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BPA Adopts GeoDigital Tech To Protect Grid Against Vegetation Growth strukt/iStock/Thinkstock

BPA Adopts GeoDigital Tech To Protect Grid Against Vegetation Growth

Advanced technology combats greatest threat to the power grid: tree limbs and vegetation Predictive analytics prioritizes vegetation threats for mobile-enabled field crews Boosts system reliability and productivity on thousands of miles of transmission lines

Bonneville Power Administration has selected the GeoDigital mapping and data analytics solution to boost the cost-effectiveness of the utility's vegetation-management program. BPA is a federal agency that markets and transmits electricity in the Pacific Northwest.

The vegetation solution, built by Atlanta's GeoDigital, will assist BPA in assessing and managing the growth of trees and other vegetation surrounding 15,000 miles of power-transmission lines. BPA's decision to invest in spatial data and analytics is part of its public service commitment to efficiently deliver high reliability with environmental stewardship.

"BPA was looking to collect spatial data to proactively prevent vegetation-related outages," said Chuck Sheppard, transmission strategy portfolio manager for BPA. "With such detailed insights, the benefits of spatial data are across the board – from accurately identifying and prioritizing risks to the grid and their exact locations, to mobile-enabling our workforce for safer and more efficient work in the field.

"It will also reduce vegetation-management program costs, potentially pre-empt outages, and simplify compliance with FAC003-3 rules on vegetation clearances," he said.

BPA's service area comprises 300,000 square miles across eight states, where the power agency operates and maintains about 75 percent of the high-voltage power-transmission lines. Preventing vegetation encroachment is a complex task due to the region's rural and extreme terrain, requiring frequent manual inspections by hundreds of field crews employed by the utility or contracting service companies.

GeoDigital's vegetation solution provides analytics and work-management software to predict and prioritize vegetation issues that pose outage risks and set priority maintenance issues. By digitizing vegetation management, utilities can more efficiently manage thousands of miles of power lines in remote locations.

"Once a low-profile function, vegetation management is of paramount importance to energy providers," said Chris Warrington, GeoDigital president and CEO. "Many of the country's most trusted and respected power companies, like BPA, are turning to us to help transform their vegetation-management operations.  BPA, a longtime customer of ours, chose to expand its footprint with GeoDigital.  We look forward to helping BPA generate actionable insights -- continually raising the bar in delivering energy to consumers reliably, cost-effectively and with environmental responsibility."

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