POWER CABLE Utilities are charged up and grid growth is a given

Oct 01, 2007 | 03:13 PM |

Aluminum plays a major role in the lives of the people charged with building and maintaining the country's electric grid. Besides being cost-effective, aluminum cable has the conductivity and mechanical properties needed for overhead installation.

"Aluminum conductors are the backbone of the world's overhead transmission system," said Eric Engdahl, principal engineer of transmission line asset engineering at American Electric Power Co. Inc. (AEP) in Columbus, Ohio. "Aluminum combines the strength and conductivity required for overhead lines. At AEP, aluminum is the material of choice."

In transmission applications, there is a continuing market for aluminum conductor cable as the nation builds up the electric grid. "From all indicators I see, consumption will continue at least at present levels," Engdahl said.

Aluminum cable manufacturers are sold out, suggesting a robust level of demand, one source said.

"You'll see new transmission capacity being overlaid as an addition to the existing grid," Engdahl said, looking ahead. "You will also see local additions to serve the ever-increasing needs of localities."....

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