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How really big power cables work May 19, 2008

Posted by Al in : educational,interesting , trackback

Here’s a very interesting article on how really big power cables work. Sometimes you need to get a lot of power (230KV of power, at around 2,000A) from a generating station to the substation that is going to distribute the power to the end users. Now that’s a lot of electricity, and so needs some very big cable, with a lot of insulation to carry it safely underground. Laying such a cable is an expense, and an engineering challenge, but nothing compared to what is required when you get a fault with that cable.

I don’t know whether such cables re used in the UK, but I’d like to think there are marvels like this lurking under our streets. Hidden infrastructure always interests me: whether it’s power cable, telecommunications links, or just the amount of cellphone masts that cover rooftops and hillsides to give us decent coverage. About 7 years ago (maybe longer) the roads near my village were dug up at a fair rate, and miles of cable were laid into the resulting trenches. It wasn’t until I spoke to some of the guys laying the cable that I learned that this cable would eventually stretch all the way to America, as it was part of the Sprint Telecom Atlantic link. Whilst it’s amazing that such a long cable might live by me, this cable would only carry light – and not the amazing amount of power described in this article.


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