Voltex Vortex

We aim to be at the centre of your world. Specialising in HV Power, from Design to End-of-Life.

Richard Ratcliffe – Power Systems Protection Engineer

After completing an apprenticeship with Anglo American Corp – Sugar Industry, and also gaining an Advanced Certificate in Electrical Engineering, Richard covered all aspects of the sugar industry which included milling, power generation, and processing, as well as maintenance of cane loading and electric locomotive systems. Richard followed his passion for power systems installation and commissioning, with global manufacturers Alstom and ABB in New Zealand.

Following on from maintenance work on HVDC Converters for the 220 kV DC Link , as a team leader with Alstom, Richard installed and commissioned 22/220 kV 135 MVA transformers and 135 MVA hydro generating equipment and cables at Manapouri Power Station, including type testing after refurbishment. He later joined ABB NZ as a Protection Testing Technician in power systems up to 220 kV. He gained experience in HV acceptance tests and certification of primary switchgear testing, condition monitoring tests of low to high voltage indoor and outdoor switchgear, relay protection systems and testing of sub-stations, feeders, generators, transmission lines, and all aspects of commissioning.

After successful completion of major projects such as Manapouri Hydro Upgrade, a number of Transpower (New Zealand) sub-station upgrades, commissioning of MV Switchgear at Goro Nickel in New Caledonia, and a taste of Australia at Hamersley Iron’s Yandi Mine’s 220 kV Substation upgrade in WA’s Pilbara region, he finally left the land of the long white cloud, for his third major switchgear manufacturer, and joined Schneider Electric as Senior Protection Technician in the Engineered Services division.

As Power Systems Protection Engineer for Voltex, he has designed an implemented maintenance and upgrade programs and works for the ageing HV systems on Carnival P&O cruise ships, and at MMG’s Century Zinc Mine. Richard has commissioned 100 panels of 11 kV and 33 kV switchgear and protection relays, and transformers for Newcrest’s Lihir Gold MOPU Project, as well as providing professional guidance on site regarding recloser operations and protection grading, managing major breakdown situations, and designing relay retrofits to improve Newcrest’s Power and Utilities operation.

OceanaGold engaged Richard to lead the Voltex teams in commissioning generators and HV switchgear at their Didipio Project in the Philippines. Voltex continues to be the service provider of choice for HV design and commissioning for OceanaGold, and Richard again led the team during commissioning of their Grid Connection project.

When ExxonMobil were requested by the PNG Power utility to provide additional grid support from their LNG generation plant during the Pacific Games in Port Moresby in 2015, Richard and his protection team were there to ensure that Wood Group were able to commission the 33/66kV system to export power within 30 days of the first plant arriving at site for installation.

Richard’s wide field experiences over 18 years with three of the world’s major HV equipment suppliers, and familiarity with a variety of protection relays and test equipment qualifies him as one of Australia’s leading power protection specialists.

Qualifications: AD Elect, High Voltage Auditor