Linevision Line

NYPA Deploys LiDAR Technology to Optimize Capacity, Resilience of Transmission Lines

Dec. 21, 2021
The non-contact LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors will be deployed to monitor NYPA’s 230kV transmission lines in Franklin and Clinton counties in upstate New York.

The New York Power Authority announced today that it will deploy grid enhancing technology to help unlock additional transmission capacity to enable more renewable energy to reach the grid. The non-contact LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors will be deployed to monitor NYPA’s 230kV transmission lines in Franklin and Clinton counties in upstate New York. In addition to unlocking additional capacity the sensor data will provide insight into conductor health and the real-time detection of anomalies and potential risks.

The grid enhancing technology was developed by LineVision, a Boston-based firm that works with utilities to provide real-time, actionable data that optimizes the performance of transmission assets. Recent studies have shown grid enhancing technologies can help double renewable energy integration, while dynamic line ratings have shown the ability to increase capacity on power lines by as much as 40%.

NYPA, which applied jointly with LineVision for a $376,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Smart Grid program toward the project, has been exploring advanced transmission technologies such as dynamic line ratings to enhance the transmission capacity of existing lines and modernize future lines. Being able to monitor actual conditions throughout transmission line corridors instead of relying on static historical data helps ensure safe and reliable operation.

“This collaborative effort between NYPA and LineVision to develop innovative non-contact technology provides real-time data regarding current conditions with power lines, helping to improve reliability of our transmission assets, said  Doreen M. Harris, president and CEO, NYSERDA. "Being able to anticipate what preventative maintenance is needed to optimize and ensure the safety of the State’s power lines will help us scale up our grid modernization efforts and integrate more renewable energy.”

LineVision’s sensors are mounted to the transmission towers and combine an electromagnetic field sensor (EMF) with a scanning optical sensor using LiDAR. The real time data provided by the technologies delivers unique insights including monitored conductor positions, temperatures, and alerts on anomalous behavior ensuring safe clearances are maintained. The advanced analytics of the platform evaluate the current health condition of conductors, helping to determine when line maintenance is required, and can safely increase existing transmission capacity by as much as 40% through the application of dynamic line ratings.

In addition, the system provides real-time situational awareness, measuring blowout and phase-to-phase distance, alerting on dangerous conditions that can cause wildfires, or anomalous and damaging events such as high amplitude vibrations and icing. Exposure along the NYPA’s Moses-Willis-Plattsburgh line presents areas of concern with vibrations and icing in particular due to its location in New York’s North Country, which can have extreme winter temperatures.

Transformation of the state’s electrical grid is critically needed in New York State to help relieve transmission congestion and to integrate more renewables into the grid. One of NYPA’s priorities under its VISION2030 strategic vision calls for becoming the state’s leading transmission developer, owner and operator through significant investments in support of the State’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act), which challenges New York to move to 70% renewable generation by 2030 and achieve 100 percent zero-emission electricity by 2040.

“NYPA is continuing to demonstrate its commitment to reliably delivering low-cost energy by utilizing innovative technologies, such as LineVision, to optimize the existing grid,” said Hudson Gilmer, CEO of LineVision. “Grid enhancing technologies like dynamic line ratings can help New York State meet its ambitious climate goals sooner by unlocking previously unavailable grid capacity allowing for accelerated integration of renewable energy. We are thrilled to be a part of the solution.”

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