News

CapX2020: Getting It Right

Jul 21, 2016 By Gerald Chezik, Xcel Energy, and Aaron Boston, POWER Engineers
T&D World Magazine

Helicopters

Saving Xcel Energy time and money, Air2 speeds up the construction of high voltage transmission lines for CapX2020.

Even good weather sometimes presented problems for construction crews and schedules. As temperatures warmed and snow melted in the spring, for example, some project areas flooded and water saturated the ground. Soft soil could keep crews and their heavy trucks out of work areas for weeks and weeks. This would mean lost time.

Using helicopter crews provided a solution for meeting schedules and early completion, but it increased line construction costs. The utility used helicopters to string lead line for stringing conductor as well as to install conductor accessories such as line spacers. Helicopters also were used to shuttle linemen to conductor arms for conductor attachment work.

Balancing project schedules and costs between ground and helicopter line crews required a lot of studies on different types of tasks at different times of the year and at different costs. A great deal of effort went into intricate spreadsheets to estimate costs, including potential damage to crops, and to reduce the risk of delays. With these studies in hand, Xcel Energy was able to show contractors how best to divide work between helicopter and ground crews for projects in winter, spring, summer and fall.

Read the article in T&D World Magazine