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Drones Fill Gaps in Grid Inspection

Ice-covered power grids can cause conductors, ground wires and towers to be subjected to abnormal tensions, resulting in mechanical damage such as twisting and collapsing. And because insulators covered with ice or melting process will cause the insulation coefficient to drop, easy to form flashover. 2008 winter, an ice, resulting in China’s 13 southern provinces power system, part of the slice of the grid and the main network unlinked. Nationwide, 36,740 power lines were out of service due to the disaster, 2018 substations were out of service, and 8,381 towers of 110 kV and above power lines were down due to the disaster. As many as 170 counties (cities) were without power nationwide, and some areas were without power for more than 10 days. The disaster also caused some railroad traction substations to lose power, and the operation of electrified railroads such as Beijing-Guangzhou, Hukun and Yingxia was interrupted.

The ice disaster in January 2016, although the two networks have improved the level of preparedness for the disaster, still caused 2,615,000 users to be without power, counting 2 35kV lines tripped and 122 10KV lines tripped, bringing great impact on people’s life and production.


Before this winter’s cold wave, the State Grid Power Supply Company has made all kinds of preparations. Among them, part of the power grid in Mudanggang, Ya Juan Township, Shaoxing Shengzhou is located in the mountainous area, and the special geographic conditions and climatic characteristics make this area of the line often become the earliest risk point for ice overlay in the whole of Zhejiang. And this area at the same time is very prone to extreme weather such as ice-covered roads, rain and snow, making it difficult for manual inspections.


And at this critical moment, the drone took up the mountainous areas covered with ice inspection of the heavy responsibility. the early morning of December 16, the mountainous areas of the temperature has dropped to below zero degrees, the probability of ice disaster dramatically increased. Shaoxing power transmission operation and inspection center inspectors, in the snow and ice covered mountain road to the target line, the car anti-skid chain are broken a few. After inspectors assessed the difficulty and risk, the team planned to release the drone.

Shaoxing Transmission Operation and Inspection Center also experimented with a drone plus LIDAR for ice cover scanning. The drone carries the lidar pod, real-time generation of three-dimensional point cloud model, online calculation of arc and cross span distance. The collected curvature of the ice-covered arc pendant combined with the type of conductor and span parameters can quickly calculate the weight of the conductor ice-covered, to assess the degree of risk.


It is reported that this is the first time that China’s power grid has used a drone to carry out long-duration ice-covering inspection. This innovative inspection method allows the grid operation and maintenance department to grasp the degree of ice-covering risk and accurately locate the risk points in the fastest time and in a safer way. The UAV’s low-temperature adaptability, long flight time and wind resistance were well proven in this mission. It adds another effective means for power grid ice-covering inspection and fills the blank of ice disaster inspection under severe weather, and we believe that UAVs will be more widely popularized and applied in this field in the future.

Post time: Dec-19-2023