Earth fault locating technology by ABB Finland awarded as the Network Initiative of the Year

An innovative earth fault protection and fault indication method developed by ABB in Finland won the Network Initiative of the Year 2017 award. The new technology is very topical, as the share of underground cables and renewable energy production increase. It enhances a grid company’s fault management and thus improves the reliability of power distribution.

A power distribution grid renovation worth billions of euros is currently underway in Finland. Overhead lines are being replaced by underground cables at an increasing pace, spurred by the Electricity Market Act. Detecting and locating faults in an underground network requires completely new methods, which are equally useful with overhead line networks. The new, awarded fault indication method, which is based on multifrequency admittance calculation, responds to this challenge.

"The award is a fine and encouraging recognition of ABB's commitment to the construction of the power network of the future. The technology is the result of several years of product development work and behind it, there is also close cooperation with our customers and various educational institutions," says Dick Kronman, Business Development Manager at ABB.

ABB has tested the reliability of the awarded earth fault locating technology with extensive field tests e.g. in a smart grid pilot project at Sundom, Vaasa. The technology enables detecting faults already at the emerging stage, when they still can be isolated and repaired before the fault causes an outage. With the help of the advanced technology, faults can be discovered in a cost-efficient manner at the secondary substation.

"The new fault locating solution installed in secondary substations provides the keys to the cost-efficient reliability of a smart electric grid. The automation of fault management processes further emphasizes the significance of accurate and reliable fault indication. There is a wide market for the fault locating technology developed by ABB outside Finland. We have this fault locating solution also available for overhead line networks," Kronman says.

The award ceremony took place during the Network trade fair in Tampere on January 25. On behalf of ABB, the award was accepted by Ari Wahlroos, Senior Principal Engineer, and Janne Aaltonen, Principal Engineer. The award was presented by Harri Jaskari, Member of Parliament, and Kenneth Hänninen, director responsible for the network business at the Finnish Energy association.

ABB Finland has global responsibility within ABB Group for the development of protective relays, as well as control, automation and monitoring products, for power distribution networks. The integration of protection and automation, i.e. the introduction of intelligence in networks, has been pursued in Finland since the 1980s.


Ari Wahlroos, Senior Principal Engineer, and Janne Altonen, Senior Application Specialist, have participated in the development of ABB's earth fault locating technology, which received the Network Initiative of the Year award. They have decades of experience in research and product development for power grid protection solutions at ABB.


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