Utilities often build overhead electricity distribution networks for simplicity, ease of maintenance and cost effectiveness, according to NOJA Power. At the same time, however, their design also brings more fire risk than their underground counterparts.
For example, in Australia, the annual fire risk profile for populated areas soars during the dry summer period in the southern half of the continent. The vast geographic area and sparse population has made overhead networks the only practical solution. At the same time, this network topology has also demanded the development of bushfire mitigation technology in network switchgear to address the fire risk. The most common form of distribution protection equipment is the Automatic Circuit Recloser.
NOJA Power has partnered closely with Australian utilities to develop bushfire mitigation technology to address this requirement. This technology has been deployed in a large scale since 2009, providing pragmatic risk mitigation with measurable benefits.Through this technology development, the NOJA Power OSM Recloser has sensor resolution and accuracy, granting a minimum earth fault detection level of 200mA. This sensitivity allows utilities to mitigate fire risk in a multitude of fire start scenarios.
“One of the greatest challenges to electricity utilities globally is the risk of the network causing fires,” says NOJA Power Group Managing Director Neil O’Sullivan. “Protection systems are becoming more advanced, allowing the risk of fires to be significantly reduced using these advanced protection solutions.”