BOLD Transmission debuts with next generation in transmission design

With a product billed as the next generation of transmission for its greater capacity and stylish design, BOLD Transmission, a new subsidiary of AEP Transmission Holding Company, boldly made its public debut with technology aimed at providing the industry with sound transmission solutions.

Jeff Fleeman, director of Advanced Transmission Studies and Technology at AEP Transmission and vice president of the nascent company, unveiled the innovative BOLD (short for Breakthrough Overhead Line Design) design to the public at an Edison Electric Institute meeting in Orlando, Florida, on April 15. After seeing images of the new line, the session moderator introduced Fleeman's presentation by observing, "If trend-setting Apple Inc. were to design a transmission line, I am pretty sure it would look like BOLD."

"If trend-setting Apple Inc. were to design a transmission line, I am pretty sure it would look like BOLD." Jeff Fleeman - AEP Transmission

"BOLD Transmission offers much greater power delivering capacity in a smaller package at a competitive price," said Fleeman, who coined the now trademarked BOLD name. "The cleaner visual line and elegance of a BOLD structure and line is a creative and conscientious design option in response to public objections to taller and more imposing traditional towers."

BOLD was developed in 2012 by AEP Transmission's Dr. Meihuan (Nancy) Fulk, engineer principle, and Richard Gutman, staff engineer, and patented in 2013. Design components, including its unique crossbow-shaped structure, have passed laboratory tests.

The value of being BOLD

"The BOLD design offers superior value over traditional designs because it maximizes capacity in a given right-of-way and presents a more compact and aesthetically pleasing profile," said Evan Wilcox, director of AEP Transmission Planning (east) and BOLD Transmission president. "We see BOLD Transmission as an advantage in the evolving competitive business environment and for companies seeking to rebuild existing infrastructure."

BOLD Transmission holds 14 patents (granted or pending) worldwide and is licensed to sell the technology to other utilities (except those competing against AEP Transmission for transmission projects). A 345-kilovolt transmission line rebuild in Fort Wayne, Indiana is BOLD's first application (above left). That project is scheduled to finish next year. The first double-circuit 345-kV application of BOLD will be a line rebuild between AEP's Meadow Lake and Reynolds stations in northern Indiana with an in-service date of June 2018.

New AEP company open for business

BOLD Transmission is marketing the technology to other utilities

"We are open for business and kicking off the commercialization of BOLD by talking to utilities to determine the market for this technology," said Wilcox. "It has several distinct advantages that address contemporary issues facing the industry."

BOLD advantages

  • Compared to a conventional 345-kV double-circuit design arranged on an eight-armed, 150-foot tower, the compact BOLD configuration suspends from a crescent-shaped cross-arm, balanced on a 100-foot tubular steel pole. Its power delivery capacity can provide up to 160 percent of a typical 345-kV line; and it surpasses the capacity of a single-circuit 500-kV line.
  • BOLD intrinsically achieves power boosting benefits without need for added series compensation. BOLD greatly reduces the need for series capacitors that add complexity, cost and operational challenges to long-distance transmission of bulk power.
  • BOLD's aesthetically pleasing low-profile is designed for greater public acceptance.
  • By packing more power in a compact design, BOLD maximizes capacity in a right-of-way.

Wilcox reported that AEP is working on a 230-kV version to expand the market for the BOLD design.

"This breakthrough technology demonstrates AEP's leadership in transmission," said Lisa Barton, executive vice president – AEP Transmission. "We're looking at hurdles as opportunities for innovation and achievement."

Learn more about BOLD Transmission.