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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute

Past Events

Find out about some of the previous events held by Durham Energy Institute:

DEI Visiting Seminar: Increasing Transmission Capacities with Dynamic Monitoring Systems

21st March 2012, 10:00 to 11:30, Board Room, Room 013, Arthur Holmes Building, Speaker: Jake P Gentle, Idaho National Laboratory, US


Due to the constrictions of conductor ampacity, power lines may only transmit limited magnitudes of current before they begin to overheat and sustain damage.  To mitigate this problem, research is being done to investigate the cooling effects of wind on a small network of power lines that exist in a corridor located along the Snake River plane in Idaho.  It is anticipated that the wind will dynamically improve conductor ampacity, allowing for the distribution of more power and the expansion of wind energy production without the costly installation of additional transmission lines. 

To study the wind and utilize its cooling effects on the conductors, climatology data analysis and wind model development was performed.  Weather stations were strategically deployed at various locations on transmission line structures for the purpose of periodically recording wind speed, wind direction, and ambient air temperature data.  The data was used in collaboration with a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) computer program.  The CFD software was employed for developing an elaborate wind model of the corridor that simulated the wind at numerous points along the transmission lines in conjunction with the climatology data.  Look-up tables were generated from the model and used in conjunction with the weather stations to project the speed and direction of the wind at hundreds of points along the transmission lines in the corridor. 

Work was then done to validate the look-up tables by temporarily instating a mobile weather station tower at a variety of corresponding locations.  The results of this research have provided a better understanding of the wind so that it may be completely and effectively utilized as a means of improving conductor ampacity.  The project has also helped identify areas of weakness where wind cooling is not sufficient and line upgrades will be needed.

 Statistical analyses of the wind patterns could reveal that the majority of effective wind occurs between the late morning and early evening hours, which correspond closely with typical peak load patterns.  After further model verification and improvements have been done, the results of this research will become very resourceful for providing power dispatch personnel with the capability of closely monitoring conductor ampacity and increasing power transmission as weather permits.



Jake P. Gentle received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Idaho State University (ISU), in 2008, and received his M.S. in Measurement and Controls Engineering from ISU in 2010. In 2009, he joined the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) as an intern in the Biofuels and Renewable Energy Technologies division as an electrical engineer, where he worked on concurrent cooling of transmission and distribution lines research and validation, and utilized the availability of WAsP and WindSim software packages for the analysis of wind data, wind atlas generation, wind climate estimation, wind farm power production calculations, and the siting of wind turbines. In June of 2010, Mr. Gentle was hired on as a full time electrical engineer at the INL and has been working on biomass, solar and wind electrical power systems design and integration projects.

Jake also has experience in wind data collection and analysis, wind energy feasibility studies, and wind farm layout and design.

The seminar is free and all are welcome to attend, but registration is essential.  To register, please email .

Contact for more information about this event.