“We are on a drive to increase the capacity and efficiency of our transmission lines in a highly regulated environment to improve access to cleaner renewable sources and help reduce consumer costs,” says Mustafa Ali, Senior Engineering Manager at SCE. In a bid to assist them in their journey toward this global necessity, California-based CTC Global partnered with SCE and provided them with the firm’s patented ACCC Conductor and ancillary hardware components. According to Dave Bryant, Director of Technology at CTC Global, the ever-changing policy regulations were one among the significant challenges that impeded SCE from their goal. Being risk-averse, the client was obliged to assess both technical advantages and economic implications of a new technology introduced into their ecosystem as their decisions and recommendations should be in tune with the regulations.
From the consumers’ standpoint, “SCE had failed to meet the expectations in the utility industry and identify the ever-evolving desire of clients,” Ali points out. In this scenario, the collaboration with CTC Global had emerged as a game-changer that could guide SCE towards achieving their sought-after goal.
CTC Global approached SCE in 2003, considering the client’s experience in the composite core conductor arena. The firm’s technical team worked hand-in-hand with SCE to identify their requirements for product performance, testing, and evaluation. As ACCC conductor was a substantial departure from conventional steel-reinforced bare overhead conductors—introduced some 100 years ago—initially there were many unanswered questions. CTC Global spent a considerable amount of time, energy, and money answering these questions, performing extensive testing, coming up with a robust product for the electric utility industry, the ACCC Conductor.
Over time, the solution evolved as a lifesaver for SCE to mitigate the hardships and offer efficiency advantages over conventional conductors. It helped the client reduce line losses by as much as 25 to 40 percent, subsequently decreasing fuel consumption and associated emissions. With the help of ACCC Conductors, SCE was able to increase their transmission capacity, avoid potential sag-trip outages, and improve grid reliability. These benefits helped pave the way for the approval of several other projects with the support of California Regulators.
Our product uses a hybrid carbon fiber core to replace the steel core wires used to support bare overhead power line wires
With longstanding experience in the space, CTC Global identified that the cost of energy was relatively high nationwide, as many of the existing transmission corridors were constrained due to thermal sag. Bryant recalled the major East Coast Blackout of 2003, where bare overhead conductors sagged drastically due to electrical resistance caused by overloading the lines. This resulted in a cascading outage. ACCC Conductors offer a low coefficient of thermal expansion compared to other metal reinforced overhead conductors and mitigated conductor sag under heavy electrical load conditions. The fully elastic and lower modulus capability allows the ACCC conductor to stretch during extreme ice and wind loading events and return to its pre-stressed condition. This enhances the product’s self-damping characteristics and reduces thermal knee-point, which will ultimately minimize conductor sag.
Considering these admirable and reliable benefits CTC Global offers, Ali mentions this two-year-old partnership as a peerless decision. What led SCE to join hands with CTC Global was the firm’s unrivaled industry expertise, technical support, and field service support. The potential and flexibility that the company’s first-of-a-kind ACCC Conductor promised helped CTC Global to overpass their competitors.
“In a nutshell, CTC Global provides us a one-stop-shop solution for our entire project,” says Ali. By building an ideal and solid partnership with SCE, CTC Global was able to leverage their potential to embed themselves as part of their clients’ team and gain experience in terms of installation and other capabilities. CTC Global’s ability to identify the core of issues, to successfully mitigate them is not only a testament to the prowess of their solution suite, but is also indicative of the client’s openness toward the strategic partnership. “As SCE had a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve, we were able to uncover how they quantify ‘the definition of success’ and work together toward an exemplary outcome,” says Bryant.
The engagement with SCE well exemplifies CTC Global’s value proposition and their potential to manage challenging situations. With a keen understanding of the need to increase the capacity of the electric power grid, CTC Global developed, tested, and commercialized the high-capacity, low-sag, energy-efficient ACCC Conductor. It is designed to increase the capacity, efficiency, reliability, and resilience of the electric power grid. “Our product uses a hybrid carbon fiber core to replace the steel core wires used to support bare overhead power line wires,” quotes Bryant. The firm produces the ACCC Conductor composite core, which is shipped to any of more than two-dozen authorized and licensed manufacturing partners to wrap aluminum wires around the core to produce the finished product. CTC Global also develops various connectors for the product, which are produced by the firm and other hardware manufacturers.