dimensions of the apparatus to be reduced. In addition to air or SF6 gas, apparatus will use other insulation materials such as transformer oil, paper, porcelain, and polymer insulators.

Classification by Structure: Outdoor, above-ground substation structures include wood pole, lattice metal tower, and tubular metal structures, although other variants are available. Where space is plentiful and appearance of the station is not a factor, steel lattice towers provide low-cost supports for transmission lines and apparatus. Low-profile substations may be specified in suburban areas where appearance is more critical. Indoor substations may be gas-insulated switchgear (at high voltages), or metal-enclosed or metal-clad switchgear at lower voltages. Urban and suburban indoor substations may be finished on the outside so as to blend in with other buildings in the area.

A compact substation is generally an unmanned outdoor substation being put in a small enclosed metal container in which each of the electrical equipment is located very near to each other to create a relatively smaller footprint size of the substation.


The main issues facing a power engineer are reliability and cost. A good design attempts to strike a balance between these two, to achieve without excessive cost. The design should also allow expansion of the station, when required.

Selection of the location of a substation must consider many factors. Sufficient land area is required for installation of equipment with necessary clearances for electrical safety, and for access to maintain large apparatus such as transformers. Where land is costly, such as in urban areas, gas insulated switchgear may save money overall. The site must have room for expansion due to load growth or planned transmission additions. Environmental effects of the substation must be considered, such as drainage, noise and road traffic effects. A grounding (earthing) system must be designed. The total ground potential rise, and the gradients in potential during a fault (called "touch" and "step" potentials), must be calculated to protect passers-by during a short-circuit in the transmission system. The substation site must be reasonably central to the distribution area to be served. The site must be secure from intrusion by passers-by, both to protect people from injury by electric shock or arcs, and to protect the electrical system from misoperation due to vandalism.

The first step in planning a substation layout is the preparation of a one-line diagram, which shows in simplified form the switching and protection arrangement required, as well as the incoming supply lines and outgoing feeders or transmission lines. It is a usual practice by many electrical utilities to prepare one-line diagrams with principal elements (lines, switches, circuit breakers, transformers) arranged on the page similarly to the way the apparatus would be laid out in the actual station.

In a common design, incoming lines have a disconnect switch and a circuit breaker. In some cases, the lines will not have both, with either a switch or a circuit breaker being all that is considered necessary. A disconnect switch is used to provide isolation, since it cannot interrupt load current. A circuit breaker is used as a protection device to interrupt fault currents automatically, and may be used to switch loads on and off, or to cut off a line when power is flowing in the 'wrong' direction. When a large fault current flows through the circuit breaker, this is detected through the use of current transformers. The magnitude of the current transformer outputs may be used to trip the circuit breaker resulting in a disconnection of the load supplied by the circuit break from the feeding point. This seeks to isolate the fault point from the rest of the system, and allow the rest of the system to continue operating with minimal impact. Both switches and circuit breakers may be operated locally (within the substation) or remotely from a supervisory control center.

Once past the switching components, the lines of a given voltage connect to one or more buses. These are sets of busbars, usually in multiples of three, since three-phase electrical power distribution is largely universal around the world.

The arrangement of switches, circuit breakers and buses used affects the cost and reliability of the substation. For important substations a ring bus, double bus, or so-called "breaker and a half" setup can be used, so that the failure of any one circuit breaker does not interrupt power to other circuits, and so that parts of the substation may be de-energized for maintenance and repairs. Substations feeding only a single industrial load may have minimal switching provisions, especially for small installations.

Once having established buses for the various voltage levels, transformers may be connected between the voltage levels. These will again have a circuit breaker, much like transmission lines, in case a transformer has a fault (commonly called a "short circuit").

Along with this, a substation always has control circuitry needed to command the various circuit breakers to open in case of the failure of some component.

Switching Function

An important function performed by a substation is switching, which is the connecting and disconnecting of transmission lines or other components to and from the system. Switching events may be "planned" or "unplanned". A transmission line or other component may need to be de-energized for maintenance or for new construction, for example, adding or removing a transmission line or a transformer. To maintain reliability of supply, no company ever brings down its whole system for maintenance. All work to be performed, from routine testing to adding entirely new substations, must be done while keeping the whole system running.

Perhaps more important, a fault may develop in a transmission line or any other component. Some examples of this: a line is hit by lightning and develops an arc, or a tower is blown down by high wind. The function of the substation is to isolate the faulted portion of the system in the shortest possible time. De-energizing faulted equipment protects it from further damage, and isolating a fault helps keep the rest of the electrical grid operating with stability.


Early electrical substations required manual switching or adjustment of equipment, and manual collection of data for load, energy consumption, and abnormal events. As the complexity of distribution networks grew, it became economically necessary to automate supervision and control of substations from a centrally attended point, to allow overall coordination in case of emergencies and to reduce operating costs. Early efforts to remote control substations used dedicated communication wires, often run alongside power circuits. Power-line carrier, microwave radio, fiber optic cables as well as dedicated wired remote control circuits have all been applied to Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) for substations. The development of the microprocessor made for an exponential increase in the number of points that could be economically controlled and monitored. Today, standardized communication protocols such as DNP3, IEC 61850 and Modbus, to list a few, are used to allow multiple intelligent electronic devices to communicate with each other and supervisory control centers. Distributed automatic control at substations is one element of the so-called smart grid.


Electrified railways also use substations, often distribution substations. In some cases a conversion of the current type takes place, commonly with rectifiers for direct current (DC) trains, or rotary converters for trains using alternating current (AC) at frequencies other than that of the public grid. Sometimes they are also transmission substations or collector substations if the railway network also operates its own grid and generators.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Electric Power Transmission

Electric-power transmission is the bulk transfer of electrical energy, from generating power plants to electrical substations located near demand centers. This is distinct from the local wiring between high-voltage substations and customers, which is typically referred to as electric power distribution. Transmission lines, when interconnected with each other, become transmission networks. The combined transmission and distribution network is known as the "power grid" in the United States, or just "the grid". In the United Kingdom, the network is known as the "National Grid".

A wide area synchronous grid, also known as an "interconnection" in North America, directly connects a large number of generators delivering AC power with the same relative phase, to a large number of consumers. For example, there are three major interconnections in North America (the Western Interconnection, the Eastern Interconnection and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid), and one large grid for most of continental Europe.

Historically, transmission and distribution lines were owned by the same company, but starting in the 1990s, many countries have liberalized the regulation of the electricity market in ways that have led to the separation of the electricity transmission business from the distribution business.


Most transmission lines are high-voltage three-phase alternating current (AC), although single phase AC is sometimes used in railway electrification systems. High-voltage direct-current (HVDC) technology is used for greater efficiency at very long distances (typically hundreds of miles (kilometers)), or in submarine power cables (typically longer than 30 miles (50 km)). HVDC links are also used to stabilize and control problems in large power distribution networks where sudden new loads or blackouts in one part of a network can otherwise result in synchronization problems and cascading failures.

Electricity is transmitted at high voltages (120 kV or above) to reduce the energy losses in long-distance transmission. Power is usually transmitted through overhead power lines. Underground power transmission has a significantly higher cost and greater operational limitations but is sometimes used in urban areas or sensitive locations.

A key limitation of electric power is that, with minor exceptions, electrical energy cannot be stored, and therefore must be generated as needed. A sophisticated control system is required to ensure electric generation very closely matches the demand. If the demand for power exceeds the supply, generation plant and transmission equipment can shut down, which in the worst case may lead to a major regional blackout, such as occurred in the US Northeast blackout of 1965, 1977, 2003, and other regional blackouts in 1996 and 2011. It is to reduce the risk of such failure that electric transmission networks are interconnected into regional, national or continent wide networks thereby providing multiple redundant alternative routes for power to flow should such equipment failures occur. Much analysis is done by transmission companies to determine the maximum reliable capacity of each line (ordinarily less than its physical or thermal limit) to ensure spare capacity is available should there be any such failure in another part of the network.

Overhead Transmission

High-voltage overhead conductors are not covered by insulation. The conductor material is nearly always an aluminum alloy, made into several strands and possibly reinforced with steel strands. Copper was sometimes used for overhead transmission but aluminum is lighter, yields only marginally reduced performance and costs much less. Overhead conductors are a commodity supplied by several companies worldwide. Improved conductor material and shapes are regularly used to allow increased capacity and modernize transmission circuits. Conductor sizes range from 12 mm2 (#6 American wire gauge) to 750 mm2 (1,590,000 circular mils area), with varying resistance and current-carrying capacity. Thicker wires would lead to a relatively small increase in capacity due to the skin effect, that causes most of the current to flow close to the surface of the wire. Because of this current limitation, multiple parallel cables (called bundle conductors) are used when higher capacity is needed. Bundle conductors are also used at high voltages to reduce energy loss caused by corona discharge.

Today, transmission-level voltages are usually considered to be 110 kV and above. Lower voltages such as 66 kV and 33 kV are usually considered subtransmission voltages but are occasionally used on long lines with light loads. Voltages less than 33 kV are usually used for distribution. Voltages above 230 kV are considered extra high voltage and require different designs compared to equipment used at lower voltages.

Since overhead transmission wires depend on air for insulation, design of these lines requires minimum clearances to be observed to maintain safety. Adverse weather conditions of high wind and low temperatures can lead to power outages. Wind speeds as low as 23 knots (43 km/h) can permit conductors to encroach operating clearances, resulting in a flashover and loss of supply. Oscillatory motion of the physical line can be termed gallop or flutter depending on the frequency and amplitude of oscillation.

Underground Transmission

Electric power can also be transmitted by underground power cables instead of overhead power lines. Underground cables take up less right-of-way than overhead lines, have lower visibility, and are less affected by bad weather. However, costs of insulated cable and excavation are much higher than overhead construction. Faults in buried transmission lines take longer to locate and repair. Underground lines are strictly limited by their thermal capacity, which permits less overload or re-rating than overhead lines. Long underground AC cables have significant capacitance, which may reduce their ability to provide useful power to loads beyond 50 miles. Long underground DC cables have no such issue and can run for thousands of miles.


In the early days of commercial electric power, transmission of electric power at the same voltage as used by lighting and mechanical loads restricted the distance between generating plant and consumers. In 1882, generation was with direct current (DC), which could not easily be increased in voltage for long-distance transmission. Different classes of loads (for example, lighting, fixed motors, and traction/railway systems) required different voltages, and so used different generators and circuits.

Due to this specialization of lines and because transmission was inefficient for low-voltage high-current circuits, generators needed to be near their loads. It seemed at the time, that the industry would develop into what is now known as a distributed generation system with large numbers of small generators located near their loads.

In 1886, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, a 1 kV alternating current (AC) distribution system was installed. That same year, AC power at 2 kV, transmitted 30 km, was installed at Cerchi, Italy. At an AIEE meeting on May 16, 1888, Nikola Tesla delivered a lecture entitled A New System of Alternating Current Motors and Transformers, describing the equipment which allowed efficient generation and use of polyphase alternating currents. The transformer, and Tesla's polyphase and single-phase induction motors, were essential for a combined AC distribution system for both lighting and machinery. Ownership of the rights to the Tesla patents was a key advantage to the Westinghouse Company in offering a complete alternating current power system for both lighting and power.

Regarded as one of the most influential electrical innovations, the universal system used transformers to step-up voltage from generators to high-voltage transmission lines, and then to step-down voltage to local distribution circuits or industrial customers. By a suitable choice of utility frequency, both lighting and motor loads could be served. Rotary converters and later mercury-arc valves and other rectifier equipment allowed DC to be provided where needed. Generating stations and loads using different frequencies could be interconnected using rotary converters. By using common generating plants for every type of load, important economies of scale were achieved, lower overall capital investment was required, load factor on each plant was increased allowing for higher efficiency, a lower cost for the consumer and increased overall use of electric power.

By allowing multiple generating plants to be interconnected over a wide area, electricity production cost was reduced. The most efficient available plants could be used to supply the varying loads during the day. Reliability was improved and capital investment cost was reduced, since stand-by generating capacity could be shared over many more customers and a wider geographic area. Remote and low-cost sources of energy, such as hydroelectric power or mine-mouth coal, could be exploited to lower energy production cost.

The first transmission of three-phase alternating current using high voltage took place in 1891 during the international electricity exhibition in Frankfurt. A 25 kV transmission line, approximately 175 km long, connected Lauffen on the Neckar and Frankfurt.

Voltages used for electric power transmission increased throughout the 20th century. By 1914, fifty-five transmission systems each operating at more than 70 kV were in service. The highest voltage then used was 150 kV.

The rapid industrialization in the 20th century made electrical transmission lines and grids a critical infrastructure item in most industrialized nations. Interconnection of local generation plants and small distribution networks was greatly spurred by the requirements of World War I, with large electrical generating plants built by governments to provide power to munitions factories. Later these generating plants were connected to supply civil loads through long-distance transmission.

Bulk Power Transmission

Engineers design transmission networks to transport the energy as efficiently as feasible, while at the same time taking into account economic factors, network safety and redundancy. These networks use components such as power lines, cables, circuit breakers, switches and transformers. The transmission network is usually administered on a regional basis by an entity such as a regional transmission organization or transmission system operator.

Transmission efficiency is greatly improved by devices that increase the voltage, (and thereby proportionately reduce the current) in the line conductors, thus allowing power to be transmitted with acceptable losses. The reduced current flowing through the line reduces the heating losses in the conductors. According to Joule's Law, energy losses are directly proportional to the square of the current. Thus, reducing the current by a factor of 2 will lower the energy lost to conductor resistance by a factor of 4 for any given size of conductor.

The optimum size of a conductor for a given voltage and current can be estimated by Kelvin's law for conductor size which states that the size is at its optimum when the annual cost of energy wasted in the resistance is equal to the annual capital charges of providing the conductor. At times of lower interest rates Kelvin's law indicates that thicker wires are optimal, while when metals are expensive thinner conductors are indicated: however power lines are designed for long-term usage so Kelvin's law has to be used in conjunction with long-term estimates of the price of copper and aluminum as well as interest rates for capital.

The increase in voltage is achieved in AC circuits by using a step-up transformer. HVDC systems require relatively costly conversion equipment which may be economically justified for particular projects such as submarine cables and longer distance high capacity point to point transmission. HVDC is necessary for the import and export of energy between grid systems that are not synchronized with each other.

A transmission grid is a network of power stations, transmission lines, and substations. Energy is usually transmitted within a grid with three-phase AC. Single-phase AC is used only for distribution to end users since it is not usable for large polyphase induction motors. In the 19th century, two-phase transmission was used but required either four wires or three wires with unequal currents. Higher order phase systems require more than three wires, but deliver little or no benefit.

The price of electric power station capacity is high, and electric demand is variable, so it is often cheaper to import some portion of the needed power than to generate it locally. Because loads are often regionally correlated (hot weather in the Southwest portion of the US might cause many people to use air conditioners), electric power often comes from distant sources. Because of the economic benefits of load sharing between regions, wide area transmission grids now span countries and even continents. The web of interconnections between power producers and consumers should enable power to flow, even if some links are inoperative.

The unvarying (or slowly varying over many hours) portion of the electric demand is known as the base load and is generally served by large facilities (which are more efficient due to economies of scale) with fixed costs for fuel and operation. Such facilities are nuclear, coal-fired or hydroelectric, while other energy sources such as concentrated solar thermal and geothermal power have the potential to provide base load power. Renewable energy sources such as solar photovoltaics, wind, wave, and tidal are, due to their intermittency, not considered as supplying "base load" but will still add power to the grid. The remaining or 'peak' power demand, is supplied by peaking power plants, which are typically smaller, faster-responding, and higher cost sources, such as combined cycle or combustion turbine plants fueled by natural gas.

Long-distance transmission of electricity (thousands of kilometers) is cheap and efficient, with costs of US$0.005–0.02/kWh (compared to annual averaged large producer costs of US$0.01–0.025/kWh, retail rates upwards of US$0.10/kWh, and multiples of retail for instantaneous suppliers at unpredicted highest demand moments). Thus distant suppliers can be cheaper than local sources (e.g., New York often buys over 1000 MW of electricity from Canada). Multiple local sources (even if more expensive and infrequently used) can make the transmission grid more fault tolerant to weather and other disasters that can disconnect distant suppliers.

Long-distance transmission allows remote renewable energy resources to be used to displace fossil fuel consumption. Hydro and wind sources cannot be moved closer to populous cities, and solar costs are lowest in remote areas where local power needs are minimal. Connection costs alone can determine whether any particular renewable alternative is economically sensible. Costs can be prohibitive for transmission lines, but various proposals for massive infrastructure investment in high capacity, very long distance super grid transmission networks could be recovered with modest usage fees.

Grid Input

At the power stations the power is produced at a relatively low voltage between about 2.3 kV and 30 kV, depending on the size of the unit. The generator terminal voltage is then stepped up by the power station transformer to a higher voltage (115 kV to 765 kV AC, varying by the transmission system and by country) for transmission over long distances.


Transmitting electricity at high voltage reduces the fraction of energy lost to resistance, which varies depending on the specific conductors, the current flowing, and the length of the transmission line. For example, a 100 mile 765 kV line carrying 1000 MW of power can have losses of 1.1% to 0.5%. A 345 kV line carrying the same load across the same distance has losses of 4.2%. For a given amount of power, a higher voltage reduces the current and thus the resistive losses in the conductor. For example, raising the voltage by a factor of 10 reduces the current by a corresponding factor of 10 and therefore the I2R losses by a factor of 100, provided the same sized conductors are used in both cases. Even if the conductor size (cross-sectional area) is reduced 10-fold to match the lower current the I2R losses are still reduced 10-fold. Long-distance transmission is typically done with overhead lines at voltages of 115 to 1,200 kV. At extremely high voltages, more than 2,000 kV exists between conductor and ground, corona discharge losses are so large that they can offset the lower resistive losses in the line conductors. Measures to reduce corona losses include conductors having larger diameters; often hollow to save weight, or bundles of two or more conductors.

Transmission and distribution losses in the USA were estimated at 6.6% in 1997 and 6.5% in 2007. By using underground DC transmission these losses can be cut in half. Underground cables can be larger diameter because they do not have the constraint of light weight that overhead cables have, being 100 feet in the air. In general, losses are estimated from the discrepancy between power produced (as reported by power plants) and power sold to end customers; the difference between what is produced and what is consumed constitute transmission and distribution losses, assuming no theft of utility occurs.

As of 1980, the longest cost-effective distance for direct-current transmission was determined to be 7,000 km (4,300 mi). For alternating current it was 4,000 km (2,500 mi), though all transmission lines in use today are substantially shorter than this.

In any alternating current transmission line, the inductance and capacitance of the conductors can be significant. Currents that flow solely in 'reaction' to these properties of the circuit, (which together with the resistance define the impedance) constitute reactive power flow, which transmits no 'real' power to the load. These reactive currents however are very real and cause extra heating losses in the transmission circuit. The ratio of 'real' power (transmitted to the load) to 'apparent' power (sum of 'real' and 'reactive') is the power factor. As reactive current increases, the reactive power increases and the power factor decreases. For transmission systems with low power factor, losses are higher than for systems with high power factor. Utilities add capacitor banks, reactors and other components (such as phase-shifting transformers; static VAR compensators; physical transposition of the phase conductors; and flexible AC transmission systems, FACTS) throughout the system to compensate for the reactive power flow and reduce the losses in power transmission and stabilize system voltages. These measures are collectively called 'reactive support'.


Subtransmission is part of an electric power transmission system that runs at relatively lower voltages. It is uneconomical to connect all distribution substations to the high main transmission voltage, because the equipment is larger and more expensive. Typically, only larger substations connect with this high voltage. It is stepped down and sent to smaller substations in towns and neighborhoods. Subtransmission circuits are usually arranged in loops so that a single line failure does not cut off service to a large number of customers for more than a short time. While subtransmission circuits are usually carried on overhead lines, in urban areas buried cable may be used.

There is no fixed cutoff between subtransmission and transmission, or subtransmission and distribution. The voltage ranges overlap somewhat. Voltages of 69 kV, 115 kV and 138 kV are often used for subtransmission in North America. As power systems evolved, voltages formerly used for transmission were used for subtransmission, and subtransmission voltages became distribution voltages. Like transmission, subtransmission moves relatively large amounts of power, and like distribution, subtransmission covers an area instead of just point to point.

High-Voltage Direct Current

High-voltage direct current (HVDC) is used to transmit large amounts of power over long distances or for interconnections between asynchronous grids. When electrical energy is to be transmitted over very long distances, the power lost in AC transmission becomes appreciable and it is less expensive to use direct current instead of alternating current. For a very long transmission line, these lower losses (and reduced construction cost of a DC line) can offset the additional cost of the required converter stations at each end.

HVDC is also used for submarine cables because over about 30 kilometres (19 mi) lengths AC cannot be supplied. In these cases special high voltage cables for DC are used. Submarine HVDC systems are often used to connect the electricity grids of islands, for example, between Great Britain and mainland Europe, between Great Britain and Ireland, between Tasmania and the Australian mainland, and between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Submarine connections up to 600 kilometres (370 mi) in length are presently in use.

HVDC links can be used to control problems in the grid with AC electricity flow. The power transmitted by an AC line increases as the phase angle between source end voltage and destination ends increases, but too large a phase angle will allow the systems at either end of the line to fall out of step. Since the power flow in a DC link is controlled independently of the phases of the AC networks at either end of the link, this phase angle limit does not exist, and a DC link is always able to transfer its full rated power. A DC link therefore stabilizes the AC grid at either end, since power flow and phase angle can then be controlled independently.

As an example, to adjust the flow of AC power on a hypothetical line between Seattle and Boston would require adjustment of the relative phase of the two regional electrical grids. This is an everyday occurrence in AC systems, but one that can become disrupted when AC system components fail and place unexpected loads on the remaining working grid system. With an HVDC line instead, such an interconnection would: (1) Convert AC in Seattle into HVDC. (2) Use HVDC for the three thousand miles of cross-country transmission. Then (3) convert the HVDC to locally synchronized AC in Boston, (and possibly in other cooperating cities along the transmission route). Such a system could be less prone to failure if parts of it were suddenly shut down. One example of a long DC transmission line is the Pacific DC Intertie located in the Western United States.


The amount of power that can be sent over a transmission line is limited. The origins of the limits vary depending on the length of the line. For a short line, the heating of conductors due to line losses sets a thermal limit. If too much current is drawn, conductors may sag too close to the ground, or conductors and equipment may be damaged by overheating. For intermediate-length lines on the order of 100 km (62 mi), the limit is set by the voltage drop in the line. For longer AC lines, system stability sets the limit to the power that can be transferred. Approximately, the power flowing over an AC line is proportional to the cosine of the phase angle of the voltage and current at the receiving and transmitting ends. Since this angle varies depending on system loading and generation, it is undesirable for the angle to approach 90 degrees. Very approximately, the allowable product of line length and maximum load is proportional to the square of the system voltage. Series capacitors or phase-shifting transformers are used on long lines to improve stability. High-voltage direct current lines are restricted only by thermal and voltage drop limits, since the phase angle is not material to their operation.

Up to now, it has been almost impossible to foresee the temperature distribution along the cable route, so that the maximum applicable current load was usually set as a compromise between understanding of operation conditions and risk minimization. The availability of industrial distributed temperature sensing (DTS) systems that measure in real time temperatures all along the cable is a first step in monitoring the transmission system capacity. This monitoring solution is based on using passive optical fibers as temperature sensors, either integrated directly inside a high voltage cable or mounted externally on the cable insulation. A solution for overhead lines is also available. In this case the optical fiber is integrated into the core of a phase wire of overhead transmission lines (OPPC). The integrated Dynamic Cable Rating (DCR) or also called Real Time Thermal Rating (RTTR) solution enables not only to continuously monitor the temperature of a high voltage cable circuit in real time, but to safely utilize the existing network capacity to its maximum. Furthermore it provides the ability to the operator to predict the behavior of the transmission system upon major changes made to its initial operating conditions.


To ensure safe and predictable operation the components of the transmission system are controlled with generators, switches, circuit breakers and loads. The voltage, power, frequency, load factor, and reliability capabilities of the transmission system are designed to provide cost effective performance for the customers.

Load Balancing

The transmission system provides for base load and peak load capability, with safety and fault tolerance margins. The peak load times vary by region largely due to the industry mix. In very hot and very cold climates home air conditioning and heating loads have an effect on the overall load. They are typically highest in the late afternoon in the hottest part of the year and in mid-mornings and mid-evenings in the coldest part of the year. This makes the power requirements vary by the season and the time of day. Distribution system designs always take the base load and the peak load into consideration.

The transmission system usually does not have a large buffering capability to match the loads with the generation. Thus generation has to be kept matched to the load, to prevent overloading failures of the generation equipment.

Multiple sources and loads can be connected to the transmission system and they must be controlled to provide orderly transfer of power. In centralized power generation, only local control of generation is necessary, and it involves synchronization of the generation units, to prevent large transients and overload conditions.

In distributed power generation the generators are geographically distributed and the process to bring them online and offline must be carefully controlled. The load control signals can either be sent on separate lines or on the power lines themselves. Voltage and frequency can be used as signalling mechanisms to balance the loads.

In voltage signaling, the variation of voltage is used to increase generation. The power added by any system increases as the line voltage decreases. This arrangement is stable in principle. Voltage-based regulation is complex to use in mesh networks, since the individual components and setpoints would need to be reconfigured every time a new generator is added to the mesh.

In frequency signaling, the generating units match the frequency of the power transmission system. In droop speed control, if the frequency decreases, the power is increased. (The drop in line frequency is an indication that the increased load is causing the generators to slow down.)

Wind turbines, vehicle-to-grid and other distributed storage and generation systems can be connected to the power grid, and interact with it to improve system operation.

Failure Protection

Under excess load conditions, the system can be designed to fail gracefully rather than all at once. Brownouts occur when the supply power drops below the demand. Blackouts occur when the supply fails completely.

Rolling blackouts (also called load shedding) are intentionally engineered electrical power outages, used to distribute insufficient power when the demand for electricity exceeds the supply.


Operators of long transmission lines require reliable communications for control of the power grid and, often, associated generation and distribution facilities. Fault-sensing protective relays at each end of the line must communicate to monitor the flow of power into and out of the protected line section so that faulted conductors or equipment can be quickly de-energized and the balance of the system restored. Protection of the transmission line from short circuits and other faults is usually so critical that common carrier telecommunications are insufficiently reliable, and in remote areas a common carrier may not be available. Communication systems associated with a transmission project may use:

  • Microwaves
  • Power line communication
  • Optical fibers

Rarely, and for short distances, a utility will use pilot-wires strung along the transmission line path. Leased circuits from common carriers are not preferred since availability is not under control of the electric power transmission organization.

Transmission lines can also be used to carry data: this is called power-line carrier, or PLC. PLC signals can be easily received with a radio for the long wave range.

Optical fibers can be included in the stranded conductors of a transmission line, in the overhead shield wires. These cables are known as optical ground wire (OPGW). Sometimes a standalone cable is used, all-dielectric self-supporting (ADSS) cable, attached to the transmission line cross arms.

Some jurisdictions, such as Minnesota, prohibit energy transmission companies from selling surplus communication bandwidth or acting as a telecommunications common carrier. Where the regulatory structure permits, the utility can sell capacity in extra dark fibers to a common carrier, providing another revenue stream.

Cost of Electric Power Transmission

The cost of high voltage electricity transmission (as opposed to the costs of electric power distribution) is comparatively low, compared to all other costs arising in a consumer's electricity bill. In the UK transmission costs are about 0.2p/kWh compared to a delivered domestic price of around 10 p/kWh.

Research evaluates the level of capital expenditure in the electric power T&D equipment market will be worth $128.9bn in 2011.

Merchant Transmission

Merchant transmission is an arrangement where a third party constructs and operates electric transmission lines through the franchise area of an unrelated utility.

Operating merchant transmission projects in the United States include the Cross Sound Cable from Shoreham, New York to New Haven, Connecticut, Neptune RTS Transmission Line from Sayreville, N.J., to Newbridge, N.Y, ITC Holdings, Inc. transmission system in the midwest, and Path 15 in California. Additional projects are in development or have been proposed throughout the United States.

There is only one unregulated or market interconnector in Australia: Basslink between Tasmania and Victoria. Two DC links originally implemented as market interconnectors Directlink and Murraylink have been converted to regulated interconnectors.

A major barrier to wider adoption of merchant transmission is the difficulty in identifying who benefits from the facility so that the beneficiaries will pay the toll. Also, it is difficult for a merchant transmission line to compete when the alternative transmission lines are subsidized by other utility businesses.

Health Concerns

Some large studies, including a large United States study, have failed to find any link between living near power lines and developing any sickness or diseases such as cancer. One old study from 1997 found that it did not matter how close one was to a power line or a sub-station, there was no increased risk of cancer or illness.

The mainstream scientific evidence suggests that low-power, low-frequency, electromagnetic radiation associated with household currents and high transmission power lines does not constitute a short or long term health hazard. Some studies, however, have found statistical correlations between various diseases and living or working near power lines. No adverse health effects have been substantiated for people not living close to powerlines.

There are established biological effects for acute high level exposure to magnetic fields well above 100 µT (1 G). In a residential setting, there is "limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and less than sufficient evidence for carcinogenicity in experimental animals", in particular, childhood leukemia, associated with average exposure to residential power-frequency magnetic field above 0.3 µT (3 mG) to 0.4 µT (4 mG). These levels exceed average residential power-frequency magnetic fields in homes which are about 0.07 µT (0.7 mG) in Europe and 0.11 µT (1.1 mG) in North America.

Tree Growth Regulator and Herbicide Control Methods may be used in transmission line right of ways which may have health effects.

Grids for Railways

In some countries where electric locomotives or electric multiple units run on low frequency AC power, there are separate single phase traction power networks operated by the railways. Prime example are the countries of Europe, which utilize the older AC technology based on 16 2/3 Hz.

Superconducting Cables

High-temperature superconductors (HTS) promise to revolutionize power distribution by providing lossless transmission of electrical power. The development of superconductors with transition temperatures higher than the boiling point of liquid nitrogen has made the concept of superconducting power lines commercially feasible, at least for high-load applications. It has been estimated that the waste would be halved using this method, since the necessary refrigeration equipment would consume about half the power saved by the elimination of the majority of resistive losses. Some companies such as Consolidated Edison and American Superconductor have already begun commercial production of such systems. In one hypothetical future system called a SuperGrid, the cost of cooling would be eliminated by coupling the transmission line with a liquid hydrogen pipeline.

Superconducting cables are particularly suited to high load density areas such as the business district of large cities, where purchase of an easement for cables would be very costly.

Single Wire Earth Return

Single-wire earth return (SWER) or single wire ground return is a single-wire transmission line for supplying single-phase electrical power for an electrical grid to remote areas at low cost. It is principally used for rural electrification, but also finds use for larger isolated loads such as water pumps. Single wire earth return is also used for HVDC over submarine power cables.

Wireless Power Transmission

Both Nikola Tesla and Hidetsugu Yagi attempted to devise systems for large scale wireless power transmission in the late 1800s and early 1900s, with no commercial success.

In November 2009, LaserMotive won the NASA 2009 Power Beaming Challenge by powering a cable climber 1 km vertically using a ground-based laser transmitter. The system produced up to 1 kW of power at the receiver end. In August 2010, NASA contracted with private companies to pursue the design of laser power beaming systems to power low earth orbit satellites and to launch rockets using laser power beams.

Wireless power transmission has been studied for transmission of power from solar power satellites to the earth. A high power array of microwave or laser transmitters would beam power to a rectenna. Major engineering and economic challenges face any solar power satellite project.