Use of drones: innovation in electricity grid supervision

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Unión Fenosa Distribución has incorporated the use of drones in the supervision of their electricity installations. Their innovative use represents a big step forward: it complements helicopter flights that capture information and replaces activities such as rooftop inspections, which will all be carried out by these remote controlled devices.

 

How do they work?

The project team comprises a certified pilot, who flies the aircraft, and an operator, who deals with the information collected, together they control the drone up to a maximum height of 50 metres to focus its zoom on the most important areas for operational support or elements that need to be inspected. Once a target has been located, it collects information from all angles and focuses on the power cables to display the line trajectory and its surroundings.

It increases operator safety because it reduces the number of times work is carried out at height by people for the thorough inspection of support structures or checking outdoor substations. Furthermore, it increases productivity in power line checking by 20% and allows costs to be reduced by up to 30%.

The drones check over 235 km of power lines in the province of Leon

For the last five months, Unión Fenosa Distribución has been using drones to check the more than 250 kilometres of high-voltage power lines and 1,000 support structures managed by the company in the province of Leon. In this region, drones have been used on over 350 kilometres and checked over 1,800 high-voltage support structures.

Unión Fenosa Distribución supplies electricity to almost 168,000 supply points in 117 municipalities in the province of Leon via a power grid of almost 7,300 kilometres. In Castile-Leon, the company manages 310,000 supply points in 325 municipalities via a high-, medium- and low-voltage power grid of over 14,300 kilometres.

Source: Gas Natural Fenosa