The majority of 11kV switchgear used across the UK electricity networks were installed prior to the 1980s and as the age of these assets increase, so too does the failure rate. A particular type of 11kV switchgear – circuit breakers, are a critical element of running an efficient and resilient network, but there are occasions where these can fail in service and cause major faults.
To ensure the performance and integrity of their networks is maintained, the DNOs need to manage this ageing fleet by adopting one or more of the following approaches:
• Replace the old switchgear
• Retrofit new assets on existing switchgear to extend their lifespan
• Increase the accuracy of existing monitoring solutions to ensure continuous safe operation
Life extension strategies are being implemented by network operators, which in some cases will involve retrofitting approximately 12% of the 11kV network’s primary circuit breakers. These retrofit activities include the replacement of the oil-filled moving portion of the circuit breaker with a vacuum moving portion, however, the section which connects the retrofitted circuit breaker to the legacy stationary portion has the potential for deterioration and failure. Additionally, the deterioration process cannot be monitored through intrusive methods, as this could damage the equipment.
The DNOs require the development of a low-cost, non-intrusive monitoring solution for 11kV primary switchgear. This should monitor asset temperature, humidity, vibration, and the presence of partial discharge within the equipment.
By using the monitoring solution, the asset condition and estimated lifespan of the switchgear will be determined. This is particularly important for “no-maintenance” switchgear, whose condition is difficult to constantly monitor.
The closure date for registering initial interest is 06.12.2018.
To register initial interest and request an ‘expression of interest’ form, please enter your details online. Alternatively, please call the Energy Innovation Centre on 0151 348 8040 and quote the reference number.
Please note: Specific EOI forms are created for each individual ‘Call for Innovation’ and the matching form will be required to progress any submissions. Office open hours are between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.