Authors: ESPINOSA C, VO D, GEORGE JM
Title: Overhead line insulators in operating constraints under severely polluted conditions : the benefits of silicone coated glass insulators and their application at the PG&E diablo canyon nuclear power plant.
Presented at: 2022 CIGRE PARIS, 28 aug. – 02 sept 2022, Paris
Over the years, power utilities have had three options to insulate their power lines: porcelain, glass, or polymer insulators. We now see coated ceramic overhead line insulators as a fourth option of choice from a design stage combining the benefits of greater resiliency with enhanced performance in high pollution environments without washing. The rapid growth of silicone coatings has led several standardization bodies to start looking into this technology with the objective of setting guidelines in material selection, application methods, screening properties towards ageing, etc. Among the recent work CIGRE TB 837 constitutes a good reference document. A review of the key elements under consideration is given in this paper.
To illustrate the performance of silicone coated insulators, we look to the California coast where Pacific Gas & Electric shares their experience from their nuclear facility at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) located on the shore of Avila Beach, CA. Nuclear power generation requires cooling water, so it is common to position these plants on the coast where there is an abundance of sea water. However, the coastal environment requires the infrastructure to be more robust, and able to operate under corrosive and contaminated conditions. The same is true for the power lines connecting the generation station to the grid. The presence of coastal salt fog creates a major stress on the insulators. Surface pollution, such as salt deposits, together with periods of moist salt fog can lead to surface discharges and potentially flashovers.
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