Online Extra: More on NERC
Online Extra: More on NERC
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Online Extra: More on NERC
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Using LiDAR, hundreds of utilities are conducting aerial surveys of the 100-kV and greater transmission lines to collect data points.

For the past three years, energy giant Pacific Gas & Electric on the West Coast, Duke Energy on the East Coast, and hundreds of utilities in between have conducted aerial surveys of thousands of miles of their 100-kV and greater transmission lines.

They're using LiDAR, a remote sensing technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analyzing the reflected light, to collect billions of data points that allow Burns & McDonnell engineers to verify their line clearances based on actual field conditions and assess the impact any discrepancies could have on their system's reliability.

"Most transmission lines were designed and constructed prior to the digital age," said Jamey Bertram, a project manager in Burns & McDonnell's Transmission & Distribution Group, which performs these assessment and mitigation services. "Through this validation process, utilities are learning if their transmission line ratings are impacted by field conditions, while generating a needed digital version of the transmission line design in the process."

These assessments are being performed as a result of a Facility Ratings Alert issued in 2010, after NERC discovered reliability concerns related to transmission line performance. NERC periodically issues such alerts when it identifies or is provided information that could negatively affect the bulk power system's reliability.

For more information, contact Jamey Bertram, 816-822-3110.

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