Power industry embraces IoT technology

  • October 3, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

The power and utilities industry is embracing advances in technology such as the IoT and digital twins to create a resilient energy infrastructure, according to consultancy GlobalData.

In the dynamic landscape of the power and utilities industry, power lines are seeing a paradigm shift driven by technologies such as AI, digital twins, IoT and robotics. These innovations have enabled remote monitoring and predictive maintenance, improving the reliability and efficiency of power transmission networks.

Whether it is optimising the overhead or underground power lines or leveraging drones for inspections, the industry is continuously evolving to ensure a smarter and more resilient energy infrastructure, says GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

“The power industry’s strategic adoption of AI, digital twins and IIoT represents a significant move towards data-centric operations,” said Vaibhav Gundre, project manager at at GlobalData. “Such integration allows utilities to optimise the management of power infrastructure, leading to minimised downtime and enhanced grid stability. Keeping pace with these technological evolutions is paramount for ensuring an energy future marked by elevated efficiency and reduced environmental footprint.”

Rahul Kumar Singh, senior analyst at GlobalData, added: “Complementing these developments, the power industry’s incorporation of robotics and drones for maintenance underlines its commitment to operational excellence and safety. These technologies facilitate precise inspections and repairs, mitigating human risk and streamlining cost structures. The transition towards digitising analogue assets and enabling remote maintenance not only fortifies grid resilience but also positions the industry for more sustainable and dependable energy distribution.”

GlobalData’s FutureTech series report is called “Power lines in Utilities 2.0: how tech is driving the sector innovation” (www.globaldata.com/store/report/power-lines-in-utilities-trend-analysis), and highlights more than 30 disruptive forces in power and utilities as emerging, accelerating and maturing innovation areas based on their rate of growth in innovation.

Examples include National Grid partnering with Line Vision in October 2022 to boost overhead power line capacity through sensor installation and a dynamic line rating (DLR) platform, enabling real-time capacity improvements.

Electric Power Development collaborated with Okayama University in June 2022 to create autonomous drone-based photography technology for transmission line monitoring, enhancing inspection quality and safety through sensors and image processing.

ISA CTeep joined forces with Drone Power in August 2021 to create an incinerating drone designed to eliminate objects, such as balloons and kites, that pose a threat to electricity supply by falling onto transmission lines.

“The power industry’s progressive integration of AI, digital twins, IIoT, robotics and drones underscores a transformative shift towards data-driven and automated operations,” said Singh. “By digitising traditional assets and emphasising remote maintenance, the industry is not only enhancing grid robustness but also setting a new benchmark for efficient, safe and sustainable energy distribution. As these technologies become integral to the sector, a future of increased operational efficiency, reduced environmental impact and heightened safety is being paved.”