LineVision to run transmission line monitoring pilot with SMUD


LineVision, one of pv magazine’s three energy startups to watch in 2021, has come to an agreement with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) on a pilot project for the company’s V3 monitoring system.

Under the pilot, LineVision’s Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)-powered V3 monitoring system will be installed across power lines in the greater Sacramento region for SMUD. The pilot project will focus primarily on power lines originating from the Upper American River Project hydropower stations in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Lake Tahoe, which generates nearly 700 MW and accounts for nearly 20% of SMUD’s customer demand in an average water year.

The V3 monitor uses thermal sensing and light detection and ranging (LIDAR) to “look out” at the span of the line, predict the dynamic line rating, and determine sway, temperature, and other variables that impact the safety and performance of the line. Each V3 monitor contains an electromagnetic field radiation sensor for collecting real-time data on the line’s electrical properties, while the optical sensor tracks each conductor’s position.

Additionally, the V3 monitor does not make contact with the lines, so utilities don’t have to shut down power to install and manage the system.

The pilot project will monitor transmission assets to identify if additional capacity is available during certain times of the year and will allow SMUD to proactively alleviate renewable energy bottlenecks on the system. Alleviating renewable energy bottlenecks is one of the foundational goals of LineVision, with a source close to the company telling pv magazine back in January that up to 40% of renewables aren’t getting onto the grid because utilities don’t understand what their line ratings are.

It’s been estimated that such bottlenecks cause $8 billion in losses annually across the nation’s electric grid.

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