American Electric Power (AEP) was today awarded the 2016 U.S. Edison Award by Edison Electric Institute (EEI). A panel of former electric company CEOs selected AEP from among multiple award finalists.
The award honors AEP’s Energized Reconductor Project in Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley. The company upgraded the two 345-kV transmission lines used to deliver power to South Texas. Because taking the lines out of service was not possible, AEP replaced all 240 miles of lines while they were in an energized state. This nullified the need to find alternative generation sources, resulting in savings that exceeded $43 million.
“The electric power industry is making significant investments in new technologies to improve the reliability and resiliency of the energy grid,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “AEP’s Lower Rio Grande Valley project accomplished an incredible technical feat by replacing a record length of transmission lines while the lines remained energized. Traditional construction methods would have required taking those lines out of service, but AEP developed an innovative technical solution that permitted the company to successfully upgrade the system while maintaining service and reliability.”
In cooperation with Quanta Services and CTC Global, AEP used several advanced technologies to complete the project. The company used Energized Barehand work methods in combination with LineMaster Robotic Arm technologies to safely handle live electric lines.
Watch a video about the project here.