Aha Macav Power Services (Mohave Valley, Arizona, U.S.) will become the first Native American utility to deploy 3M-brand Aluminum Conductor Composite Reinforced (ACCR), a heat sag-resistant overhead conductor that can carry more than twice the power of conventional lines of the same diameter.

William Cyr, general manager of Aha Macav Power Services, said the project “provides a great benefit, both to our residents on the Fort Mojave Indian reservation and our neighbors in Needles. 3M ACCR represents a substantial technological advance in power transmission reliability that will contribute to economic growth and reduce the danger of power failures that pose a threat to health and safety.”

The Fort Mojave Tribe, whose reservation encompasses portions of eastern California, southern Nevada and western Arizona, is one of only a handful of tribes served by its own utility. Installation of the 3M ACCR is scheduled for September.

Seven major U.S. utilities are already using or installing 3M ACCR, including Arizona Public Service in Phoenix and Western, which is employing it to upgrade the reliability of the 80-mile (129-km) Topock-Davis-Lake Mead line that parallels the Colorado River along Arizona's western border with California and extends to Boulder Dam. The Aha Macav line will be linked to Western's Topock-Davis-Lake Mead line.

The conductor 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's integrity after exposure to temperatures even higher than the rated continuous operating temperature of 210°C (410°F), which provides a significant safety factor.

3M ACCR is based on aluminum, so the conductor is not adversely affected by environmental conditions, such as moisture or UV exposure, and it has the durability typically associated with aluminum-based conductors. The conductor's strength and durability result from its aluminum oxide (alumina) fibers, which are embedded in the high-purity aluminum matrix core wires. The constituent materials are chemically compatible with each other and can withstand high temperatures without adverse chemical reactions or any appreciable loss in strength.