The electricity our world runs on is often transmitted at high voltages. If you’ve ever looked up and seen the large steel power poles then you are familiar with Australia’s high voltage transmission lines. They come in a few different shapes and sizes, carrying power that ranges from 132kV (132,000 Volts) up to 275kV. Compared to the 240V found around the home, 132kV is a large number, but transmitting power at such high voltages comes with a few key advantages. In this article, we are going to look at high voltage power transmission to see the benefits to infrastructure and commercial applications.
Reduction in Power Loss
Power from traditional sources like coal-fired plants is usually produced far away from large cities. These power plants are built in areas that are rich in the resources used to create power, but it means the power needs to be transported long distances before it can be used. Australia uses large steel towers that transmit power at high voltages to take care of this work, primarily because the higher voltage reduces the amount of power lost in transmission.
Wires of every size have some amount of resistance simply due to the copper and aluminium they are made from. Over great distances, this resistance adds up and the amount of power lost as heat can be expensive for the energy provider. Transmitting power at high voltages is the simplest way of reducing these losses. Increasing the voltage of the electricity means the current can be decreased and the same amount of power can be transmitted with lower losses due to the resistance of wiring and other conductors.
Lower Infrastructure Costs
The size of the cabling needed to transmit power is proportional to the amount of current that will pass through it. So, when transmitted at higher currents, larger wire sizes are used. High voltage cabling can be a relatively small diameter thanks to the low currents passing through.
Over large distances, sometimes hundreds or thousands of kilometres, the cost of power cabling quickly stacks up. When added to the cost of substations and transformers, the size of the cabling makes a large difference to infrastructure costs. Even transmission towers would need to be engineered to handle larger wire sizes. With high voltage cabling already weighing in at several tonnes per kilometre, supporting thicker gauges of wire would require far more substantial transmission towers. Using high voltages and thinner gauges of wire is cheaper for power producers and infrastructure suppliers, as well as for end consumers wanting affordable electricity.
Increased Power Transmission Efficiency
Transmitting power at high current and low voltage makes the entire system more efficient. Not only does it reduce infrastructure costs, but more power can be transmitted over larger distances. When designing high voltage power systems, engineers account for the distance travelled and the expected losses due to resistance. In a system where more power is lost between the power plant and the substation, the power plant would need to supply more power to keep up with demand. By reducing the amount of power lost in transmission, power plants can produce less of the electricity that substations need to pass onto paying consumers.
Asset Power Solutions are High Voltage Electricians
High voltage power systems are an electrical staple that makes our modern world possible. Asset Power Solutions are licensed and trained for work on networks up to 132kV. We can provide safe installations and repairs for your business’ high voltage power needs, and our expert technicians can ensure your job is completed on time and on budget. Contact the team at Asset Power Solutions today for an appointment or to find out more about our high voltage electrical services.