Spacer Cable and Tree Wire Issues in Environments Containing Airborne Contaminants

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Covered Conductor Systems (Spacer Cable and Tree wire) have been installed in a variety of environments over the last 70 years. It has been used to great advantage in numerous applications on seven continents and in over sixty countries. It is in the last 20+ years, however, that spacer cable usage has expanded to so-called “contaminated environments” and climates more severe than were originally anticipated. In certain cases, this has led to system failures.

The purpose of this paper is to categorize contaminants and the environments in which they arise, to review spacer cable performance in such environments, and to analyze lessons learned. Ultimately, the objective of this analysis was to create a design blueprint for the specification of aerial covered conductor systems and system components, along with preventative maintenance requirements, which will withstand these various contaminated environment challenges.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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