Utilities Switch to ‘Reconductoring’ to Meet Increased Capacity Demand

With global electricity demand projected to accelerate over the next couple of years, energy utilities are considering “reconductoring” as a means of increasing energy production. Including electric cars, more of our technology and appliances are going electric, putting more strain on existing utilities.

The world has registered high growth in the renewable energy sector, with a growing number of clean-energy projects generating record levels of wind and solar. However, utility providers haven’t had enough time to build enough power lines to carry the increased power load to users. Many are now scrambling to increase their lines amid lots of red tape.

Reconductoring refers to the process of replacing outdated metal wires in transmission lines with more advanced ones.  According to a joint study by energy consulting firm Gridlab and the University of California, Berkeley, reconductoring can potentially double the amount of electricity existing transmission lines can transport.

The joint study’s findings note that this technique would also cost less than one-half the price of constructing newer, more powerful transmission lines. The United States and the European Union, along with other large nations, have invested significantly in increasing their electric vehicle fleets over the past couple of years to help combat global climate change.

As more electric vehicles come online, the strain on electric grids will undoubtedly increase. With existing grids already congested, however, there is barely any room to integrate additional energy from both fossil fuels and renewable sources such as solar and wind.  A Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study found that more than 10,000 energy-storage projects and power plants are currently waiting for approval to connect to the national grid.

An estimated 95% of these projects are carbon free, and they have enough capacity to double energy production in the country. Unfortunately, the permitting process can be incredibly long because it requires lengthy environmental reviews and often leads to strong local opposition. Many locals worry that more power stretched across the landscape will be an eyesore while also lowering property values and even hurting ecosystems.

Building new power lines requires land purchases, easements, environmental inspections and reviews, engineering permits and approvals, among other things. As a result, new power transmission lines regularly take more than 10 years from planning to permitting and building. Reconductoring allows grid operators to increase the electricity their power lines can carry without the hassle of installing entirely new towers and poles. While this technique doesn’t eliminate all the permitting costs, it only requires grid operators to obtain a maintenance permit.

While the new lines are lighter and have stronger composite cores, which allow them to carry twice the energy, this comes at a higher cost. Even so, the cost savings on environmental reviews and the permitting process make reconducturing a cheaper, more accessible way of increasing grid capacity.

Such reconductoring puts to optimal use the green-energy metals extracted by companies such as Reflex Advanced Materials Corp. (CSE: RFLX) (OTCQB: RFLXF). If utilities around the world adopt the same approach, the penetration of green energies could happen sooner and more cost effectively than initially projected.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Reflex Advanced Materials Corp. (CSE: RFLX) (OTCQB: RFLXF) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/RFLXF

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