Elia launches a pilot project to install optical fibres around ground wires


Elia uses its own optical fibre cable communication infrastructure to ensure that its network is functioning and is operated properly.

Two technologies are normally used for installation purposes: underground installation and the use of an optical ground wire (OPGW).

A pilot project has been launched on the 70,000-volt Warnant-Dinant line to accelerate the development of this optical infrastructure. Used for the first time in Belgium, this solution consists of winding an optical fibre cable around an existing ground wire. The line will be turned off by segments during the works (scheduled for November) without any impact on power supply. The line is 13.2 km long, with 77 concrete and 25 steel lattice towers.

The optical fibre cable adapted for this use is wound around the ground wire by a robot. A bracket (a metal post attached to the pylon to which a pulley is attached), a crane or a helicopter is used to get the cable from one wire to another, depending on the possibility of accessing the pylon.

The advantages of this technique include that it is less expensive than other techniques currently in use, it is easier to obtain permits, and it can be implemented rapidly.

This technique could constitute an interesting alternative for lines that are not scheduled for replacement for several years.