First New Zealand NOJA recloser upgrade commissioned

15 May 2018

NOJA Power, which specialises in developing new products to solve challenges presented by modern distribution systems, has completed and successfully commissioned the first installation in New Zealand of a its RC10-200 Upgrade Kit. The installation is to be found in a valley overlooking a bay on the North Island of the country (see photo). The RC10-200 system is a conversion upgrade path for NOJA Power’s Legacy RC01 controlled OSM Recloser product, providing utilities with the ability to deploy a comprehensive suite of protection functionality whilst maintaining use of their primary switchgear investment.

Driven by rapid processes of technological innovation, utility maintenance trends are showing that while primary switchgear may last many years, control technology can struggle to keep up. Fundamentally, primary switchgear such as a recloser can be reasonably expected to serve a full 30 year life, while the pace of the evolution of control systems can be starkly demonstrated by thinking about the difference between a 1980s computer and a modern smartphone – a miraculous advance when observed in isolation. The RC10-200 upgrade path is a replacement of the control system, allowing utilities to maximise the return on investment in primary assets and essentially eliminating the high voltage work required in a switchgear site upgrade.

The upgrade kit

The RC10-200 upgrade kit is packaged as a simple adaptor connected to one of the company’s flagship control systems, which it says provides a quick and simple interchange to upgrade the control technology connected to the OSM Recloser at the top of the pole. The option is provided to use the existing control cable, which removes all need for HV electrical work on site. The alternative is a replacement control cable with an interchange system to allow communication between the new generation of controllers with the old generation of Reclosers. All OSM Reclosers of the RC01 control generation are upgradeable using either of these pathways. “In discussion with senior executives in electricity utilities globally there is a generally accepted opinion that primary switchgear plant like a recloser circuit breaker tank should have a 30 year pole life,” commented Noja Power Group managing director Neil O’Sullivan, “but the integral electronic controller cannot reasonably be expected to last more than 10 years and allow the utility to continue to achieve their smart grid objectives. By using the RC10 200 Series upgrade our electricity utility customers can get a longer life out of the primary plant circuit breakers tanks and continue to achieve their smart grid objectives by the upgraded functionality available in the RC10 and RC15 controls.”  

NOJA Noja RC10–200 upgrade
NOJA First New Zealand installation of an RC10-200 upgrade kit

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