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Victoria Trials World-First Technology To Stop Powerline Bushfires

15 October 2015

The Andrews Labor Government has revealed cutting edge technology to better protect Victorians from the risk of powerline related bushfires.

Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D’Ambrosio has inspected world-first testing of Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiter (REFCL) technology at a test site in Kilmore today.

The REFCL technology works by reducing an electrical current within milliseconds of detecting that a powerline has come into contact with the ground or vegetation, suppressing a fault before it can start a fire.

Testing at the Kilmore site shows the REFCL technology can reduce by ten-times the likelihood of a bushfire starting from a high voltage powerline fault.

The Victorian trial has taken technology used overseas to reduce faults in underground cable networks and adapted it so it can be used to significantly reduce the risk of bushfires caused by powerline faults.

The Kilmore trial is drawing international attention and has placed Victoria as a world leader in bushfire powerline safety research.

The last phase of the trial ends today and final recommendations will be submitted to the government later this year. The innovative technology at the Kilmore test site has been purchased by power distributor AusNet Services.

The Labor Government has allocated $5.5 million for the testing of the REFCL technology as part of the Powerline Bushfire Safety Program.

To further reduce the risk of powerline related bushfires, the Labor Government has provided $200 million to replace high voltage bare-wire powerlines in areas of highest bushfire risk and $40 million to provide backup generator auto start power supply to residential care facilities with critically power dependent clients.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D’Ambrosio

“This world leading technology can help make Victorian communities safer from bushfires and increase the reliability of our state’s power supply.”

“The Andrews Labor Government is committed to protecting Victorians from the risk of bushfires, including those started by powerlines.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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