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High-Performance Powerline Wires Alleviate South Africa’s Energy Crisis



South Africa's Energy Crisis

High-performance powerline wires alleviate South Africa’s energy crisis and drive renewable energy growth by enhancing transmission and distribution networks as reported by ESI Africa.

Around twenty years ago, CTC Global Corporation, a small California-based company, introduced the groundbreaking ACCC Conductor powerline wire. Recognised as the world’s first and most extensively proven Advanced Conductor, it has been deployed in over 1,100 transmission line projects across 65 countries. The ACCC Conductor, known for its High-Temperature Low Sag (HTLS) capabilities, significantly improves the efficiency, capacity, reliability, and resilience of electric power grids, fostering economic development and positively impacting the lives of millions.

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The ACCC Conductor’s global implementation has a remarkable track record of enhancing the capacity and efficiency of constrained power grids. In Bangladesh, for instance, it has effectively doubled the country’s existing power grid capacity, connecting major new generation projects cost-effectively through upgraded transmission lines composed of ACCC Conductor. These investments, supported by international development banks, ensure more reliable power delivery while reducing utility and consumer costs.

The enhanced efficiency of the ACCC Conductor offers rapid returns on investment and long-lasting benefits. Compared to conventional steel-reinforced ACSR conductors, the ACCC Conductor can carry twice as much power while reducing electrical line losses by approximately 30%. In other words, its improved efficiency pays for itself within months, offering a lifetime of advantages and representing a wise investment.


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By reducing line losses, the ACCC Conductor curbs fuel consumption, energy costs, and greenhouse gas emissions from conventional fossil-fired generation resources and frees up wasted generation capacity. For new renewable generation resources, reduced line losses enable more power delivery, ultimately improving project economics for developers and consumers.

The ACCC Conductor’s higher capacity and superior technology contribute to future-proofing the grid. Unlike conventional steel-reinforced ACSR conductors, which often require replacement due to capacity limitations and ageing in corrosive environments, the ACCC Conductor employs an aerospace-derived hybrid carbon fibre core immune to corrosion and cyclic load fatigue. Carbon fibre is twice as strong as steel and 70% lighter, so it is the ideal material for this application. The high-strength core’s lighter weight allows for adding more conductive aluminium to the ACCC Conductor without a weight penalty, preserving existing infrastructure and reducing tower retrofit costs. Moreover, the increased capacity accommodates load growth as regions prosper, demand rises, and new generation resources are connected.

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In South Africa, the ACCC Conductor is crucial in addressing the serious congestion in Eskom’s power grid, particularly in high-demand regions at 132kV and below. With limited opportunities for installing new corridors due to economic and load constraints, the most efficient approach is reconducting these congested areas with Advanced Conductors. The ACCC Conductor, being the most-proven conductor for this application, dramatically improves capacity and reliability through a cost-effective and time-efficient reconductoring process. By targeting the most congested lines first, this integrated plan enhances capacity, decongestion, and reliability right from the start.


Furthermore, the upcoming wave of new transmission corridors required to transport power from the Northern, Western, and Eastern Capes to the load centres in the north necessitates decongesting existing lines in the load zones. Failure to do so will constrain the utilisation of new renewable energy resources and curtail generation assets. Recognising the benefits of Advanced Conductors (HTLS), Eskom issued a Request for Information (RFI) on HTLS conductors, expediting the decongestion and capacity increase efforts. The installation practices for Advanced Conductors, including the ACCC Conductor, entail simple precautions to ensure proper handling and prevent damage beyond rated limits.

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Investing in training and technological advancements is vital to successfully implementing the ACCC Conductor. CTC Global has made substantial investments in teaching and maintaining safe field practices for installing the ACCC Conductor. Certified ACCC Master Installers are deployed to train and supervise crews on proper procedures and handling at the site. Additionally, CTC Global establishes and trains a Master Installer Organization within the country, enhancing local capabilities and enabling the effective use of the ACCC Conductor for future projects.

The advancement of the ACCC Conductor is complemented by the InfoCore System developed by CTC Global, which incorporates optical fibres within the conductor’s core. This system allows for continuous monitoring of the core’s integrity before, during, and after installation, enabling the identification and correction of any damage caused by mishandling.

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With the widespread availability of Advanced ACCC Conductors, adherence to correct handling practices, the presence of resident specialists, and a strong global usage history, utilities like Eskom can confidently apply these high-value conductors to swiftly address congestion issues and unlock the flow of new renewable power generation assets.

The ACCC Conductor’s core is manufactured by CTC Global to ASTM B-987-20 Standards and supplied to 35 CTC Global and ISO Certified ACCC Conductor manufacturing partners. These partners directly provide the ACCC Conductor to their regional clients.

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Photo: Facebook / @CTC Global

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