Nexans to supply overhead conductors for world’s longest power transmission link

Source: Nexans

Nexans a worldwide leading expert in the cable industry has been awarded a EUR20 million contract by the IE Madeira consortium to deliver the overhead lines for the world’s longest power transmission link, Brazil’s Madeira River Power Interconnection. 

This new HVDC (high voltage direct current) link, the first of two, will transmit 3,150MW of power produced by the Rondônia hydroelectric plant in northwest Brazil to Sao Paulo, Brazil’s main economic center, over a distance of 2,375 km. HVDC transmission at 600kV is being used to minimize transmission losses over the long distance and the link will eventually comprise two parallel overhead lines. Nexans has been selected to provide the conductors for the first circuit by IE Madeira, a consortium comprising the utilities Furnas, Chesf and CTEEP. 

Advanced aluminum conductors

The Madeira River Power Interconnection is a bipole circuit, with each pole comprising four overhead conductors. Overall, Nexans is supplying some 6,700 km – equivalent to 21,120 metric tons – of its special All-Aluminum Conductor (AAC) for the project. Each conductor features 91 bare wires, with a diameter of 44.4 mm. 

AAC conductors are well established as part of the Nexans overhead line portfolio. However, a bespoke cross-section has been developed specifically for the Madeira River Interconnection project to provide the desired electrical and mechanical properties (breaking stress, elongation, linear thermal expansion coefficient for example) by taking into account the line's construction conditions, such as topography and climate. The typical span between the towers will be 500 meters. 

Evaluation program

To ensure the total safety and effectiveness of the Nexans solution, an extensive evaluation program, including creep, stress and stretch tests, among many others, was conducted in close consultation with IE Madeira. 

The cable is being manufactured at three Nexans plants in Brazil, located in Americana (Sao Paulo State), Lorena (Sao Paulo State) and Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro State). The first transmission line is scheduled for installation in the last quarter of 2011, while the entire project should come on line by 2013. 

“Nexans is proud to be involved in this major project for the energy and utilities industry in Brazil, as the Madeira River Interconnection will help create 43,500 direct and indirect jobs, as well as supplying nearly nine percent of the country’s energy requirement”, said Jorge Tagle, Nexans Executive Vice President South America Area. “The AAC conductors we are supplying are a perfect example of Nexans’ proven global capability to develop high technology transmission solutions to suit specific project requirements and to support them with local manufacture and service.” 

World’s longest transmission links

The Madeira River Interconnection will set a new record as the world’s longest power transmission link, with a route length of 2,375 km across five states in Brazil and 86 towns and cities. The current record for an operational HVDC project is also in Brazil – the 900 km line from Itaipu Dam to Ibiuna in Sao Paulo State. The overall world record is for the 1,700 km AC (alternating current) line between Inga and Saba in Zaire.

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