Energy giant Transgrid has recently completed a series of activities to help protect local communities against potential bushfires this summer.
Transgrid carried out hundreds of hours of work involving helicopter inspections, aerial imagery, 3D laser scanning, thermographic surveying, vegetation management and network maintenance across thousands of kilometres of transmission lines.
Transgrid executive general manager Marie Jordan said Transgrid took the risk of bushfires seriously, with the safety of the people of local communities being their number one priority.
“Transgrid has completed its comprehensive annual bushfire prevention program as we prepare for what is likely to be a potentially severe bushfire season,” she said.
“Transgrid uses best-practice asset management and network safety management systems to reduce bushfire risk and potential impacts to local communities and the surrounding environment.”
Transgrid’s 2023 bushfire safety management program included:
- A 3D laser aerial survey of easements across the entire network using lidar technology to identify vegetation growing too close to transmission lines
- An extensive vegetation management program with on-the-ground teams assessing and mitigating potential vegetation encroachments
- Helicopter inspections and aerial imagery of the network to physically assess the condition of towers and lines
- Teams carrying out network inspections and maintenance to avoid potential bushfire hazards, and thermographic surveying of substations to identify and address any required asset upgrades.
Ms Jordan said the aerial surveys and inspections involved 500 flying hours and enabled their teams on the ground to proactively respond to potential bushfire hazards including vegetation management and tower and line maintenance.
“About half of our maintenance expenditure each year relates to mitigating bushfire risk, including ongoing and comprehensive vegetation management to maintain our easement corridors. This is conducted in parallel with asset inspection programs and rectification works to ensure the safe operation of our network.
“Transgrid also works closely with the NSW Rural Fire Service [RFS] and local bushfire management committees made up of landholders, land managers, fire authorities and community organisations.
“During bushfire season, we work very closely with the fire authorities to provide safe and secure access to our easements for firefighters including de-energising transmission lines if required.
“Our focus is on prevention first and that’s why our network planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance takes bushfire risk into account every step of the way.”
Commissioner of the RFS Rob Rogers said the importance of taking preventative actions ahead of the bushfire season could not be overstated.
“As we move out of a period of incredibly wet weather, the risk of serious bush and grass fires is returning to NSW,” Commissioner Rogers said.
“Transgrid’s commitment to preparedness is an important part of ensuring our people are in the best position possible to protect communities across the state when fire does threaten.”