Case Study: Reducing the risk of HV cable failure in energy infrastructure

By Ron Scollay

In the following case study, catastrophic cable failure was avoided, but a concerning risk of widespread HV cable faults is potentially present in all new Australian energy infrastructure projects.

Collaboration and deep understanding of electrical assets key to identifying risk

Energy infrastructure is expanding throughout Australia. While the growth in large-scale renewable and non-renewable projects is critical to our local and global carbon commitments, the expertise required to install high voltage cabling to standard, budget and time can raise critical problems. These can only be tested and remedied by independent electrical asset experts.

As the following case study demonstrates, quality new energy projects require the collaboration of all parties to ensure construction and commissioning include HV cabling expertise as well as partial discharge testing.

Our existing relationship with the energy provider enabled machinemonitor’s® global partial discharge and cabling expert, OptMonitor COO, Luca Garagnani to avert a potential crisis.

Predictive maintenance to provide data and proof of a cabling issue

machinemonitor® leveraged its predictive maintenance expertise to address a critical issue encountered by an installation company during the pre-commissioning of a new energy project cable system.

The discovery of anomalies in the cable jacket insulation threatened to derail project timelines and compliance.

The engagement of an independent quality assurance asset monitoring expert, provided objective data and proof of the cabling issue. With several companies involved in pre-commissioning, the evidence was critical in preventing a ‘blame game’.

This issue is potentially present in all new energy projects and needs immediate action.

The Problem Insulation irregularities caused by deviations in the cable jacket

Tasked with installing a state-of-the-art cable system, the company faced unexpected challenges when insulation irregularities emerged, posing a risk to the project's success.

Initial tests showed deviations in the cable jacket insulation's integrity, critical for ensuring safety and reliability, with potential for project delays, financial losses, and safety compromises.

Intervention and Solution

machinemonitor® conducted an exhaustive pre-commissioning assessment, utilising advanced diagnostic tools to identify faults, ensuring industry standard compliance.

A detailed jacket test identified faults along the cable route, enabling precise and efficient remediation and setting the stage for successful commissioning.


  • Regulatory compliance ensured: machinemonitor’s intervention ensured the cable system met all industry standards, ensuring success and enhancing project credibility
  • Project timeline maintained: faults were identified and resolved quickly, preventing further project delays and removing the need for a ‘blame game’
  • Enhanced reliability: improved infrastructure reliability for the project reduced the risk of future disruption
  • Reduced greenhouse gas: by ensuring the project continued uninterrupted to commission stage, more green energy will be available for Australian households, reducing our carbon footprint

Cable crisis is likely an industry-wide issue

The discovery of the cabling issue on this project highlights the likelihood of cabling issues being present at similar projects that may go undetected until crisis and failure, especially as we expand green energy infrastructure around Australia.

To avoid expensive shutdowns and remedial work, spot testing of cables is recommended as part of the standard energy project pre-commissioning process.

If your project includes HV cabling we urge you to pay special attention to testing, including using external experts to assess insulation integrity.

Proactive maintenance and risk assessment is critical in averting significant operational and financial setbacks.

Ron Scollay will be speaking at the 22nd Machines Conference, at the MCEC in Melbourne as part of Australian Energy Week. 12-13 June 2024.

To access the detailed conference program, view the agenda or download the brochure here.