MV Covered Conductors: Safety Solution for Wildlife
Using Bare Conductors on the overhead distribution lines in forest and wild life sanctuaries resulting fatal accidental death of several wildlife animals and big birds due to electrocution.
- Manish Patel
Presently, we are witnessing several incidents where wild life has been fatally electrocuted in India. 400 flamingos have died in 10 days due to electrocution by high tension cables near their breeding grounds in Gujarat (2014). As many as 139 greater flamingos were electrocuted in Kutch desert wildlife sanctuary. On January 25, a female elephant died due to electrocution in the forests of Odisha’s Rourkela district. On the night of 4 September 15, a large tusker was electrocuted by a sagging high tension electric cable in Kaziranga National Park, Assam.
Two leopards, one tigress and two sambar deer were also electrocuted between January 11 and 14(2011) in different forest divisions of Maharashtra’s Nagpur district. As per Tito Joseph of the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), every year at least 20 elephants, 11 leopards die due to electrocution.
According to CEA (Central Electricity Authority) mandatory guidelines, Medium Voltage Covered conductors should be used to reduce the ROW (right of way) of HT lines which are passing through the forest area for the safety of wild life.
Apar has taken the lead from the MAKE IN INDIA initiative to develop Medium Voltage Covered conductors (MVCC) which is currently imported from overseas manufactures.
Challenges Faced by Indian Utilities
• Outages due to temporary tree contact
• Conductor slashing due to corrosion
• Wide Right of Way (ROW)
• Electromagnetic field effect on electronic Surveillance
• Safety (Road /Rail/River crossings/Slums/ Congested residential areas etc.)
Covered conductors consist of a conductor insulated by a covering made of insulating material(s) as protection against accidental contacts with other covered conductors and with grounded parts such as tree branches, etc. In comparison with insulated conductors, this covering has reduced thickness, but is sufficient to withstand the phase‐to‐earth voltage temporarily”
Construction of MVCC
Conductor: Longitudinally water tight Stranded All Aluminium Alloy (AAAC) or Aluminium Conductor Steel Reinforced (ACSR)
A. Conductor Screen: Water swellable semi-conducting tape (if required) and extruded semi-conducting compound
B. Inner Insulation: XLPE
C. Outer Insulation: UV protected and anti-tracking black coloured XLPE / HDPE
Anti tracking property is must for MVCC Outer XLPE/HDPE. As per the experience of several international utilities, in the absence of anti-tracking, XLPE /HDPE, MVCC fails within a short time period of 5-6 months. Anti -tracking jacketing has been specially designed to meet the outdoor conditions & performance requirements of 13.8KV to 34.5KV distribution networks. The material has an excellent resistance to arc, corrosion inhibitor, fungicide activity, oil resistance, and weather conditions like humidity, pollution, presence of salt in atmosphere etc. There is a special test method for carrying out the tests for the anti-tracking in SS EN 50397-1.
SS EN 50397-1, BS EN 50182, IS 398-2, IS 398-4, IEC 61089
Salient Features of MVCC Technology
1. Rare Interruptions on transient faults (contact of tree branches or creepers etc.) that contribute the majority of total faults occurred in overhead distribution lines.
2. Less Power shut downs for clearing of the lane from growing trees e.g. Branches or trees can be cut and moved away under live working conditions.
3. No faults due to momentary clashing of phase conductors during wind and stormy conditions.
4. Reduced tower related cost due to reduced Phase to Phase conductor distance.
5. Ideal and safer solution for installations over river / lake/ railway / road slums / congested residential areas and in polluted areas
Accessories used by MVCC
Moreover, lighting protection, earthing and arc protection accessories are available.
Covered Conductors can be installed in an easy and fast manner; Normal pole to pole spacing can be between 50-70 meters, standard poles of bare conductor can be used for covered conductors as the weight of covered conductors is only about 10-12% higher than bare conductor due to insulation. For fast installation, even existing poles of bare conductors can be used without changing the cross arms and other fitting with covered conductor and its accessories.
Benefits of MVCC
• No interruptions by contact of tree branches.
• No faults with short duration touching of phase conductors during wind conditions.
• Phase to Phase conductor distance can be reduced (reduce the Tower costs)
• Ideal and safer solution for installations for river/lake/ railway/ road crossings and in populated areas.
• Can protectbig birds like peacocks, flamingos etc. Ideal for installations in forest areas and in bird sanctuaries.
• Covered conductors are a cheaper alternative to underground cable and also to ABC cables, especially, in difficult terrain and in densely populated areas.
• Lines nearby areas where the public visits are not so dangerous because of accidental touching.
• Overcomes costly Right of Way issues and line can be commissioned faster.
Covered conductors are the best economical solutions where ever the safety of human and wildlife has been challenged or compromised by bare conductors. It gives maintenance free overhead line reliability. Service calls will drastically reduced which means an uninterrupted power supply adding more revenues to the utility. It is a safe, economical, environmental friendly, reliable solution for utility to protect the wildlife from being electrocuted.
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