Composite Technology Corporation (CTC) has confirmed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy's Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) to begin live monitoring and evaluation of an ACCC (Aluminum Conductor Composite Core) line installed in Western's electrical grid system in Phoenix, Arizona. The ACCC line was installed last December and was a 230-kV circuit replacement for a conventional steel core conductor.

The ACCC section comprises six spans of 1,045 feet, making a total of 6,269 feet (1.19 miles). The three phases of the circuit add up to a total of 3.6 miles of CTC's ACCC/TW Drake 1020 kcmil conductor. Electronic remote monitoring equipment was installed and activated on Feb. 22, 2006. Monitoring is transmitted at 10-minute intervals and provides a real-time assessment of ACCC's characteristics under various load conditions correlating line sag and conductor temperature against measurements of the ambient air temperature, wind speed and direction, solar radiation, and physical line tension.

WAPA, which owns and operates more than 17,000 circuit miles of transmission lines throughout the Western United States, is evaluating ACCC before considering larger grid installations. Real-time data from the ACCC section will be also be available to CTC. CTC anticipates that, in addition to further proving the performance characteristics of ACCC, the information will provide additional data for an upgraded version of CTC's Power Line Analysis Tool (PLAT) a program designed to analyze the economic advantages of different conductors used by electrical utilities.

"The Department of Energy is mandated to find solutions to the problems facing the U.S. electrical grid system. We believe that following the completion of these tests by WAPA, part of the Department of Energy, ACCC can make a significant contribution to solving the problem of congestion on the grid," said Benton Wilcoxon, CTC's Chairman & CEO. "ACCC can be used to upgrade existing transmission lines without an increase in conductor size or weight, thus eliminating the necessity of major tower upgrades and greatly reducing the time necessary from decision to implementation. This possibility will also alleviate the need for new transmission corridors to deliver such additional capacity. Any elimination of the time taken over the planning and design cycles for increasing the size of a conductor on an existing line or new line construction saves significant resources; and we believe it is this that makes using ACCC the most economically viable solution to solving a primary U.S. transmission problem."