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in Lesson 2 Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power an Overview by

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2.5 Transmission of power

The huge amount of power generated in a power station (hundreds of MW) is to be transported over a long distance (hundreds of kilometers) to load centers to cater power to consumers with the help of transmission line and transmission towers as shown in figure 2.5. 

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To give an idea, let us consider a generating station producing 120 MW power and we want to transmit it over a large distance. Let the voltage generated (line to line) at the alternator be 10 kV. Then to transmit 120 MW of power at 10 kV, current in the transmission line can be easily calculated by using power formula circuit (which you will learn in the lesson on A.C circuit analysis) for 3-phases follows: 

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Instead of choosing 10 kV transmission voltage, if transmission voltage were chosen to be 400 kV, current value in the line would have been only 261.5 A. So sectional area of the transmission line (copper conductor) will now be much smaller compared to 10 kV transmission voltage. In other words the cost of conductor will be greatly reduced if power is transmitted at higher and higher transmission voltage. The use of higher voltage (hence lower current in the line) reduces voltage drop in the line resistance and reactance. Also transmission losses is reduced. Standard transmission voltages used are 132 kV or 220 kV or 400 kV or 765 kV depending upon how long the transmission lines are. Therefore, after the generator we must have a step up transformer to change the generated voltage (say 10 kV) to desired transmission voltage (say 400 kV) before transmitting it over a long distance with the help of transmission lines supported at regular intervals by transmission towers. It should be noted that while magnitude of current decides the cost of copper, level of voltage decides the cost of insulators. The idea is, in a spree to reduce the cost of copper one can not indefinitely increase the level of transmission voltage as cost of insulators will offset the reduction copper cost. At the load centers voltage level should be brought down at suitable values for supplying different types of consumers. Consumers may be (1) big industries, such as steel plants, (2) medium and small industries and (3) offices and domestic consumers. Electricity is purchased by different consumers at different voltage level. For example big industries may purchase power at 132 kV, medium and big industries purchase power at 33 kV or 11 kV and domestic consumers at rather low voltage of 230V, single phase. Thus we see that 400 kV transmission voltage is to be brought down to different voltage levels before finally delivering power to different consumers. To do this we require obviously step down transformers.


Version 2 EE IIT, Kharagpur  

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