Australian innovation protects UK power networks

Siemens’ Fusesaver technology

Siemens has received an order from distribution network operator, UK Power Networks, to equip parts of its overhead-line system with 600 Fusesaver vacuum circuit-breakers and 200 remote control units (RCU).

A locally developed Australian innovation, Siemens’ Fusesaver technology is exported to more than 20 countries and is helping eliminate 80 per cent of sustained electricity outages on rural networks.

The €1.5 million (AU$2.25 million) UK Power Networks order is the largest outside of Australia for Fusesaver.

“This order is an important milestone in the development of the European market for the Fusesaver,” Siemens Medium Voltage Systems CEO Stephan May said.

“UK Power Networks is an important partner for us.”

It is the largest order to date for Fusesavers in Europe and the first one from the UK.

Headquartered in London, UK Power Networks deliver electricity in the capital, South East and East of England to approximately 8.2million homes and businesses.

The service area covers approximately 30,000sq km.

The vacuum circuit-breakers will be installed directly on overhead cables to minimise the number of customers affected in the event of a fault.

This will minimise installation and maintenance costs while significantly improving supply reliability and grid stability.

“The Fusesaver eliminates the number of maintenance deployments almost entirely,” UK Power Networks network development engineer Matthew Corbridge said.

UK Power Networks has an extensive overhead-line system in eastern and southeastern England, and there are a lot of spur lines in this system.

“In our continuing efforts to reduce the number of power cuts caused by a range of factors, we needed a cost-effective solution in order to ensure a reliable power supply for customers on the main lines,” Mr Corbridge said.

Distribution grids on the medium-voltage level can be installed both above ground and below ground.

Many countries, such as the United States, Australia and the UK, distribute their medium-voltage electricity using mainly outdoor distribution grids.

Siemens developed the Fusesaver vacuum circuit-breaker to protect and improve the supply reliability and stability of these networks.

“Fusesaver is the fastest outdoor vacuum circuit-breaker on the market and since we developed the technology, it has helped save millions of hours of electricity outages in rural networks worldwide and, in the process, saved costs for providers,” Head of Energy Management for Australia and New Zealand Andrew Theodore said.