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Edmonton pioneers the use of aluminum electric cable in oil pipelines

Tuesday, Jun 04, 2013

Edmonton became the North American pioneer in the commercial use of aluminum electric cable in an oil-filled pipeline.

The eight-km cable was laid from the power plant to the Woodcroft substation under construction at 118th Avenue and 142nd Street.

C.Z. Monaghan, superintendent of the City of Edmonton’s electric light and power distribution system, said the oil acts as both an insulating and cooling medium. As insulation, it maintains the insulating quality of the cable and wrappings, and as a coolant, it transmits heat to the outer pipe for dispersal through the earth.

The line under construction can handle power pushed through at 72,000 volts, Monaghan said. For up to four hours at a time, before heating becomes a problem, it can handle 80,000-kilovolt amperes, an amount equivalent to the total city requirements in 1954.

Pressure oil lines were nothing new to Edmonton. In 1957, the first oil pressure electrical line to be used commercially in Canada was laid from the power to the substation at 97th Street and 127th Avenue, and in 1958, a line was laid at 102nd Street and 51st Avenue.

Regina was the first Canadian city to follow Edmonton with oil lines, laying some cable in 1959.

The lines had been tried successfully in the United States for several years.

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