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8/2/2014

Advanced Technology for Transmission Line Modeling

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Advanced Technology for Transmission Line Modeling


T&D World Magazine

J. E. Koop, Manitoba Hydro W.I.R.E. Services


Mon, 2002-04-01 12:00

Electric utilities continually face the challenge to satisfy the growing energy demands in North America. The most obvious solution, to construct new transmission lines, is not always possible because of difficulties in acquiring rights-of-way (R/Ws) and obtaining environmental approvals. Also, operatingtemperature constraints on existing lines limit the amperage capacity without impairing clearances to ground. To address this technical bottleneck, Manitoba Hydro (Winnipeg, Canada) recognized the need to accurately verify the thermal rating of its transmission system. The Winnipeg River area is home to some Manitoba Hydro overhead transmission lines constructed as early as the 1920s. With forecasts of increasing system loads, these lines are prime candidates for possible upgrading. This upgrade would have been easier except that much of the original terrain data, including plan and profile drawings, had either been lost or were no longer reliable because of alterations in the land. To obtain the accurate conductor and terrain data that verify compliance with industry standards for minimum ground clearance at the higher temperatures, Manitoba Hydro enlisted the services of TerraPoint LLC (The Woodlands, Texas, U.S.), the developer of the Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology. Airborne LIDAR, mounted in a helicopter, uses a precise scanning laser technology that provides highly accurate terrain elevation data for the transmission line corridor and verifies the catenary shape of the conductor. In addition, LIDAR collects raw data more quickly than is possible with traditional surveying methods and at a lower cost because of the maneuverability of the helicopter. In this respect, the helicopter can fly closer to the ground than an airplane and can more easily navigate rugged terrain. A pilot project using the LIDAR technology convinced Manitoba Hydro it could use state-of-the-art surveying technology and engineering software to produce accurate up-to-date rating models at a fraction of the time and cost of previous methods. Following the success of the pilot project, Manitoba Hydro decided to create a division that provided these services to Manitoba Hydro and other North American utilities seeking to increase capacity on their transmission systems. The result was the formation of Worldwide Integrated Rating Enhancement (W.I.R.E.) Services with technological assistance from TerraPoint.

Line Verification and Re-Rating


The new division manages all aspects of the verification and re-rating process for the parent company, from data collection and processing to engineering analysis and solution implementation. The first step in the verification process determining the exact maximum thermal operating limit for overhead lines requires the collection of accurate data for the terrain and the conductor. A helicopter equipped with a TerraPoint-manufactured HELIX LIDAR system flew over the transmission line corridor
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8/2/2014

Advanced Technology for Transmission Line Modeling

along the Winnipeg River at speeds of 70 to 80 mph (113 to 129 km/hr). An oscillating scanning laser mounted on the aircraft collected highly detailed digital data for both the terrain and for each conductor's catenary shape in every span. The resulting LIDAR data set produced a digital terrain model (DTM) of the ground surface and a catenary model of the overhead lines. A digital video and digital color orthorectified image of the corridor were produced to provide visual records that could be used for geographic information system (GIS), maintenance and other applications. Engineers analyzed the processed LIDAR data using a combination of TLCADD (Transmission/Distribution Line Computer Aided Draughting and Design) and line-modeling software to produce a comprehensive report verifying the line's maximum thermal operating limit, based on the temperature at which the line would first violate its minimum ground clearance. Using advanced modeling software that identified what further clearance problems would result from incremental increases in conductor temperature, the report detailed how many additional violations would occur, which spans would be affected and the magnitude of each possible violation. All of this information created up-to-date design drawings and determined the best re-rating options for the lines. One method Manitoba Hydro used to upgrade its lines was the Nip & Tuck retensioning technique, a multispan analysis program that creates a computer model of the line showing longitudinal behavior of conductor systems under high-temperature operation. The program identifies clearance problems that occur and also pinpoints where span-by-span re-sagging eliminates clearance violations. Most importantly, Nip & Tuck allows engineers to determine the best method to correct excessive sag by removing conductor from a span (Nip) or by sliding conductor support clamps (Tuck). These methods are less expensive and more practical than other conventional methods that involve raising or adding structures.

Using the Technology


An example of a line re-rating was the 115-kV transmission line constructed with 336.4 kcmil (170 mm2 ) 30/7 ACSR Oriole conductor. The rating of the line calculates to be 52 MW, based on a conductor temperature of 56C (133F), an ambient temperature of 38C (100F) and a wind speed of 2 ft/sec (0.61 m/sec). Following the line analysis using the LIDAR technology, the Nip & Tuck technique reduced conductor sag by increasing the line tension by about 5% to 8%. Removing 1 ft (30 cm) of conductor met the new line tension and resulted in a reduction in sag of about 3 ft (91 cm). The reduction in sag permitted the line to operate at a conductor temperature of 100C (212F), which increased the permissible load to 115 MW, a 121% increase over the 52 MW rating for a conductor temperature of 56C. The advantage of the Nip & Tuck is that it does not require any new construction techniques. The procedure uses an in-line splice in a convenient location in the span. Most utilities, through development of hotline procedures equipment, do this work without de-energizing the line.

Work in Progress
For the past year, engineers collected and processed terrain data for the verification and re-rating of more than 750 miles (1207 km) of Manitoba Hydro's overhead transmission system. Over the next several years, engineers will collect and evaluate data for an additional 2360 miles (3798 km) of line. While TLCADD is used for analyzing the Manitoba Hydro system, the analysis also can be made available in PLS-CADD (Power Line Systems-Computer Aided Design and Drafting) format for other systems that use this latter protocol.
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Advanced Technology for Transmission Line Modeling

The speed with which the LIDAR technology collects data is illustrated by a SaskPower (Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada) project to verify the thermal capacity on about 85 miles (137 km) of a 138-kV line. The TerraPoint HELIX system out of Calgary completed the airborne LIDAR data collection in about four hours.

The LIDAR Advantage


LIDAR represents a clear choice over traditional surveying methods because it is less labor intensive and collects more data. The airborne laser technology takes elevation measurements that are accurate to within 6 inches (15 cm) at a laser pulse rate of 12,500 Hz. Moreover, the technology makes frequent scans across the entire R/W, producing cross-sectional data sets for the terrain and the conductor at every 3 or 4 ft (91 to 122 cm) along the line. The result is a reliable, comprehensive representation of the conductor relative to the ground. While a ground crew can only survey five to 10 spans of line a day, helicopter-mounted LIDAR technology can collect data for hundreds of miles in a day. By completing sections in very little time, changes in sag because of variations in environmental conditions are minimized during the time of the survey. In this connection, all factors affecting conductor temperature are measured accurately, including the ampere loading on the line, changes in wind speed and direction, solar conditions and ambient temperature. These data, used to determine the exact conductor temperature during the time it takes to complete the survey, result in a true model of the catenary and an accurate determination of the maximum permissible thermal operating limit. J. E. (Jim) Koop is the general manager of W.I.R.E. Services, a division of Manitoba Hydro (Winnipeg, Canada). In his more than 17 years of experience in transmission line design at Manitoba Hydro, he has supervised major transmission projects from design planning through construction. Koop is a certified engineering technologist and a member of the IEEE Power Engineering Society. He received the degree in civil engineering technology from Red River College in Winnipeg. Source URL: http://tdworld.com/archive/advanced-technology-transmission-line-modeling

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