Enabling a step-change in the safety of 11kV OHL networks for Electricity North West Limited

Kelvatek, 12th December 2022
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The beginning of this month has seen the first shipments of LineSIGHT monitoring units coming off the production line at Kelvatek’s headquarters in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. LineSIGHT is a range of overhead network management devices which was developed collaboratively in an innovation project with Electricity North West Limited (ENWL). The innovation project was carried out during RIIO-ED1 and helped to develop the technology now being deployed in the LineSIGHT monitors. The use of live trials allowed the technology to be proven in a real-life environment, an important detail when moving from a lab into a business-as-usual context.

This ground-breaking technology is being deployed by ENWL to their extensive 11 kV overhead line (OHL) network with the aim of enhancing safety and network performance. The solution includes a range of complementary technologies which detect low impedance-type faults as well as faults not readily detectable with existing technologies such as low-hanging conductors or even conductors that have fallen to the ground, but not operated protection and so remain ‘live’. These are scenarios which can pose a serious risk to human life. As this system detects low-hanging conductors it, therefore, protects the public from potentially life-threatening situations, which meets ENWL’s primary requirement of increased public safety.

LineSIGHT 11 kV OHL management system uses sophisticated techniques to detect low-hanging conductors which do not pass fault current. LineSIGHT is effectively a ‘radar’ for OHLs, continually monitoring the live 11 kV network with the capabilities to provide real-time safety information via the Network Management System. LineSIGHT provides knowledge about how the network is performing and can help establish whether it is safe to operate or put a line back in and whether the network is nearing the limits of its operation. This actionable information is made available in the control room, helping control engineers make more informed decisions.

In addition to improving the safety performance of a network, LineSIGHT can help to predict, detect, and locate faults on the OHL. With advanced fault detection and location techniques, LineSIGHT can detect and locate many types of problems before the first outage, enabling operators to mitigate against the consequences of fault outages by reconfiguring the network before customers are impacted.

During storm outages, LineSIGHT continues to monitor and detect the occurrence and location of so-called 'nested' faults, enabling repairs and power restoration much faster than would otherwise be possible. This is increasingly important due to the adverse weather conditions that we now experience during winter months throughout the UK. As mentioned above, LineSIGHT can detect lowered lines, keeping control room operators informed, increasing safety levels, and reducing reliance on the public to report lowered lines.

By continuously monitoring the network, LineSIGHT can detect and locate abnormal conditions, such as interference from growing vegetation, insulators that are breaking down, or any major damage that occurs such as trees falling into lines. A highly accurate location reduces the need to send scouting teams to walk the line, which again promotes a safer working environment for field teams. Before the introduction of this new technology Network Operators would establish the condition of the assets using manual inspection and environmental factors to infer the asset health, and this of course could not account for sudden or catastrophic external factors that could cause the impacted part of the network to be a public safety risk. By collecting information about the electrical performance of a network, LineSIGHT facilitates strategic decision-making about where to invest in interventions such as vegetation clearance and network refurbishment. This allows network operators to take action in ‘normal’ weather conditions reducing the potential impact of storms on networks.

Other UK Distribution Network Operators are planning to undertake trials of LineSIGHT on their networks in 2023, and this technology solution has attracted interest worldwide in applications as diverse as avoiding wildfires in dry climates. As our production output ramps up over the coming months, we will be providing LineSIGHT monitoring units to the networks enabling a step change in network safety performance throughout RIIO-ED2 and beyond. To find out more about LineSIGHT and how it can support your business get in touch using the form below or view a copy of the brochure here.

Find out more about LineSIGHT

Get in touch if you would like to find out more about LineSIGHT, how it can support your overhead line management strategy and reduce safety risks for the public and field workers.

Simply complete this enquiry form or call us on 028 9262 6989 (UK) to speak to a member of our team.