TasNetworks installs new-generation covered conductor

Linesworkers installing Amokabel's new-generation covered conductor to powerlines
Image supplied

TasNetworks has successfully installed Amokabel‘s lightweight covered conductor in the Neika area to the south of Hobart to increase network resilience and reliability.

The installation is the first full-scale installation of the new generation of covered conductor in Tasmania and has been completed in an area with significant vegetation.

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The technology consists of conductive wire surrounded by an insulating jacket made of advanced lightweight insulation materials that improves reliability and adds minimal weight.

This means that it can be restrung on existing poles to save the DNSP—and therefore the consumer—the cost of replacing or adding infrastructure. It is highly cost effective, in this case approximately one tenth of the cost of undergrounding in the same area.

TasNetworks goal for the installation is compare this new technology with its existing methods while immediately improving network resilience in the Neika area.

Lightweight covered conductor is far more resilient than bare wire and significantly easier to install than older covered conductor technologies, such as CCT. It is highly resistant to dropped tree branches, a common cause of outages. The technology is also a quantum leap in safety for people and wildlife.

The Amokabel covered conductor system allows TasNetworks to mitigate many of the potential risks that traditional open wire networks pose at a very reasonable cost, making it a viable standard replacement alternative. These include customer outage or firestart due to vegetation or animals contacting the conductors.

Amokabel Australia managing director Steve Rutland said, “It was a pleasure to watch the TasNetworks team doing their first installation of our new generation covered conductor.

“Ably assisted by our local partners, Groundline Engineering, who provided supervision and training, the installation went very smoothly, a testament to the preparation done by the project team. The area in question is rugged and heavily treed, a perfect location for our products. Our covered conductor offers a range of benefits in terms of resilience, reliability and safety, making it a clear choice for widespread deployment—especially with the effects of climate change creating a challenging environment for our networks.”

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As an additional benefit, lightweight covered conductor can also help to reduce the risk of bushfire by 98.8% compared with bare wire. This is because, unlike bare wire, an overhead line using covered conductor doesn’t produce sparks when it contacts dry foliage or other objects.

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