Skip to Content

Author Archives: American Wire Group

  1. Safe Cabling Products for Fire Mitigation

    Comments Off on Safe Cabling Products for Fire Mitigation

    Wildfires can have devastating effects on electric utilities, with a single spark having the potential to ignite a dangerous blaze that can quickly spread and cause significant damage to the infrastructure or more importantly, the potential liability from loss of human life. The increased risk of wildfires caused by climate change has prompted many companies to shift from a reactive approach to a proactive one. Despite the challenges, new technologies and innovations are emerging that allow utilities to prevent wildfires from starting in the first place. One such approach involves insulating power lines, which can help reduce the risk of sparks that could ignite a wildfire, without the high cost of undergrounding.

    Risks from Electric Cables Running Through Trees and Vegetation

    Electricity and wildfires are a dangerous combination for utilities across the country. Despite efforts to safeguard transmission and distribution lines, power lines are increasingly being implicated as the source of some wildfires. When strong winds cause nearby trees and branches to fall into power lines or snap wooden poles, the resulting sparks can quickly turn into dangerous fires. With so many potential sources of ignition, utility companies face an ongoing challenge to keep power lines from sparking wildfires. The four common ways a power line can spark a fire include:

    1. Power lines falling: If a power line falls due to any reason, be it a tree fall or any other cause, it remains electrically charged until the power company switches it off. When the high-voltage conductor comes in contact with the vegetation on the ground, it may cause a fire.
    2. Power lines coming into contact with trees or vegetation: Even if a tree doesn’t collapse the power line, continual contact with the line can start a fire over time. Branches or foliage between two conductors can produce high-temperature electrical arcs that can create a spark.
    3. Conductor slap: While utility companies strategically place conductors so they do not touch each other, contact with conductors can happen during equipment failure. If conductors slap, they can produce hot metal particles that may ignite ground vegetation below the power lines.
    4. Failing equipment: As electrical equipment ages, it is more susceptible to failure. One of the most common outcomes of equipment failure is sparking that, if not replaced, can increase in intensity and spark a fire.

    Fire Prevention AerialGuard Products

    Especially during wildfire season, utility companies face severe criticism for overhead power lines. Therefore, utility companies constantly look for new technology to improve safety, mitigate fire threats, and upgrade their electric supply system. Reinforced fire-resistant cable has come a long way in recent years to reduce fire threats and safely withstand operation for a certain time in flame-burning conditions. Aerial Cable Systems are a reliable option for utilities in fire-prone areas.

    Aerial Cable Systems have a basic structure of three separately run, covered conductors supported by a grounded messenger and held together by spacers, keeping the cables strategically positioned along the line. The supporting messenger protects the system from falling trees and limbs, and if poles or lines do fall, the covered conductor is less likely to spark a fire versus bare wire. Also, the small footprint of ASC reduces the amount and frequency of vegetation trimming along power lines. AerialGuard® is AWG’s aerial cable system that helps with fire mitigation and is used for overhead primary and secondary distribution systems.

    AerialGuard® Cables: Tree Wire and Spacer Cables

    AerialGuard® Cable is a track-resistant, 3-layer system used on tree wire and spacer cables. Overhead primary and secondary distribution systems rated 15 kV (nominal) use these aerial cables. If the wire comes in contact with trees or wildfire, the 3-layer system, consisting of a conductor shield and two covering layers, is designed to prevent short circuits and flashovers.

    When appropriately installed, AerialGuard® Cable can effectively prevent system outages, damage, or fires that result from falling trees or branches. If used in tree wire systems, the line is installed in a flat configuration with a narrow right-of-way corridor. Self-supporting conductors, such as ACSR, are typical in this type of installation. When used in spacer cable power systems, the line is installed with uniform spacing in a diamond configuration maintained by spacer hardware. A bare messenger, such as ACSR, OPGW, bare aluminum clad steel, or galvanized steel wire, supports the spacer and cable assembly. Spacer cable assemblies require the narrowest right-of-way corridor, occupying minimal space.

    AWG for Wildfire Risk Mitigation

    Choosing insulated power lines equipped with flame-resistant technology is a cost-effective solution for reducing the risk of wildfires. At AWG, we offer AerialGuard® System Solutions including cable and hardware products, such as spacers, brackets, insulators and other hardware, used by utility companies nationwide. Contact us to learn more about using our AerialGuard® System Solution in your tree wire or spacer cable system.

  2. What to Consider for Wind Turbine & Solar Power Cables

    Comments Off on What to Consider for Wind Turbine & Solar Power Cables

    American Wire Group delivers comprehensive wire and cable solutions at competitive prices. No matter how complex your cable-related projects are, experts at our regional distribution centers are prepared to help in both small and large-scale capacities. As a trusted partner in the energy industry, we routinely reduce outages, source difficult-to-find products, customize cables for clients, and more.

    This blog will discuss how to select the correct cable for renewable energy applications, as well as the optimal solutions we offer for the wind and solar power industries. 


    Choose the Proper Cable for Renewable Energy Sources

    The renewable energy sector involves many cable applications that face unique challenges. Wind turbines and solar power components are subject to extreme weather conditions and can be located in remote, inaccessible areas that make transmitting power difficult. Thus, it is essential to select the ideal cable type for applications in these industries. 

    Here are some specific considerations for wind turbine cables:

    • Enhanced mechanical properties: Wind turbine towers can be up to a few hundred feet tall. These heights affect cable length, so selecting cables with higher tensile strength is important. Cables should also have good torsional attributes and resist oil and flame. 
    • Insulation: Harsh environmental conditions around wind farms often call for specific insulation. Insulated wires offer protection against voltage stresses, can operate over a wide temperature range, and better withstand mechanical abuse to the wire such as abrasion and bending.
    • Conductor: Both size and material of the conductor are integral considerations for wind turbine cables. Aluminum cables are increasingly replacing copper cables as tower and base components because aluminum is cheaper and 60% lighter. 

    The solar power industry also requires high-performance cables. When selecting the best type of solar power cables, consider these factors: 

    • Type: There are several types of solar wires, and each is best suited to a specific function. For example, single-wire cables are best for domestic electrical applications. Other types include triple-wire or five-wire cables, which work better for large-scale operations.
    • Rating: A rating chart shows how many amps a cable can safely handle. Higher ratings ensure fewer voltage drops and a reduced chance of overheating. 
    • Conductor size: The size of a conductor is defined by conductor cross-sectional area, not diameter. Thicker cables can transmit higher currents and voltages. 
    • Length: Proper cable length also reduces voltage drop and maintains safe transmission. 


    The Best Cables for Energy Systems by American Wire Group

    American Wire Group carries an extensive selection of cables for any operation in the renewable energy industry. We carry low voltage cables, medium voltage cables, control cables, grounding wires, transmission wire, aluminum photovoltaic wire, copper photovoltaic wire, and fiber optic communication cables to meet the demands of highly challenging applications. Our cables are available in copper and aluminum, with several jacket types. If you’re unsure which cable is best suited to your needs, our knowledgeable experts can help you select the best one. 


    Reliable Cable Solutions from American Wire Group

    The renewable energy industry relies heavily on cables for wind turbines and solar-powered components, which are frequently located in remote areas and exposed to extreme weather. These applications present many challenges and demand dependable, high-performing cables. 

    American Wire Group provides expert solutions for these industries. We’re devoted to our customers throughout every step of their project, from the development phase to construction to future on-site servicing. To see our complete product offerings, check out our online catalog. If you have any questions or would like to get started on a solution, contact us today.