Application of Horizontal Directional Drilling and Other Trenchless Methods to Electric Power Cable Installations

by Jim Williams, PE, PMP, Brierley Associates
and Rusty Bascom, Electrical Consulting Engineers, PC
Trenchless installation methods require careful coordination between the electrical engineer designing and specifying the power cables and the civil engineer that is designing and specifying the trenchless construction method and layout. Some of the preferred design characteristics for the electrical engineer conflict with those preferred by the civil engineer. Unless the electrical engineer is aware of the options for trenchless methods and the implications for the selection of the methods, the cable system may not be accurately designed and specified, or the desired power transfer capacity may not be satisfied.
This paper, published in CIGRE, identifies the major factors that are of concern to the civil engineer in developing a trenchless installation method for use with power cables and relates the various options to the implications for the electrical design. The intent is to provide the reader with enough information to proceed with the design calculations and have access to further reading for more thorough analyses of the methods.