Composite insulator with integrated fiber-optic cable for Transpower

The national electric utility Transpower New Zealand Limited (TPNZ) wanted to lay a 2.4 km 110 kV line between Albany and Henderson using underground cable as part of a modernization project.

The utility was looking for a post insulator for an optical transformer with integrated fiber-optic cable and solid filling (no gas or oil) for the associated substations. This combination has not been available on the market until now. Due to the high amount of seismic activity in the region, lighter and more flexible insulators had to be used. Due to the proximity to the coast, the materials being used also had to be weather- and corrosion-resistant.

The Power Composites business area of Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen specializes in hollow composite insulators and was able to implement these special requirements in the manner requested. The ReCoTec® composite insulators being used combine the specified requirements, making them the first choice for Transpower. The fiber-optic cable was integrated into the insulator; the filling consisted of a special silicone gel that hardens and surrounds the fiber-optic cable. MR was the first provider in the world able to offer a solution like this.

Arteche developed an optical current transformer/measuring head suitable for this special insulator and installed directly on it. The advantages for Transpower include improved fiber-optic cable protection, less effort and expense during installation and faster, more precise measuring results.