The Victorian Government has released regulations that require energy companies to implement new powerline technology that help prevent bushfires.
Under the proposed Electricity Safety (Bushfire Mitigation) Regulations, all electricity distributors across the state will have to install Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiter (REFCL) technology across their networks.
The new world-first technology tsops an electrical current within milliseconds of a power line coming into contact with the ground or vegetation – effectively stopping a fault before it can start a fire.
The Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiter (REFCL) technology was developed in Victoria in response to the recommendations of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, intended to make powerlines safer in bushfire risk areas.
Final testing in Kilmore in October 2015 found the REFCL technology reduces the likelihood of a bushfire starting from a high voltage powerline fault by ten-times.
This cutting edge technology has undergone more than two thousand tests, undertaken with local electricity companies and international technology experts.
In areas of acute bushfire risk, electricity distribution businesses will also be required to progressively replace their power lines by insulating the cables or burying them underground.
The Victorian Government’s new higher safety standards aim to halve the risk of powerline-ignited bushfires across regional Victoria.
Minister for Energy and Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio, said, “These new safety standards and world leading technology will help make Victorian communities safer from bushfires and increase the reliability of our state’s power supply,
“We are committed to doing everything we can to improve safety standards across Victoria’s power network to help protect Victorians from the risk of bushfires.”
The proposed Electricity Safety (Bushfire Mitigation) Regulations 2015 are open for public comment until 22 December 2015.
You can view the regulations here.