Advancing the Transmission Infrastructure with Strong Foundations

Advancing the Transmission Infrastructure with Strong Foundations

By Energy CIO Insights | Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The most crucial part of the energy sector is to transfer the produced energy. To optimize this function, constant developments in the transmission infrastructure have been showcased.

FREMONT, CA: Significant transformations have been witnessed in the designs of transmission towers over the years. Newer models such as monopoles and narrow base tower tackle Right-of-way (RoW) issues. Some of them minimize the visual impact, enable faster execution, and ensure ease of installation. The advancements have been continuously carried out in the tower foundation designs, installation methods, and survey techniques to find a solution for tower failures.

To overcome RoW constraints like time and resource transmission, utilities have adopted multi-circuit towers, narrow base towers and pole structures. Monopoles or sleek towers are made up of polygonal tubular sections with a tubular cross-arm pattern for fixing tension. These monopoles are used in the utilities segment has gained fast traction. The attention is mainly because they require less land and human resources, a shorter shutdown period, and decreased erection time when compared to conventional towers.

Another emerging tower technology design is a narrow base lattice. These are designed and installed to reduce the RoW requirement. Like monopoles, these towers can also minimize the corridor requirement.

Multi-circuit towers are another technology solution to reduce RoW and land requirements. The multi-circuit towers are used extensively for LILO of D/C lines in forest regions and at substation entries. Multi-circuit towers are designed to carry three, four or even six circuits. However, multi-circuit towers remain underused owing to distress regarding the malfunction of the entire circuit in case of a single faulty connection. A strong tower foundation is pivotal for the stability of towers, especially during strong winds, hurricanes and other various weather conditions.

A tower foundation design which has caught the attention of many is micropiling. Micropile-based foundations for towers comprise piles of smaller than 200 mm diameter. Micropiles can be used in a vast range of geotechnical conditions, designating it as an ideal option for transmission projects in mountains, deserts, and marine environments.

With relation to tower survey techniques, LiDAR technology and drones are gaining popularity. LiDAR is applied for carrying out aerial surveys to optimize route links for transmission lines and determine the positioning of towers via geographic mapping with the aid of an aircraft. The data collected from the LiDAR survey can be directly linked to modelling software for processing. Drones are also being used by the utility sector to assess the potential site locations for the plant, design site layouts, generate 3D visualizations and make RoW estimations.

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