Victorian tech combating bushfire starts by powerlines

fire, bushfire, port lincoln

Groundline Australia, a Bendigo-based engineering business, has been working with Swedish company Amokabel AB on a suitable conductor that could meet the emerging need for a safer powerline conductor in the Victorian operating context.

Groundline Australia was the recipient of a Victorian State Government grant in 2016 and immediately got to work completing the design, research and development and a trial installation of a couple of kilometres by United Energy in south-east Melbourne.

The trials have shown the conductor, developed locally and in conjunction with experts from Sweden, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Finland, can be installed for half the cost of current available technologies that also have impact on the prevention of fires.

The conductor builds on more than 20 years of Swedish manufacturing experience as well as Groundline’s 10 plus years of power line engineering knowledge in Australian operating conditions. High UV, extreme operating temperatures and vegetation hardness were added to the mix.

Powerlines are more susceptible to failure and contact with vegetation as a result of high winds, particularly during weather-driven events such as the Black Saturday fires of 2009. Powerlines can be a major source of bushfires. Already this year, wildfires started by powerlines are believed to have killed more than 100 people in California and Portugal.

Talks are well advanced with a number of utilities and with the ongoing threat of bushfires in Victoria.