ARENA backs Infravision’s next-gen sensor technology

Infravision drone under transmission tower (ARENA)

Infravision’s new state-of-the-art sensor technology that enables safer operation of electricity transmission lines and greater penetration of renewables will receive funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

ARENA will provide more than $732,000 to Infravision to help develop and trial it’s Next Generation Line Monitoring System, which can be installed by a drone on transmission lines, uses sensors to deliver real-time information about environmental factors that can affect line capacity, such as wind and high temperatures.

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This information can be used to measure transmission capacity more accurately than traditional methods. The capacity data will enable transmission lines to safely dispatch more electricity, including from cheaper sources like renewables.

Transgrid executive general manager of network Marie Jordan said, “This is clever technology which provides real-time data we can use to ensure transmission lines are operating as effectively as possible for consumers. 

“This system enables us to receive data in real-time which can be used to calculate a Dynamic Line Rating to determine if more electricity can be dispatched along a line in favourable conditions when it’s safe to do so,” she said. 

Currently lines are given a Static Line Rating, which make assumptions to ensure lines can always operate safely but don’t consider current environmental conditions. Safe line capacity can be affected by several factors, including wind, temperature, and nearby vegetation. 

“Having a Dynamic Line Rating will help us continue operating the network safely such as during bushfire periods when we can manage any risks in real-time to reduce potential damage to both the network and environment. 

“Increasing capacity by maximising existing infrastructure means we can optimise our existing assets with real time information and support the transition to renewable energy,” Jordan said. 

Related article: Transgrid completes Snowy Mountain bushfire repairs

Infravision is an Australian firm specialising in high-tech solutions to reduce the risk and cost of installing and maintaining electricity cables. The government’s support for the $1.8 million project will help the start-up work with Transgrid to trial the next-generation system on transmission lines in Western Sydney.

The new system supports other emerging technologies, such as virtual powerlines, being deployed in Australia and can help to reduce risks to the network in real-time during bushfire periods.

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