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Energy news from Omaha Public Power District

How Does That Work?

Air-flow spoilers

December 28, 2020 | Jason Kuiper | how does that work, T&D
air-flow spoilers

WHAT IS IT? A rigid thermal plastic coil that wraps around sections of transmission and distribution lines to offset the “galloping” effect of power lines. This occurs when strong winds combine with ice-coated lines, causing power outages.

This spring, OPPD started installing air-flow spoilers in some areas of the service territory that have proven most susceptible to the galloping effect.

air-flow spoilers

Problems occur when ice forms on lines, creating an aerodynamic teardrop shape. This makes the lines easier to sail and move – sometimes as much as two and three feet – when winds are blowing at 15 mph or more.

The galloping lines can cause outages when the lines swing and make contact with each other, the electricity jumps between two lines that come near each other, or even weaken the poles and structures that hold up the lines.

Weakened poles can break, causing outages and dangerous downed wire situations as was the case in Saunders County this past winter.

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About Jason Kuiper

Jason Kuiper joined OPPD as a communications specialist in 2015. He is a former staff writer and reporter at the Omaha World-Herald, where he covered a wide range of topics but spent the majority of his career covering crime. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has also appeared in several true crime documentary shows. In his free time he enjoys cooking, spending time with his wife and three children, and reading crime novels.

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