Reducing the Risk of Powerline-Related Bushfires

Case Study
Minute Read

Our Australian regulated utility business, AusNet, has operations in locations that exposes it to wildfire risk and has implemented step changes to manage bushfire risk on its network. Bushfire risk mitigation strategies at AusNet include the introduction of aerial inspections, a fire-loss consequence model, mandated insulated conductors in the highest fire-loss consequence areas and the use of remote-controlled Automatic Circuit Reclosers (ACRs). Bushfire risk is also reflected in AusNet’s network design, where the highest bushfire-prone areas are progressively being fully insulated, making the network more resilient. In 2023, AusNet completed a seven-year program to install the world’s first deployment of Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiter (REFCL) technology designed to mitigate powerline-related ignition risks in 22 high risk bushfire areas across the electricity distribution network. An REFCL operates as a safety switch in the electricity network and limits the amount of energy released when an earth fault occurs on a powerline (for example, when a powerline touches the ground), reducing the risk of fire in the communities in which it operates.

power lines