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LineVision lidar monitors New York power lines

22 Dec 2021

Sensors will assess the condition of lines and assist towards decarbonization goals.

Lidar equipment from Massachusetts-based LineVision will be deployed to monitor power transmission lines operated by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) in Franklin and Clinton counties, the latest installation of LineVision sensors for this application.

As well as collecting data on conductor health and the real-time detection of anomalies and potential risks, the sensors will help NYPA's efforts towards unlocking additional transmission capacity, so enabling more renewable energy to reach the grid.

In particular, real-time monitoring is intended to assist with dynamic line rating, an approach to power transmission in which loading is matched to prevailing environmental conditions without compromising safety.

In November 2021 the company announced a similar deal to install line sensors in Northern Ireland, and the previous month it partnered with Japan's Marubeni Corporation to allow Marubeni to supply LineVision technology to the power supply industry in that country.

"NYPA is continuing to demonstrate its commitment to reliably delivering low-cost energy by utilizing innovative technologies, such as LineVision, to optimize the existing grid," said LineVision CEO Hudson Gilmer.

"Grid enhancing technologies like dynamic line ratings can help New York State meet its ambitious climate goals sooner by unlocking previously unavailable grid capacity allowing for accelerated integration of renewable energy. We are thrilled to be a part of the solution."

LineVision's L3 transmission line monitoring system combines a lidar optical sensor to monitor the position and motion of power line conductor components, and an EMF sensor for measurement of the electrical parameters associated with the supply. The platform is intended to provide data relating to dynamic line ratings, conductor sag and clearance, conductor temperature and weather data, according to LineVision.

Velodyne sensor technology

LineVision employs technology from lidar specialists Velodyne, specifically the California company's Puck lidar sensor, designed to demonstrate a 100 meter range at an operational wavelength of 905 nanometers.

"Velodyne is an important partner in helping us deliver the electric industry's only non-contact overhead line monitoring solution," said Jonathan Marmillo of LineVision in October 2020 when the two companies signed a formal sales agreement. "The Puck provides our V3 system with what I believe is best-in-class image resolution and real-time data accuracy that are essential to helping our utility clients maximize the safety and efficiency of their lines."

Velodyne targets its lidar sensors at a number of application sectors, including security and drone/UAV uses. It also intends to sell them into the automotive sector, but this market has proven to be sufficiently crowded that Velodyne's bottom line and that of other suppliers have taken a financial hit.

In May 2021 Velodyne was one of two lidar companies reporting significant losses in their latest quarterly results as they waited for automarket market demand to accelerate. Later in the year strained relations between Velodyne and its estranged founder David Hall led to a round of accusations regarding conflicts of interest and other concerns.

The monitoring of power transmission lines looks at present to be a more secure sector, partly due to the emphasis being placed on adequate line monitoring by transmission companies mindful of the move towards greener and renewable sources.

"This collaborative effort between NYPA and LineVision to develop innovative non-contact technology provides real-time data regarding current conditions with power lines, helping to improve reliability of our transmission assets," commented Doreen Harris of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) which supplied funding to the installation project.

"Being able to anticipate what preventative maintenance is needed to optimize and ensure the safety of the State's power lines will help us scale up our grid modernization efforts and integrate more renewable energy."

TRIOPTICS GmbHLASEROPTIK GmbHHyperion OpticsLaCroix Precision OpticsMad City Labs, Inc.Universe Kogaku America Inc.CeNing Optics Co Ltd
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