The Physics
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Length of High Voltage Power Transmission Lines

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Serway, Raymon. Faughn, Jerry S. College Physics. Sixth Edition. Pacific Grove, CA. Brooks/Cole-Thomson Learning. 2003: 551. "A high voltage transmission line with a resistance of 0.31 Ω/km carries a current of 1,000 A. The line is at a potential of 700 kV at a power station and carries the current to a city located 160 km from the power station." 160 km
SDG&E plans an east-west power line. Craig D. Rose. 1 September 2005. "The new line would extend about 120 miles-its exact route remains undetermined- and could carry 1,000 megawatts, enough to power about 6500,000 homes, SDG&E said." 190 km
Inga-Shaba-the longest transmission line in the world. ABB. 7 December 2004. "The longest electric power transmission in the world, 1700 km, transmits power from the Inga Falls in the Congo river to the copper mining district of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)." 1700 km
NM lacks lines to harness wind power. Dennis Domrzalski. New Mexico Business Weekly. 14 June 2002. "And the last time PNM tried to build a 26 to 52 mile long high voltage line in northern New Mexico in the late 1980s, environmentalists, Native Americans tribes and other opponents killed the project." 42-84 km

High voltage transmission lines have become one of the most important ways of supplying energy to major cities as well as other large residential areas. They are extremely important with the growing human population and the growing demand for electrical energy.

The lines of high-voltage transmission systems are usually composed of wires of copper, aluminum, or copper-clad or aluminum-clad steel, which are suspended from tall latticework towers of steel by strings of porcelain or glass insulators. By the use of clad steel wires and high towers, the distance between towers can be increased, and the cost of the transmission lines thus reduced. In modern installations with essentially straight paths, high-voltage lines may by built with as few as six towers to the kilometer. In some areas high-voltage lines are suspended from tall wooden poles spaced more closely together.

Power lines are connected to large generators that can produce up to 200 MW of power and produce voltages up to about 750 kV in these power lines. The currents created in these lines range all the way up to about 1000 amperes.

These lines stretch vast distance from the generator before reaching any populated areas. The power lines can stretch anywhere from about 85 kilometers to about 190 kilometers with shorter sections of power grids in the 20-50 kilometer range. The longest high voltage transmission power line the world begins in the Inga Falls in the Congo River to the district of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This is the same distance as from London to Athens! It stretches an outstanding 1700 kilometers with a DC voltage of ± 500 kV and a power rating of about 560 MW.

Matthew Kent -- 2006