August 11, 2021

A Burning Issue

Bare Wire Network transformation using Covered Conductor

The transformative advantages of specifying and installing Covered Conductor as an alternative to bare wire overhead lines is well understood, and particularly so in climates that are subject to acute wildfire risk and in geographies and communities that are exposed to an amplified risk to life and property.

Benefits include:

  • Asset life extension from greatly improved corrosion resistance
  • Elimination of outages previously caused by clashing phases
  • 98% reduction in wildfire risk
  • Equally effective for fire risk reduction as burying lines
  • Highly efficient (circa 25% of the cost ofburying lines)
  • Quick to install and scale, replacing more network more quickly than burying

With advantages such as this on offer, at a time when the stakes are so high, one would expect the energy transmission and distribution industry to embrace innovation. In the case of Covered Conductor, one might have expected networks to have unilaterally ceased installation of new bare line network and embarked on replacement programmes of existing bare wire network.

This isn’t always the case.

The Innovation Challenge

Groundline Engineering are at the frontline of network transformation and the large scale deployment of innovation and technology such as Thor Poletest™ and Covered Conductor. With unique insight into solving the strategic, design and operational challenges encountered, a global reputation in helping networks successfully harness the right innovations to transform has been earned.

When navigating the challenges of innovation and wildfire mitigation it is hard to ignore the impact of legacy industry thinking, decision processes and the maintenance of ‘status quo’ in what remains one of the most regulated and conservative industries.

Groundline Engineering has found that inherently the challenges facing networks are not directly related to the technical attributes of any innovation and identifies four key barriers facing networks around the world in their aspiration to accelerate innovation and transformation:

  1. Bureaucratic procurement systems with long established supply chains
  2. Technical standards focused on compliance rather than advancing benefits
  3. Training regimes rigidly focused on conformity with works practices that are slow to improve
  4. Regulatory insurance frameworks that are reactionary rather than proactive

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