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Submitted by on Feb 4, 2022

A transmission tower, often called an electrical pylon or simply a pylon in British English and a hydro tower in Canadian English, is a tall structure, generally made of steel lattice, that supports an overhead power line.

Utility poles support lower-voltage subtransmission and distribution lines that transport power from substations to electric customers. They are commonly used in electrical grids to carry high-voltage transmission lines that transport bulk electric power from generating stations to electrical substations. They are available in a broad range of forms and sizes. The highest are the 380 m (1,247 ft) towers of a 2,656 m (8,714 ft) bridge between the islands Jintang and Cezi in China’s Zhejiang province, which spans 2,656 m (8,714 ft). With a length of 5,376 meters, the powerline crossing of Ameralik fjord holds the record for the largest span of any hydroelectric crossing ever built (17,638 ft). Other materials, such as concrete and wood, may be utilized in addition to steel.

Transmission towers are divided into four categories: suspension, terminal, tension, and transposition. These primary duties are combined in certain transmission towers. Transmission towers and the overhead power lines they support are frequently seen as a source of visual pollution. Undergrounding is one method for reducing the visual effect.

The structure utilized in the industry in the United States and several other English-speaking nations is known as a transmission tower. The phrase electrical pylon, or simply pylon, originates from the construction’s fundamental design, which is an obelisk-like structure that tapers toward the top, and is largely used in ordinary speech in the United Kingdom and portions of Europe. In most parts of the United States, the term pylon is more usually used to refer to other items, such as traffic cones. In the United States, the term pylon is more commonly used in the Midwest, particularly in cities like Cincinnati and Chicago. The phrase “hydro tower” is often used in Canada since hydroelectricity accounts for the majority of the country’s energy generation.

High voltage (66- or 69-kV and above) and extra-high voltage (110- or 115-kV and above; most typically 138- or 230-kV and beyond in current systems) AC transmission lines are powered by three-phase electric power systems. Smaller lattice towers are also used for medium voltage (over 10 kV) transmission lines in various European nations, such as GermanySpain, and the Czech Republic. Three (or multiples of three) conductors must be carried by the towers. The insulators are either glass or porcelain discs or composite insulators made of silicone rubber or EPDM rubber material placed in strings or long rods whose lengths are determined by the line voltage and climatic conditions.

One or two ground wires, sometimes known as “guard” wires, are usually installed on top to intercept lightning and safely direct it to the ground.

High- and extra-high-voltage towers are often built to carry two or more electric circuits (with very rare exceptions, only one circuit for 500-kV and higher). It is not essential to install all of the circuits at the time of installation if a line is built using towers intended to handle several circuits. Some transmission lines are intended for three (or four) circuits, but only two (or three) circuits are originally constructed for cost considerations.

On the same tower as 110 kV wires, certain high voltage circuits are frequently constructed. On the same towers, 380 kV, 220 kV, and 110 kV circuits are commonly paralleled. A parallel circuit can sometimes carry traction lines for railway electrification, notably with 110 kV circuits.

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