Network operator SA Power Networks has found drones can help with more than just asset inspections and outage restoration—they even have a role to play in protecting fragile native vegetation.
In the latest demonstration of their value, a drone has been used on a re-string of power lines in the Uley Bore Field, west of Pt Lincoln, with a key aim being to protect fragile native vegetation.
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SA Water is installing three new bores at the bore field, which is the principal water source for Eyre Peninsula, including the city of Port Lincoln.
“We used this method to minimise the impact of our works on native vegetation,” SA Power Networks head of corporate affairs Paul Roberts said.
“Drones are delivering value by minimising impact of our work on customers and their property, including avoiding entering cropped areas where we can, and for safety of our people to avoid potential hazards. This was the first time we had used a drone to reduce the risk of damaging fragile native vegetation.”
“We have now trained 29 people as drone pilots in the SA Power Networks Field Services, Asset Management and Vegetation Operations teams,” Roberts said.
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“We soon will have drones and trained pilots in all of our regional depots. The drones are particularly suited to helping identify hard to find faults and we also have used them in scoping work in difficult locations.”
SA Power Networks is known for its use of innovative cutting-edge technology in maintaining the network. Last year, it employed a robotic dog named Spot to search for damaged powerlines, taking asset inspection to a new level.