Dynamic Monitoring of Overhead Line Ratings

in Wind Intensive Areas

S Abdelkader
, S Abbott, J Fu,

B Fox
The Queen’s University of Belfast
D Flynn

University College Dublin
L McClean, L Bryans

Northern Ireland Electricity

§ School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, The Queen’s University of Belfast,
Ashby Building, Stranmillis Road, Belfast, N. Ireland, UK.
Tel: +44 28 9097 4142. Fax: +44 28 9066 7023. Email: s.abdelkader@qub.ac.uk
‡ Electricity Research Centre, School of Electrical, Electronic and Mechanical Engineering, University
College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin, Ireland.
Tel: +353 1716 1819. Fax: +353 1283 0534. Email: damian.flynn@ucd.ie
Northern Ireland Electricity, Fortwilliam House, Edgewater Road, Belfast, N. Ireland, UK.
Tel: +44 28 9066 1100. Email: leslie.bryans@nie.co.uk


Against a background of government targets incentivising increased generation from renewable sources,
wind farms are typically located in remote parts of the electrical network, restricting the wind farm
capacity which can be connected. A long-term solution is upgrading of the distribution and transmission
network. In the shorter term, if real-time, dynamic line ratings can replace existing static ones, more wind
generation can be accommodated. A practical investigation has been completed for a 110 kV line in the
N. Ireland network, involving a 1 year data monitoring programme. Both physical (CIGRE) and statistical
(PLS) models have been developed, confirming the significant potential for dynamic uprating of individual
lines, and its extension across a network. Implementation of a dynamic line rating programme for both
real-time operations and long-term planning is now under development.

Keywords: Dynamic line rating, power system operation, network planning

1 Introduction

Wind farms are typically located in remote parts of the electrical network and various limits, e.g. voltage
rise, thermal and fault level, may limit the wind farm capacity which can be attached locally. A long-term
solution is upgrading of the distribution and sub-transmission network, but in addition to the cost
implications of installing new network, the difficulties in obtaining planning permission cannot be
underestimated. The consequence is that network capacity will almost certainly lag wind farm expansion.
Wind curtailment strategies, particularly during periods of high wind and local low demand, offer a
solution, but at the expense of lost energy. Taking the island of Ireland as an example, a recent study
involving the governments of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and the utilities in both
countries, concluded that high renewable energy targets for 2020 were feasible [1]. In particular, a
scenario requiring 42% energy penetration from renewables, mainly wind generation, is being evaluated.
For this level of capacity to be installed, however, it is estimated that 845 km of new or uprated backbone
transmission network is required on the island, with 200 km installed in N. Ireland.

Overhead line ratings are typically determined for seasonal conditions, representing variations in the
average ambient temperature. For example, Engineering Recommendation P27 [2], published by the UK
Energy Network Association, assumes average ambient temperatures of 2 ºC, 9 ºC and 20 ºC,
corresponding to winter, spring / autumn and summer ratings. It is also assumed that limited cooling is
provided by wind (typically 0.5 m/s wind speed), and that solar gains can be ignored. The ratings are
static and conservative, although it is possible that the line ratings can be exceeded in low wind
conditions. In conjunction with most distribution network operators in the UK, Northern Ireland Electricity
utilises the P27 recommendation to set line ratings.

In fact, the line rating depends on the permissible conductor mid-span sag (and the minimal clearance in
adverse conditions) or the maximum sustainable conductor temperature. Both factors will be affected by
changes in weather conditions, e.g. instantaneous wind speed and direction, solar radiation, humidity and
precipitation, suggesting that the line rating should be a dynamic, rather than static, quantity. Dynamic
line ratings can be obtained using a variety of methods [3]: conductor sag and tension monitoring,
vibration mode analysis, conductor temperature and local weather data. For sag and tension monitoring,
fairly accurate estimates of the conductor temperature can be obtained using sag monitors placed on the
ground or load cells located on the grounded-side of a dead-end insulator string [4]. If the ambient
temperature, solar radiation and line current are known, then the effective wind cooling can be estimated
and a line rating determined. Monitoring equipment is, however, required for each line section. Vibration
monitoring operates on similar principles to sag / tension monitoring, whereby the frequency of vibration
depends on the conductor length [5]. Alternatively, the surface conductor temperature can be directly
measured using thermocouples at a number of locations, from which the average conductor temperature
can be estimated, and hence the conductor sag / tension. Finally, if weather conditions are monitored
and the line current is known, then the conductor temperature can again be calculated [6, 7].

For the work considered here a hybrid approach has been adopted, whereby the conductor temperature
and weather data are both recorded at a number of sites. Such a strategy allows the potential benefits of
dynamic line ratings to be clearly understood, and given that any increase in line rating will mainly be
exploited by nearby wind farms, it also enables the correlation between wind farm output and line cooling
to be investigated. So, if enhanced ratings can then be considered during high wind conditions, more
wind generation can be safely accommodated on to the existing network, delaying any requirement for
network expansion. Of course, when the network is later expanded, the enhanced ratings can again be
applied. Hence, the dynamic line rating programme is considered here as a real-time operational tool, but
also as a planning tool for the sizing of future wind farm connections.

2 Monitoring Programme

In order to assess the practical feasibility of a dynamic line rating scheme, monitoring equipment has
been placed on a particular 110 kV line in the Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) transmission network,
which is anticipated to be a limiting factor in increasing nearby wind capacity. ACSR conductors are
employed for both the A and B circuits of the line, and the conductors are mainly placed on wooden
poles. It should also be noted that, since Northern Ireland has a substantial length of coastline, all
overhead line conductors are fully greased to mitigate salt corrosion. Under normal conditions the line is
not heavily loaded, but load flow studies confirm that this situation changes following specific network
outages. In addition, the average loading of the line is expected to increase significantly as further wind
farms are connected in the neighbouring area [8]. At present, the thermal limits of the network are
restricting the additional wind generation which can be attached to the network.

For each circuit wind levels were mapped along the length of the line. This was achieved by examining
terrain maps for the area, and utilising wind models normally used by wind developers to determine the
potential yield from new wind farms in a selected location. Low wind speed areas were mainly chosen as
monitoring locations, since these sheltered sites will tend to limit the maximum current that the entire line
can carry. In addition, however, a variety of sites were chosen, including medium and high wind speed
areas, A and B circuits close together, high terrain, nearby rivers and urban areas, etc. in order to obtain
a better understanding of the impact factors. Having initially identified a number of potential monitoring
locations, individual site surveys were carried out to confirm ease of access, GPRS reception for data
transmission, solar intensity for monitoring equipment charging, etc. In total, 20 sites were chosen, 10 on
the A circuit and 10 on the B circuit.

The monitoring equipment itself consists of 3 line-mounted units (one per phase) which measure both the
conductor current and the conductor surface temperature. Each unit is self-powered by a split ring current
transformer with an additional backup power arrangement. The measured data from each line unit are
sent using an ISM (industrial, scientific and medical) band radio signal to a data collection and
transmission unit (Tnet) mounted on the pole or tower at each location, Figure 1. Tnet is solar powered,
with a 30 W array and sufficient battery storage for approximately 3 weeks. A weather station is also
mounted on the support structure, at around conductor height, and measurements are taken of wind
speed, wind direction, ambient temperature and global solar radiation. Precipitation can also be recorded
at each site, but this is not currently activated. An RS232 cable links the weather station to the Tnet
facility, where in combination with the line data, all measurements are GPS time stamped to provide
synchronised data across all sites. Initially all measurements were recorded at 5 minute intervals, but
subsequently this was reduced to a 1 minute interval at particular monitored poles. A daily GPRS data
burst is then sent to a remote server for storage and analysis.

Figure 1: Line rating measurement system

Figure 2: Wind-induced conductor cooling

2.1 Equipment validation
As part of the commissioning process for the monitoring equipment a number of investigative studies
have been completed. The line current data was compared with the line transducers supplying the
system operations energy management system (EMS). A good agreement of ±1% error was obtained.
The weather station is a standalone commercial product and was assumed to operate within
specification. However in order to validate the conductor temperature measurement a test rig was
established, and the measured values were compared with standard thermocouples.

In addition, a short line section was placed in a low wind speed tunnel, and conductor temperature was
recorded on the windward and leeward sides and at the conductor core. The objectives of the
experiments were to better understand the radial variation in conductor temperature at various wind
speeds, and to assess the effect of shadowing by a line-mounted unit on the conductor temperature.
Figure 2 illustrates the variation in conductor core temperature when a current of 550 A is applied at time
zero to the conductor at wind speeds ranging from 0 to 15 m/s, with the conductor axis perpendicular to
the wind direction.

As expected the results confirm that forced convection at high wind speeds significantly reduces the
steady-state conductor temperature from ≈95 ºC under no wind conditions to ≈28 ºC at 15 m/s wind
speed. The steady-state variation in conductor temperature with respect to wind speed is roughly
exponential. It can also be seen that the thermal time constant of the line varies from ≈14 minutes at 0
m/s wind speed to 1-2 minutes at much higher wind speeds. The time constant of the conductor surface
temperature was similar, although the steady-state surface temperature could be several degrees lower
than the core temperature, depending on the current. The presented results offer some guidance on the
Web server
ISM radio
potential benefits of dynamic line rating, particularly at high wind speeds, but while the air stream in a
wind tunnel is laminar and without gusts, real-world conditions offer turbulent airflows and potentially
rapid variations in wind speed and direction.

In order to evaluate the potential benefits of dynamic line ratings, the monitored data has been compared
against the P27 recommendation guidelines. Figure 3 plots the daily minimum and maximum ambient
temperature for the period February 2008 – J anuary 2009 for all weather station locations. For this
particular year it can be seen that the temperature is generally above the P27 threshold in winter
(February), but for the remainder of the year (particularly the summer period) the P27 threshold is
exceeded less often. Considering all monitored poles, and adopting temperature measurements taken at
5 minute intervals, the P27 threshold is exceeded at any one pole 94% of the time during February, while
equivalent figures for April, J uly, October and December are 53%, 6%, 50% and 92%. Hence, although
there are significant periods when the line rating could be safely increased, there are also periods when
the existing static rating has increased the operational risk.

Figure 3: Ambient temperature variation
-10 -5 0 2 5 10 15 20
Ambient temperature (°C)



Figure 4: Wind speed / temperature variation

The ambient temperature is only one factor in determining the static conductor rating. Figure 4 plots the
variation in ambient temperature versus wind speed for all monitored poles during February 2008. The
P27 temperature and wind speed thresholds are highlighted. Now, both thresholds are violated only 22%
of the time during the month, since it can be argued that the periods of both high ambient temperature
and high wind speed are of reduced concern. For the months of April, J uly, October and December both
limits are crossed 9%, 0.4%, 0.3% and 26% of the time. It should be noted, however, that there can be
considerable variability in exceedance periods between individual pole locations.

3. Line temperature modelling

Two contrasting strategies have been investigated to model and predict overhead line performance. Line
rating methodologies have been developed by IEEE [6] and CIGRE [7], amongst a number of bodies,
based upon physical modelling of cooling and heating mechanisms for an overhead line subject to
variations in wind speed, solar radiation, etc. Alternatively, data-driven, statistical models can be
developed whereby a predictive model of conductor temperature is identified from data sample pairs of
conductor temperature and current weather conditions. Here, the CIGRE model has been selected as an
example of a physical model, and partial least squares has been selected as a convenient statistical
modelling approach. The CIGRE physical model has been preferred over the IEEE model as the
temperature variation of field data from the NIE power system can lie beyond the lower range of validity
for the IEEE model.

3.1 CIGRE model
CIGRE has developed a line rating methodology incorporating weather data to obtain the conductor
temperature. The standard formula is intended for steady-state conditions, including various
assumptions, but can be modified for transient / dynamic performance. A number of factors affect
conductor temperature including heat generated from ohmic and magnetic losses, and heat loss through
radiation and convection. Furthermore, weather conditions such as wind speed and direction, ambient
temperature, solar radiation, humidity and precipitation will also significantly affect conductor cooling.

Subsequently, steady-sate (1) and transient (2) heat balance equations can be written for an overhead
line conductor length:

w r c i S M J
P P P P P P P + + = + + + (1)
mc P P P P P P
r c i S M J
+ + = + + +

where represents joule heating, , magnetic heating, , solar heating, , corona heating, ,
convective cooling, , radiant cooling, and , evaporative cooling. represents the conductor mass,
its specific heat capacity and the mean conductor temperature.
P m

It should be noted that although the CIGRE method discusses the evaporative cooling, corona loss and
magnetic heating mechanisms, the listed terms are not subsequently utilised in the calculation of
conductor ampacity.

The dominant heating mechanism for a current carrying conductor is joule heating, and it is assumed that
the conductor resistance depends upon both the conductor temperature and the system frequency (skin
effect). For a steel-cored conductor the assumed magnetic losses are lumped together with the skin
effect term. Solar heating, in the form of direct radiation, reflected radiation and defuse radiation, can also
have a significant effect on the conductor temperature. However, this term is not straightforward to
calculate as the solar heating will depend on the sun’s inclination, its solar altitude, atmospheric turbidity
and the angle of inclination of the solar beam with respect to the conductor axis. Perturbations in the
earth’s rotation can also have an impact. Using engineering judgement an albedo value, accounting for
reflections from the earth’s surface, should be selected based on the topology of the neighbouring land.
In addition, the absorptivity of the conductor surface will depend on the age of the conductor and its
operating voltage, the temperature of the conductor, the wavelength of the incident radiation and the
local air quality [9].

Radiation heat loss from the conductor can be measured by its emissivity, which will be a function of the
conductor dimensions and its temperature, atmospheric clarity and the altitude of the overhead line [10].
It is suggested in [6] that new, stranded aluminium conductors have emissivity and absorptivity values of
≈0.2, while older, weathered conductors may have values of ≈0.9. In practice, empirical judgments are
normally made for a particular line section, considering the environment the line traverses (proximity to
the sea and/or urban areas) and the age and maintenance history of the conductor. Evaporative cooling
is not included in the CIGRE calculation, on the basis that cooling is not significantly affected in the
presence of water vapour in the surrounding air, unless the conductor becomes wetted [11].

Convective heat transfer depends on the conductor roughness, including the effect of stranded
conductors, and the latitude of the overhead line. It is assumed that the wind speed is constant and non-
turbulent. While at high wind speeds forced convective cooling will dominate, depending on the wind
direction, at low wind speeds (< 0.5 m/s) the CIGRE method suggests that convective cooling is
determined from the largest of three values: forced convection loss with a wind angle of 45º, forced
convection using a corrected Nusselt number and natural convection.

Subsequently, for given weather conditions and current flowing through the line, the conductor
temperature can be estimated. However, since conductor resistance, convective cooling, radiant cooling,
etc. are all functions of the conductor temperature it follows that the calculation must be performed in an
iterative manner. Alternatively, for a given maximum conductor temperature the corresponding conductor
current can be determined. The CIGRE method notes that the radial temperature distribution is important,
since the conductor resistance depends on the average conductor temperature, while the conductor sag
will be a function of the core temperature. For ampacity calculations it is conveniently assumed that the
average conductor temperature is equal to the surface temperature. The CIGRE model can also be
extended to create a transient, or non-steady-state, model in order to better represent short-term
variability in weather conditions and/or conductor loading. However, the conductor rating is normally
based on steady-state conditions.

3.2 Partial least squares model
Comparison is made with a multivariate linear regression technique, partial least squares (PLS), which
explains the variation in a process that is most predictive of a quality variable [12]. PLS is an extension of
principal component analysis (PCA), and attempts to reduce the dimensionality of a data set by
introducing latent variables (principal components) to represent the system. Using linear regression, this
process is then enhanced to provide a relationship between the process variables and the product quality
variables. PLS requires two distinct blocks of data, an block, representing m samples of n
independent process variables, and a block, representing m samples of r dependent product quality
measurements, which may not be measured as frequently as the block. So, if and represent the
score vectors for the and blocks, and P and Q are the associated loadings (contribution of each
variable to a particular principal component), then

F UQ Y E TP X + = + =

with the residual matrices and sufficiently small. A linear relationship, , can be defined
between the score vectors of the and block, namely and , where B is a diagonal matrix.
However, the resulting model is non-optimal since the principal components for each block are
determined independently. If the vector scores for each block are interchanged, however, so that slightly
rotated principal components are obtained, then
E F BT U =

F Q U Y E TP X + = + =

where is the estimate of the score , based on . Having obtained the PLS model the required
number of principal components remains to be determined. The objective is to select sufficient principal
components to explain the majority of variance that is most predictive of the variables, potentially
based upon cross-validation or the unreconstructed variance of the data. Ultimately, considering a
system with a single quality variable y, as an example, a model of the form

n n
x a x a x a a y + + + + = K
2 2 1 1 0

is obtained, where represent the independent process variables, while the coefficients are
determined as part of the PLS process, based upon the calculated loading vectors, T and U. The
model can be characterised as being both linear and static (or steady-state). Non-linear and dynamic
extensions of the PLS approach have been developed [13, 14], but, as described later, application
knowledge can instead be directly incorporated into the linear model structure to better represent process

For the application considered here, a single product quality variable, y, has been defined, namely
conductor temperature. The independent process variables, , are selected from signals recorded
during the line monitoring programme, namely: ambient temperature, solar radiation, conductor current
and average wind speed and direction. It is known, for example, that conductor heating will depend on
the current squared, rather than current, and so the former term only is included as an input data
variable. The experimental studies of a short line section in a wind tunnel, Figure 2, also suggest an
exponential relationship between wind speed and conductor temperature. Finally, the thermal time
constant of an overhead line suggests that conductor temperature at time t is also a function of recent
weather and current variability - a dynamic or transient model. Time lagged variables can be incorporated
in the matrix to create a dynamic model structure. Subsequently, a model structure of the form
( )
11 , 10 , 9 8 , 7 , 6
5 , 4 3
2 1 0
) 2 , 1 , ( * ) 2 , 1 , ( *
)) 1 , ( sin( * ) 1 , ( * ) ( * exp *
) ( * ) ( * ) (
− − + − − +
− − + − +
+ + =
t t t current conductor a t t t radiation solar a
t t angle wind t t speed wind a t speed wind b a
t speed wind a t e temperatur ambient a a t e temperatur conductor

is proposed, with coefficients determined from PLS model identification, while the parameters b and c
are obtained from the wind tunnel experiments. A sampling period of 5 minutes was selected, such that
the operating horizon of the model is ≈15 minutes, similar to the time constant of the line in low wind
conditions. Conceptually, the model structure is similar to the CIGRE and IEEE expanded model forms.

4. CIGRE / PLS comparison

Adopting the CIGRE model structure, a physical model has been developed for the ACSR Lynx
conductors employed on the 110 kV NIE network. Engineering judgement has been employed to select
the absorptivity, emissivity, etc. constants required for the model. For the statistical PLS approach,
representative data from the line monitoring programme have been selected, encompassing the
observed variation in ambient temperature, solar radiation, conductor current, etc., to identify the
unknown parameters. The ability of both models to predict the conductor temperature from known
weather data and conductor current measurements is considered for 2 periods, 12-14 March 2008 and 7-
10 November 2008. Considering first the March period, it can be seen in Figure 5 that both the CIGRE
and PLS models provide acceptable predictions of the conductor temperature. The mean absolute error
and the standard deviation of the error for the CIGRE model are 0.93 °C and 0.85 °C, while the
equivalent figures for the PLS model are 0.60 °C and 0.50 °C. It is noticeable that the error for the CIGRE
model tends to be higher during the daylight hours, suggesting that the solar radiation term could be
better represented. However, it can also be seen that both models capture the oscillatory conductor
temperature variations during the day, as passing cloud cover reduces the incident solar radiation. For
the particular pole shown, the wind speed varies between 1 - 17 m/s, providing continuous conductor
cooling (above the 0.5 m/s threshold). The current mainly varies between 3 - 140 A for the test period,
against a nominal rating for the line of 623 A during spring. However, at 5.45 am on 13 March a nearby
line outage caused the current to increase on the line from ≈110 A to a peak value of 346 A. The
underlying network fault was cleared almost 2½ hours later. This period represents the peak circuit
loading since the monitoring programme began. It can be seen that the conductor temperature rises
slightly at this time (approximately 3 ºC), with the dynamic PLS model capturing the variation in the
conductor temperature more accurately than the steady-state CIGRE model.

00:00 12:00 00:00 12:00 00:00 12:00
Time (hr)



Measured temperature
CIGRE temperature
PLS temperature

Figure 5: CIGRE / PLS temperature, March
00:00 12:00 00:00 12:00 00:00 12:00
Time (hr)



PLS temperature
CIGRE temperature
Measured temperature

Figure 6: CIGRE / PLS temperature, November

For the November test period, Figure 6, the average ambient temperature is slightly higher (5.3 ºC versus
4.3 ºC), with the conductor loading comparatively high (2 - 196 A), and the average wind speed at the
monitored location slightly lower (0 - 15 m/s). Again, the mean absolute error and standard deviation of
the error for the CIGRE model are 0.90 °C and 0.79 °C, while the equivalent figures for the PLS model
are 0.77 °C and 0.60 °C. Having demonstrated the ability of both models to satisfactorily predict the
conductor temperature from known weather and current data, it then remains to reverse both models to
estimate the current rating for the given weather conditions. Selecting the period 5-7 March as an
example, and assuming a maximum conductor temperature of 75 ºC, Figure 7 compares the CIGRE and
PLS predictions against the static rating of 623 A for the spring period. As discussed in Section 1, the
static P27 rating assumes an average wind speed of 0.5 m/s, zero solar radiation and an ambient
temperature of 9 ºC. In comparison with the general weather conditions at the time, both the CIGRE and
PLS models suggest that the line rating can be significantly increased. The dynamic line rating will tend
to be higher at night, when ambient temperatures are lower and solar heating can be discounted,
although wind speeds also tend to be lower. The CIGRE model suggests an average exceedance of the
static rating of 135% relative to the line’s nominal rating for the considered period. The comparative figure
for the PLS model is 110%. It is particularly noticeable, however, that the CIGRE rating is much more
variable than the PLS rating. The CIGRE model is a static model such that the rating is calculated based
on current conditions, while the PLS model is dynamic in nature which introduces a smoothing function
into the prediction. Within the German system it has been suggested that the maximum current rating
should be limited to 50% above the static rating, in order that substation and protection equipment can be
suitably sized [15].

When evaluating these dynamic line rating results it should also be borne in mind that the PLS model has
been trained using only the available data, and it has been recognised that the line is lightly loaded at
present. Consequently, an estimation of the line rating requires an extrapolation of previously observed
data – never an advisable option. Of course, over time as the line loading increases, the PLS model
parameters can be recalculated, such that an estimation of the conductor rating is more confidently

00:00 12:00 00:00 12:00 00:00 12:00
Time (hr)


CIGRE model
PLS model

Figure 7: Conductor dynamic current rating

4.1 Critical span determination
Having obtained an estimate of the maximum permitted current at a particular site, the process needs to
be repeated for all monitored locations. The pole at which the lowest current rating is determined
becomes the critical span for the present weather conditions, and indicates the current limit at that time.
Although the ambient temperature and solar radiation may be relatively uniform along a line section, the
wind speed, and in particular the wind direction, can vary considerably along the line length, depending
on the local topography and the varying lie of the line itself. Consequently, the critical span tends not to
be fixed, but instead will switch location with variation in weather conditions. However, analysis of
existing data from the A and B circuits suggests that particular locations are more likely than others to be
the critical span. A work programme is underway, therefore, to increase the conductor height at these
specific locations, in order to access higher wind speeds and so increase conductor cooling.

Two additional factors need to be considered when identifying the critical span. Firstly, the conductor
current limit may not depend on the maximum conductor temperature, but may instead be restricted by
the conductor mid-span sag at a particular location. This issue is under investigation, although it is not
believed to be significant. Secondly, and more importantly, there is concern that the critical span, at a
particular time, may not actually be monitored. One solution suggests that the weather data is
interpolated between the 20 weather stations, and that the maximum current is estimated at each pole –
the computational burden is likely to be significant, while the validity of interpolating weather data is
dubious. Instead, a virtual pole is defined between existing weather stations, assuming the most
conservative weather conditions, i.e. low wind speed, low wind angle, high solar radiation. Not
surprisingly, the virtual poles tend to dominate as the critical span, although the real-time line rating is not
significantly affected. A further approach is also under investigation incorporating wind speed up factors -
using wind farm planning programs, the wind speed can be estimated at a particular location and height
(normally the hub height of proposed wind turbines) based on the airflow over the surrounding
environment. The same approach was used to identify low wind speed areas (and potential monitoring
locations) along the line length.

5. Conclusions

Within the N. Ireland network, a line monitoring programme has been initiated to investigate the potential
of dynamic, weather dependent overhead line ratings. A particular 110 kV line has been chosen which
during network outages, and against a background of increased wind penetration, is increasingly likely to
experience high current loadings. Weather data, conductor current and conductor temperature have been
recorded at 20 locations on the A and B circuits. Subsequently, a physical CIGRE model and statistical
PLS model have been developed to predict the conductor temperature from available weather data, and
hence estimate a rating for the line at that particular time. Both strategies are seen to be effective,
although the PLS approach has the advantage of being tailored directly to the actual line conditions,
while not requiring engineering judgement to the same extent. Consequently, for the PLS approach
distinct models can be developed for individual poles reflecting local differences in pollution levels,
laminarity of air flow or the age of the line section and its associated absorptivity, emissivity, etc. Further
analysis is required to determine whether the increased computation is balanced by improved model

Using both the CIGRE and PLS models it has been seen that existing static line rating methods are often
unduly conservative. However, it should also be mentioned that even if an overhead line is believed
capable of operating safely above its nominal steady-state limit, other factors can come into play. If the
line rating is increased, then the ability of circuit breakers, transformers, etc., forming part of the circuit, to
operate at the higher current levels will also need to be reviewed. The likelihood of joint hotspots must
also be considered. Operation of the network under outage conditions needs to be evaluated, and
protection settings may require adjustment. Building upon the work completed so far a practical
implementation of the scheme in wind-intensive areas is currently being developed beyond the original
line study. This is seen as a valuable opportunity to evaluate progress so far, and to ask a number of
wide-ranging questions: how many line locations should be monitored? is there a balance to be achieved
between measurement accuracy and equipment cost? can the maximum permissible conductor
temperature be raised? if the weather dependent line rating can be increased, what other network and
transient limits must also be considered? how should a dynamic line rating scheme affect unit dispatch?

It is believed that a 10-20% increase in line rating is achievable for the circuits studied in the most
sheltered locations, while recognising the P27 regulation, but considering the combination of a wind-
related rating, high wind farm output, low load and one circuit out of service. In the low wind speed areas
some network rebuilding is also planned, consisting of reconductoring and raising of poles – it is
anticipated that this will enable the summer minimum rating to be raised by 26% for the entire line. This is
the planned rating, but for most of the time it could be possible to exceed this rating significantly -
weather predictions, probably up to 1 hour ahead, would be required.


The authors wish to acknowledge financial support provided by the Department of Communications,
Energy and Natural Resources, Ireland under the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation
(2006-2013). The authors also wish to thank the many experts that have contributed specialised
knowledge to the project, and also to the other project partners RES, Airtricity and FMC Tech for their


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