How to Get Up to 40% More Capacity from Existing Power Grid Transmission Lines

How to Get Up to 40% More Capacity from Existing Power Grid Transmission Lines

Experts claim power grid infrastructure needs to be upgraded to accommodate the vast amount of renewable energy expected to be added to the system in coming decades. That could require billions of dollars in investments, millions of hours of planning and permitting work, and years of construction in the field.

Another option that could help is to optimize existing grid components. While increasing the capacity of present power lines may not preclude the need for upgrades down the road, it could reduce the urgency and eliminate some of the congestion on the system in the near term.

One way to maximize line capacity is through closer monitoring of conductors. “LineVision is a grid technology company that is working with leading utilities around the world to solve some of the most critical challenges they’re facing,” Hudson Gilmer, CEO of LineVision, said as a guest on The POWER Podcast. “What we have developed is a platform that uses advanced sensors and analytics to increase the capacity, the resilience, and safety of our electric grid.”

LineVision claims its V3 System for electric utilities is the only system that can monitor all conductors in a circuit with just one system, allowing for complete visibility of the asset instead of just one phase. It combines two patented technologies for “unrivaled accuracy and ease of installation,” according to the company. Each V3 monitor contains a proven electromagnetic field (EMF) sensor for collecting real-time data on the line’s electrical properties, while an optical sensor tracks each conductor’s precise position. The flexible non-contact system can be mounted on power line tower structures (Figure 1), eliminating the need for costly specialized equipment or difficult to obtain outages.

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1. LineVision’s overhead line monitoring system provides operators with real-time situational awareness, triggering alerts when measured clearances and horizontal motion exceeds design allowances. Courtesy: LineVision 

“What may be surprising to many of your listeners is that these high-voltage lines—these transmission lines and even distribution lines—that really form the backbone of our electric grid are not monitored today. Utilities have invested a lot in technologies that monitor equipment within their substations, but one of the last frontiers where they don’t monitor the condition of their grid is the overhead lines,” Gilmer said.