A Bendigo-based engineering company plans to create a power cable manufacturing facility in central Victoria for insulated conductors.
Groundline Engineering has collaborated with Swedish cable manufacturing company Amokabel to develop Utopi, an insulated power cable conductor which could help prevent bushfires.
Groundline Engineering director Ian Flatley said the insulation which covers the new power cable could play “a vital part” in helping minimise bushfires.
Utopi features robust insulation which has a higher resistance to abrasion and UV rays, assisting in circumstances where power lines act as the ignition source of bushfires.
The company received a grant of almost $300,000 from the state government in 2016 to create a replacement for bare-wire power lines, as recommended by the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.
“Utopi has met all the relevant and applicable standards and requirements of the grant funding agreement,” Mr Flatley said.
The conductor has successfully passed laboratory and field testing undertaken by United Energy and Swinburne University of Technology.
Results of the tests have been issued to DELWP and the Department of Environment.
To commence manufacturing the company requires its new innovation to be adopted by the state government’s Bushfire Risk Mitigation strategy.
“In 2009, the Bushfire Royal Commission recommended that SWER lines be replaced in areas of the highest bushfire risk within 10 years,” Mr Flatley said.
“That deadline is almost up, and we are calling on the Victorian Government to consider Utopi as a key part of its Powerline Bushfire Safety program.”
RELATED: City’s vow to learn from fire
Mr Flatley said the Victorian electricity industry was investing in Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiters which were not suited for the state’s power distribution.
The role of the REFCL is to detect faults in power lines and limit the flow of energy.
“The REFCL in its current form is only suitable for three phase systems that make up only a quarter of the rural Victorian power distribution system, while ignoring single phase and SWER lines,” he said.
Groundline Engineering will be showcasing Utopi at the Northern Victoria New Energy Customer Workshop in Bendigo on Thursday August 30, which will be attended by Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.