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Composite Technology Corp. of Irvine, Calif., will build a composite pole manufacturing plant in Kingman, with projected employment of more than 100 in the next 18 months.
The 30,000-square-foot plant will be built near Kingman’s airport. It is slated to open in August, Kingman city manager Cheryl Beatty said. In a much larger project, Kingman will be the first municipality to install the company’s commercial power transmission system using composite technology to provide power to area residents.
Composite Technology and the city of Kingman will build 21 miles of power lines from Kingman west to Cunningham using electric transmission cable, with a core made from composite materials. The lines will be strung on poles that also will be built from composites.
Composite Technology is one of several U.S. companies working to develop power lines that would make the country’s power grid more reliable.
The project with Kingman is the biggest commercial test of that work. Although Composite Technology has other test sites, Kingman will be the first municipality to rely on the company’s products for its power. The company will use the project to validate the results of its products and to demonstrate its products to potential customers worldwide.
“”It’s going to bring attention to the whole state,”” Beatty said.
Kingman, which now generates all of its own power using engines dependent on natural gas, had been looking for alternative power sources after natural gas prices soared. City officials wanted to build an electric transmission line to connect to an outside electric transmission grid.
They began working with Composite Technology and with Aquila last May. The new line will connect with Aquila’s substation in Cunningham and be built to Aquila standards for compatibility. The lines are expected to be installed by year’s end.
Composite Technology officials said the company chose Kingman for its pilot project because of its close proximity to Wichita’s aerospace industry and workers trained in composite technology, and because the city is located in the middle of the country. In addition, Kansas’ weather, with its high winds, ice storms and hot summers, provides a good testing environment for the product, they said.
Composite Technology’s cables are built with composites using high-strength fibres and polymer resins and are wrapped with aluminum wires. They can carry twice the power of standard cables and resist “”sagging.”” The composite poles, which will be made in the company’s new Kingman plant, weigh less and require less labour and equipment to erect than standard wooden poles, the company said.
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