The transmission upgrade 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 Co. serves more than 4.4 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in four states. Georgia Power is its largest unit.
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 nearly doubling the 230 kV double circuits' line capacity, replacing a conventional steel core conductor with a 3M ACCR 1622 kcmil conductor that is light enough to be accommodated mostly by the existing infrastructure.
After studying a number of options and considering the capacity increases achievable; the costs of structures, construction and permitting, and conductor costs, Georgia Power chose ACCR as the most cost-effective option.
3M ACCR was developed with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which tested the conductor at its Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, and with early contributions by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.