Economics of Cable Upsizing
02 February 2014

Economics of Cable Upsizing

The Economics of Cable Upsizing

Executive Summary

A rigorous examination of the new construction economics of installing increased gauge Teck 90 power cables supplying induction motors in a typical industrial application.

This paper explores the hypothesis of obtaining an acceptable return on investment as well as a perceivable reduction in CO2 equivalent emissions by upsizing cable conductors in new designs.

The analysis method is described, identifying the various factors that need to be considered in this analysis, both positive and negative, to determine the realistic benefits.

A test case is examined in detail, comparing several gauges of copper conductors (#1/0 - #4/0 AWG) supplying a 575V, 100HP induction motor. The modelled scenario uses 250 meters of Teck 90 aluminum armoured copper cable installed in cable tray at a 30°C ambient. Steady state running temperatures are calculated for each cable type and included in the evaluation. 

Analysis is done based on present day economic factors. The base case analysis is then subjected to adjustment of the assumptions to determine the sensitivity of outcome as a result of the change in assumption. 

The variables examined include electricity cost, hours of operation per year, material costs (tray, cable, fittings, terminations), installation labour (tray, cable, fittings, terminations) as well as the impact of conceivable carbon taxes. 

The evidence suggests that upsizing cables, hence reducing their I2R losses does offset increased installation costs in five to seven years. 

Upgrade Duration to Pay for Upgrade* Yearly $ Recovered
Upgrade #1/0 to #2/0 AWG 5.3 years $399
Upgrade #1/0 to #3/0 AWG 5.7 years $711
Upgrade #1/0 to #4/0 AWG 6.7 years $953

*assuming base case described in section 4. Sensitivities are explored in section 5.

It is evident from the analysis that the amount of time that a load is operated is critical to achieving timely payback. Some guidelines are provided which may help owners and engineers identify applications that are candidates for further consideration. 

Table of Contents

1 Executive Summary
2 Project Background
3 Introduction
4 Calculation Method
5 Calculations
6 Results - Upsizing from the Base Case
7 Results - Downsizing from the Base Case
8 Sensitivities
9 Conclusions and Recommendations
10 Areas That Deserve Further Investigation

Economics of Cable Upsizing

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Magna IV Engineering
Magna IV Engineering