Improving the design process for sub-transmission cables at Ausgrid

Supplier: Pacific Data Systems Australia
14 February, 2012

Pacific Data Systems assisted in the manufacture and programming of a Dynamic Soil Thermal Resistivity Monitoring solution for Ausgrid.

Ausgrid operates one of the largest electricity networks in Australia, covering over 22,275 square kilometres.

For the underground cables in the network, designers often have a lack of data about the true characteristics of the soil in which the cable is buried and consequently take a conservative approach.

To maximise efficiency, Ausgrid are investigating alternative approaches. The research requires Ausgrid to monitor dynamic soil thermal resistivity (ie its seasonal variations) at both existing cable network sites and new installations.

The Dynamic Soil Thermal Resistivity Monitoring stations supplied by Pacific Data Systems for the research project uses two soil thermal parameter sensors and a soil moisture and temperature sensor to gather the environmental parameters required by Ausgrid. These sensors are buried in trenches and cables connect them to the nearby dataTaker data logger.

Installation of the first batch of monitoring stations has begun at sites in Newcastle. Over the course of the research project Pacific Data Systems will supply a number of stations for deployment at separate Ausgrid locations in Newcastle and Sydney.

Over the coming 24 months data will be collected and analysed. Ausgrid will use this data to prepare a final report, supporting documentation and recommendation in mid 2013 in regards to the design and installation standards for 33kV sub-transmission and 132kV transmission cables.

The key technology supplied and configured by Pacific Data Systems included: a dataTaker DT80 Data Logger, Unimax HSUPA 3G Modem; Delta-T SM300 soil moisture and temperature sensor; and a thermal resistance sensor.