The Powerline Bushfire Safety Program (PBSP) approved a grant program in December 2016 that is designed to learn more about powerline fault detection technology on the SWER network. The project involves putting hardware devices on the network that can report back to the Distribution Businesses when a fault is detected.
The objective of the project is to:
- Test the technology to ascertain whether the EFD system is capable of accurately detecting faults on SWER; and
- Speed up the development of a cost effective commercial product that can be used on the Victorian electricity distribution network.
Currently, two trials are underway on the electricity network in the north and west of the State.
As of July 2018, half-way through this vital research trial, progress is being made. Two hard-to-detect faults have been identified by the EFD system. These recent cases are the first indication that an EFD system can provide early fault detection, preventing future powerline-started fires.
Cases like these will assist with the remainder of the trial project, to help validate findings and identify the ability to bring this EFD system to market, making powerlines safer and reduce bushfire risk.