Major Utility in Southern U.S. Upgrades Transmission Lines with 3M ACCR to
Avoid Wetlands Tower Construction
Project Doubles Ampacity on 16.7-Mile Segment Linking Generating Plants;
Requires Minimal Outage Time or Changes to Existing Infrastructure
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- March 13, 2013
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
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
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 cost-effective option.
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 said.
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 strength.
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.
The 3M 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 products.
More information about the 3M high capacity conductor is available at
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ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a
never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the
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employs about 88,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 70
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3M Public Relations
Colleen Horn Harris, 651-733-1566
LVM Group Inc.
Bob Rumerman, 212-499-6567
Rachel Antman, 212-499-6570
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