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Improve system reliability and safety with Vacuum Fault Interrupters

by A D Riley, on Jul 20, 2023 2:37:02 PM

The environmentally-friendly switchgear solution

The New Zealand Government is committed to New Zealand becoming a world leader in climate change action. We now have the framework with the amended Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2022, which is a fundamental document for energy transition. What this means is that it’s time for serious action around decarbonisation. The Government is aiming for Net Zero by 2050.

A shake-up for the electrical industry

For the electrical industry, this means some of the most significant changes to date. At the recent EEA 2023 Conference, we heard a number of technical papers from experts in their respective field, all aiming to shape a Net Zero carbon future. Electricity Distribution Businesses (EDBs) are securing their long-term future by doing their bit - developing infrastructure to support energy projects such as battery energy storage systems, virtual power plants, demand side management, solar farm grid management and utility-scale solar and wind farms. EDBs are also starting to investigate technologies that control solar and EV DER devices to gain a better understanding of their impact on networks.

Power distribution - strategies to overcome renewable variability

The challenge for EDBs is to produce an Emission Reduction Plan that ensures their core business aligns with creating a carbon neutral environment. Asset owners must produce relevant company guidelines, equipment standards and network operations to align with the Act.

Are you ready for the next transition?

Arthur D. Riley - solutions for managing intermittent generation on system operations

As an organisation, we do our part in supporting the electrical industry by supplying environmentally friendly switchgear such as Eaton’s Vacuum Fault Interrupter (VFI) underground distribution switchgear. This is ideal for small to medium sized land areas where the cost of the land is premium, e.g. CBD and new subdivisions.

The outdoor ready VFI provides an alternative to building a control room to house the indoor switchgear, with an estimated 40% reduction in cost. In terms total cost of ownership, the VFI is 40% cheaper compared to conventional outdoor switchyard cost, will be higher as you need to put all associated primary equipment such as circuit breaker, disconnect switch and earth switch and control room. Protection, telemetry, motor control and metering provide a single integrated solution for automated systems.

The VFI is the perfect solution for grid-tie applications for distributed energy resources, industrial campuses, data centres, hospitals, and manufacturing sites.


The VFI comes complete with protection (Eaton or SEL), RTU, motor controlled metering. It's a single unit with an integrated solution for automated systems.


Courtesy of Eaton

The VFI is available with optional Biodegradable E200 dielectric fluid as a green alternative to SF6. E200 is low-viscosity, clear fluid with excellent thermal and dielectric properties across a wide temperature range (-30 °C to +55 °C). The VFI not only eliminates SF6 but also removes the added cost associated with SF6 monitoring, cost of compliance with increasing government regulations and safe disposal of SF6 gases during the end of life of the equipment.


Courtesy of Eaton

Typical solar grid-tie application.

 Are you ready to lower your carbon footprint and reduce excess generation? Talk to us about how we can help you achieve that with our underground switching equipment.

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