Challenges of Underground Transmission and Distribution

by David W. Gilman, Operating Mgr.; Northern Div., Commonwealth Edison Co., Northbrook, IL,
Edward J. Steeve, General Design Engr.; Trasmission Engrg. Dept., Commonwealth Edison Co., Maywood, IL,

Serial Information: Journal of the Power Division, 1971, Vol. 97, Issue 1, Pg. 151-157

Document Type: Journal Paper


The demand is rapidly increasing for a reliable and inexpensive means to transmit electrical power via underground systems. The challenges of underground cable involve the basic problems of capacity, security, and economics. The engineering parameters are design, materials, manufacturing processes, construction methods, operating systems, and costs. Currently, the only place where underground costs approach overhead is in new residential subdivisions. In the area of bulk power transmission neither the present designs nor materials employed offer hope of significant improvement in either cost or reliability at the increased capacities indicated to be necessary for future electric system demands. Research indicates new dielectric materials and forced cooling systems can increase capacities above present limitations at an attractive incremental cost.

Subject Headings: Cables | Electrical systems | Power transmission | System reliability | Power demand | Construction materials | Materials processing | Construction methods

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