HomeNewsBushfire safety breakthrough

Bushfire safety breakthrough

On May 28, 2018, an Early Fault Detection (EFD) system identified a fault on the power network at Ross Creek where there was a broken strand on the line.

This hard-to-find fault is the exact type of failure that sparked the Kilmore East 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

Electricity wholesaler AusNet Services are installing innovative new technology known as Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiter (REFCL), a type of electricity network protection device that operates similar to a safety switch, at the Kinglake Zone Substation.

Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio approved a $650,000 grant to Melbourne-based technology company IND Technology to also fund its Early Fault Detection system (EFD) on the Victorian Electricity Network.

“We know the devastating impact of bushfires in Victoria – if these positive results continue, this technology could be lifesaving,” D’Ambrosio said.

One year into the two-year research trial, results have indicated the EFD has the ability to discover faults that are difficult to detect by current protective systems.

The trial has placed 61 EFD devices on two separate 80-kilometre Single Wire Earth Return (SWER) networks in western and north-eastern Victoria.

With almost 30,000 kilometres of SWER electrical lines across Victoria, this technology presents a ground-breaking solution to the challenge of reducing the risk of bushfires from powerlines.

Research trials will continue to monitor and investigate faults picked up by the EFD system to gather evidence-based data to assess whether the EFD system device can be brought to market.

Following recommendations of the Black Saturday Royal Commission the Victorian Government mandated the installation of REFCL systems where needed across Victoria.

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