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UK Electric Distributor to Use Data Analysis to Improve Infrastructure

Western Distribution selects Fugro to unlock value from its airborne survey data.

Western Power Distribution (WPD), a UK energy distributor, has awarded Fugro a two-year contract to process and publish data of its overhead network. Fugro’s  Roames solution will help WPD unlock value from its data, providing the Digital Foundation to design, construct and maintain its infrastructure in a safe, reliable and efficient manner. 

Over the coming two years, WPD will be acquiring the data using its fleet of helicopters and lidar, an airborne remote sensing technique. Under the new agreement, Fugro develops lidar applications using its Roames Virtual World Asset Management solution to deliver 2D and 3D models, analytics and reports. Quick turnaround and cloud processing of the enormous datasets are key components of the project. The results will provide valuable information to WPD as part of its vegetation management activity and compliance with relevant statutory clearance requirements associated with its overhead network. 

Every year WPD assesses the reliability and status of a network that extends to about 25,000 line-km and consists of voltages between 132 kV and 11 kV. To further its capabilities, the company plans to enhance the lidar data it acquires, using it to assist in vegetation management, engineering and measuring conductor clearances. 

Speaking on the award of the contract Robin Tutcher, Accountable Manager, Western Power Distribution Helicopter Unit says, “We look forward to developing a long-term partnership with Fugro on what we view is a unique service within the utility industry. With our state-of-the art airborne acquisition capability and Fugro’s experience in developing, presenting and managing power line lidar data, we can create a cost-effective, timely and innovative approach.” 

The project, which commenced in early April, will allow WPD to disseminate critical asset information across its organization, enabling asset management optimizations and cost savings while reducing risk. Once multiple datasets are available, Fugro will also assist WPD in identifying significant changes in assets and the development of vegetation growth models.    

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