The loadability characteristics of overhead transmission lines (OHLs) is certainly not a new topic. However, driven by sustainability issues, the increasing need to exploit existing electrical infrastructures as much as possible, has given OHL loadability a renowned central role and, recently, new investigations on this subject have been carried out. OHL loadability is generally investigated by means of numerical methods. Even though this approach allows deducing useful information in both planning and operation stage, it does not permit to capture all the insights obtainable by an analytical approach. The goal of this paper is to tailor a general analytical formulation for the loadability of OHLs. The first part of the paper is devoted to the base-case of uncompensated OHLs. Later, aiming to demonstrate the inherent feasibility and flexibility of the novel approach proposed, the less frequent case of shunt compensated radial OHLs is investigated as well. The analytical formulation is combined with the use of circular diagrams. Such diagrams allow a geometrical interpretation of the analytical relationships and are very useful to catch the physical insights of the problem. Finally, in order to show the applicability of the new analytical approach, a practical example is provided. The example concerns calculation of the loadability characteristics of typical 400 kV single-circuit OHLs.
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