Satellites for Fault Location

Satellites for Fault Location

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Q: When will satellites be able to provide fault location and assist in damage assessment by monitoring real time flashes and allowing operators to zoom in on affected areas, assuming an interface with the utility's OMS and asset management systems? I assume the military capabilities to do similar reconnaissance are there now.

J. Tarpey

A: Satellites could be useful in number of power system related applications, like for reconnaissance of transmission lines and substations, especially security reasons. However, for fault location the situation is often different. Electrical faults do not always result in flashes (or even fires) or might not be visible from the space (for example, faults inside the equipment or inside a substation building). Many faults are solid and the actual light emitted from them is either none or minimal. It all depends on the nature of the electrical arc. It is the electrical arc that emits the light (flash).

I agree satellites can provide very useful information regarding weather related lightning strikes, which often cause outages and generate faults in power systems. These weather related applications of satellites and radar are already used by power system operators. Satellite communication has long been used in utility networks for SCADA and other applications.

Dr. Mietek Glinkowski, P.E
Global Head of Technology
ABB Inc.

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