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Utility Week Live

Field test: Locating downed conductors in Spain – improving safety and reducing risk of wildfire

Safegrid Stand: D26

Downed conductors in the electrical grid do not only cause outages but also serious risks at the location of the event. The primary risk is the potential for electrical shock. Downed MV conductors can still carry a significant amount of electricity, and contact with these live conductors can result in severe injuries or fatalities due to electric shock. Depending on the environment this may also cause a serious fire hazard. Wildfires sparked by downed power lines or conductors can escalate quickly and pose significant dangers to nearby areas, including homes, forests, wildlife, and communities.

Earlier this year, four earth fault events were deliberately generated using varied setups to simulate a downed conductor. This initiative aimed to conduct a field test assessing the efficacy of Safegrid’s Intelligent Grid System in identifying and pinpointing earth faults. All events were located correctly.

“We are very satisfied with the results of the test and we see high potential for this solution”

Pedro Del Rosal, Director of Digital Transformation at EDP Spain 

Summary of Earth Fault Testing Procedures

The initial testing involved simulating direct earth faults using different setups. These configurations included using a copper bar inserted into the soil, laying a 5-meter copper wire on the ground with stones beneath it, and employing the same wire directly on the ground. Despite Safegrid’s physical absence at the testing site, we maintained close proximity for monitoring purposes.



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