CPFL Energia’s power distribution unit, CPFL Piratininga, has installed and energized the 3M Aluminum Conductor Composite Reinforced as part of an upgrade on a key transmission line serving a densely populated area in São Paulo state, more than doubling the capacity of that line without requiring larger towers.

Use of the lightweight, low-sag conductor in place of a conventional steel conductor enabled the utility to increase power transmission along a narrow right of way immediately surrounded by residences, without disrupting residents or causing potentially costly delays.

CPFL Energia serves some 6.5 million customers in four states, with a generating capacity of 1,672 MW, which is expected to grow to 2,174 MW in 2010, as the result of a vigorous expansion program.

The 3M ACCR conductor was installed on a 3.3-kilometer (slightly over two miles) line segment passing through a residential district of Várzea Paulista, a municipality of about 110,000 residents, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of the city of São Paulo. The 88 kV double-circuit line boosts the power supply to Várzea Paulista and nearby Jundiaí, which has a population of more than 320,000.

“We studied several options and decided that 3M ACCR provides the most reliable, cost-effective solution for delivering more power through a dense neighborhood without creating numerous logistical problems,” says Paulo Ricardo Bombassaro, engineering and planning manager for CPFL Energia. “We were impressed by its high-performance results in other applications where new tower construction was undesirable. We also were pleased that our transmission line installation process went very smoothly and everything is working as designed.”

CPFL Energia is the second Brazilian utility to install the conductor. In February of this year, Companhia de Transmissão de Energia Elétrica Paulista (CTEEP), installed the 3M ACCR to upgrade an environmentally sensitive river crossing, also avoiding new tower construction while boosting transmission capacity.

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 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.