How to improve overhead line safety in wildfire territory

Written by: Hudson Gilmer | March 20, 2019
How to improve overhead line safety in wildfire territory

LineVision is looking forward to being a part of the discussion at California’s first Wildfire Technology Innovation Summit in Sacramento, March 20-21. The subject couldn’t be timelier. Together with national and international thought leaders and practitioners from state and local governments, academia and industry participants will identify and collaborate on the range of technological solutions and strategies to reduce the devastating impact of wildfires in California.

Looking at the operational experience in California over the last two fire seasons, lessons learned from San Diego’s safety practice and the tens of billions of dollars in liability facing Pacific Gas & Electric, we must look to innovative approaches and technologies that will protect both the public and utility stakeholders. 

There is no one solution that will resolve the challenges posed by wildfires. Rather a suite of technologies and strategies is needed to comprehensively address the threat of wildfires posed by utility infrastructure. Whether it be advanced computing that estimates fire threat or monitoring tools like satellites, synchrophasors or sensors that improve situational awareness for overhead lines, when combined these solutions will give utilities greatly improved visibility into managing wildfire risk.

For example, San Diego Gas & Electric recently deployed synchrophasor technology to determine specific types of failures through monitoring power and phase. By measuring current and voltage waves up to 60 times per second, which is 120 times more frequent than other available industrial controls, synchrophasors can send triggers to stop the flow of electricity on broken power lines before they hit the ground. LineVision’s non-contact sensors can also be a key part of the solution by giving utilities much greater visibility into the position and temperature of conductors and provide alerts if they begin operating outside of safe, acceptable limits, allowing utilities to take corrective action.  

There isn’t a magic bullet that will solve this challenge; it will be a suite of technology solutions working in tandem. We are looking forward to participating in these important discussions in Sacramento and demonstrating how LineVision’s overhead line technology fits into a comprehensive wildfire prevention plan for utilities in the state. 

Interested in meeting at the Summit? Schedule time with LineVision CEO Hudson Gilmer. 

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