The New York Power Authority (NYPA) plans to deploy light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology to monitor the health of its grid and to help it unlock transmission capacity to enable more renewable energy to reach the grid.
The LiDAR sensors will be deployed to monitor NYPA’s 230-kilovolt (kV) transmission lines in Franklin and Clinton counties in upstate New York to provide insight into conductor health and to detect in real time anomalies and potential risks.
The technology, developed by LineVision, uses sensors mounted to transmission towers and combines an electromagnetic field sensor with a scanning optical sensor using LiDAR. The real time data provided by the technologies delivers data on conductor positions and temperatures and alerts on anomalous behavior to help ensure safe clearances are maintained.
The analytics platform connected to the sensors also evaluates the condition of conductors, helping to determine when line maintenance is required, and can safely increase existing transmission capacity through the application of dynamic line ratings.
NYPA says recent studies have shown grid-enhancing technologies can help double renewable energy integration, while dynamic line ratings have shown the ability to increase capacity on power lines by as much as 40 percent.
NYPA said the new technology will also give it real-time situational awareness of grid conditions by measuring blowout and phase-to-phase distance, providing alerts on dangerous conditions that can cause wildfires or on anomalous and damaging events such as high amplitude vibrations and icing.
NYPA’s Moses-Willis-Plattsburgh transmission line is vulnerable to vibrations and icing because of its location in the northern most portion of the state near the Canadian border.
The grid sensing project is being supported by a $376,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) Smart Grid program for which NYPA and LineVision jointly applied.
In 2019, NYPA received a $125,000 grant from the American Public Power Association’s Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Development (DEED) program for a project that integrated LiDAR technology into an existing in-house drone program for inspecting transmission rights of way for vegetation management.
In California, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) is using LiDAR as part of a suite of tools to help it manage vegetation on its right of ways to help reduce the risk of wildfires.
In Arizona, Salt River Project is using LiDAR to help monitor forest and reservoir conditions of its water resources.