ENERGY & UTILITIES

Drones are transforming utility and energy operations, driving safety, efficiency, and greater access to data. From site selection and environmental mitigation to surveying and identifying leaks even underground, drones are becoming an essential for utility and energy companies that want to save time and money. Without drones, inspections are typically completed manually, using climbing, bucket trucks, long-range photography. Clearly, manual inspections involving climbing or using buckets introduce hazards that are avoided with drones. Ground-based data collection typically lacks the detail and flexibility that a drone can provide. Drones can also be used to inspect areas, structures or equipment that would otherwise be impossible for inspectors to reach like the small spaces of an industrial chimney. With reduced inspection times, there is focus more on the information at hand and get a better picture of their operations. No need to spend a bunch of money, time, and days looking at something that can be done in a couple of hours with a drone. There is also a very high indirect savings by not having to shut down the flare stack, turbine, or powerline for the inspection. Perhaps most importantly, the use of a drone for energy infrastructures instead of a human will keep these people out of dangerous situations. 

Use Cases

Powerlines inspection

  • Interactive visual simulations, like transmission line tower heights 
  • Inspection of T&D lines for equipment wear, corrosion, leaning, sagging wires, broken insulators or stay wires 
  • Substation equipment inspections 

Pipelines inspection

  • Gas pipeline inspections and leak detection 
  • Vegetation management inspections for water pipeline rights-of-way 
  • Inspection of underwater intake pipes 

Dam inspection

  • Reservoir monitoring, including water level trends related to climate change. 
  • Hydroelectric dam inspections, including fish ladders on older dam systems.
  • Aqueduct and canal inspections.

Solar panels inspection

  • Pinpointing malfunctioning solar panels 
  • Mapping ideal orientation of solar panels to maximize energy output.

Wind energy inspection

    • Wind turbine preventive maintenance inspections
    • Internal structure inspections at wind farms 

Benefits

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