How do you harden your power grid against costly downtime?
Hardening your power grid against the spread of outages can be as simple as selecting the right conductor.
Make sure you select ground conductors designed, tested and built to last. An ideal ground conductor reduces the frequency of outages by meeting the engineering demand and remaining ready for action after years of exposure to the elements, including the human element.
Down-pole ground wire like Copperweld® Century 7 x 068 has helped protect areas of the power grid for over 100 years. No other component within your power grid has a more profound effect on the longevity of your equipment and your network uptime than your grounding equipment.
Electricity is the life-blood of our society. Yet in some parts of the power grid, the protective ground circuit is missing — greatly increasing vulnerability to ground faults and measurable downtime.
Line-to-ground faults represent about 70% of the faults on the power grid. (For example, if a tree falls on the power lines by your house, this is a line-to-ground fault.) During a line-to-ground fault, the ground circuit works in concert with the 3-phase smart grid. The fault current — 1,000 amps (1kA) or higher — will find a path into the earth until a smart grid interrupter breaks the 3-phase circuit upstream. On average, digital relays trip the fault in about 100 ms. But until then, the protective ground circuit, which has branches down almost every pole, carries the fault into ground via the path of least resistance, literally.
If the protective ground circuit is missing, then the fault may enter upstream critical assets, or worse, the outage may propagate.
Problems with a copper-only power grid:
Weakness – Soft-drawn copper becomes brittle from vibrating in the wind and eventually breaks.
Fatigue– Copper wire loosens under a connector that has been over-tightened or conducted over-currents.
Theft– Copper on the pole is attractive to thieves who can make money recycling it.
Breakage– Copper wire in the ground is susceptible to breaking from seasonal ground movement.
Copperweld Century Grid®
Harden your area of the power grid with the strength of welded steel. Copperweld® steel core ground solutions are twice as resilient in the wind or when ice accumulates. Similarly, the steel core allows common bronze connectors to bite down harder for more reliable clamping. And when a thief realizes it’s not solid recyclable copper, it stops him dead in his tracks.
Century 7 x 068 grounds the same lightning and fault currents at the Distribution Pole as #6 AWG copper, but is more flexible than copper, and can be installed in a continuous run from the static line to the ground rod.
Century 19 no. 9 grounds the same fault currents at the Substation ground grid as 4/0 AWG copper, but is less likely to break when the ground freezes, and that means it reduces risk of step-and-touch potential rise to linemen.
Why use Copperweld Century Grid?
Best of both worlds
When common ETP copper is exposed to oxygen, it corrodes by means of oxidation. The more oxygen, the more corrosion.
Our carefully engineered products offer the best of both worlds: the strength of steel and the electrical properties of copper. One of the secrets to welding copper to steel is using the purest copper, called 99.999 percent oxygen-free OF copper. And because the process demands the OF copper, our solutions are more resistant to the elements than common ETP copper.
For over 100 years, Copperweld® bimetallic solutions have protected the power grid in grounding applications.
Copperweld grounding wire is a highly reliable bi-metallic conductor that takes advantage of the ‘skin effect’ of copper and the strength of steel for superior performance during a ground fault.
Is copper theft an issue in your area? Copperweld’s solid steel core and unextractable, unscrappable copper skin have zero street value — making it unattractive to copper thieves.
Shield wire connectors are susceptible to wind sway which vibrates, fatigues and breaks wire during storms. Copperweld products provide greater strength and 2x the fatigue-resistance of plain copper.
Prepared for all the elements — including the ‘human’ element
Copper ground wire is a common target of theft; Copperweld® solutions are not.
Theft of copper dramatically increased in 2006 with a surge in its price. Since then, the magnitude of copper theft has been reduced as the result of a sustained effort. But in 2010, the US Department of Energy Office of Energy Reliability determined that the top target for copper theft remains the easily accessible area of the protective ground circuit found on the utility poles.
Copperweld Power Grid Ground Solutions
Ready to change out your copper with superior ground conductor solutions? We’ve got you covered.
Ready to build your Century Grid?
Whether you have technical questions or would like to discuss how to specify Century Grid® products to meet your grid design goals or requirements, we're here to help. Copperweld's sales team has over a century of experience protecting the most demanding power grid's from every challenge. We're not only proud of our products, we're proud of our people. We think our team is the best in the business!