Reinventing the grid for the IoT era
LineVision launched in May of 2018 with a mission to monitor, optimize and protect the world’s critical energy delivery infrastructure. Their clients include many leading electric utilities and midstream pipeline owners.
LineVision’s pioneering monitoring systems give power utilities unprecedented, moment-to-moment insight into the health and capability of the high-voltage transmission lines that move power from generating sites (like power plants) to electrical substations for local distribution.
These wireless, non-contact monitors continuously monitor the electrical and physical properties of transmission lines, increasing the capacity, flexibility and safety of the grid.
We are doing business with utilities around the world. Soracom gives us a consistent and scalable solution that works in every country we operate and delivers the end-to-end security our utility clients demand.
An aging grid with untapped potential
Transmission owners face the challenge of maintaining reliability and safety in the face of increasing extreme weather, more renewable generation, and aging infrastructure.
Events in California have shown the risk of extreme weather and highlighted the need for more monitoring so utilities can ensure their assets are operating safely and receive alerts when there are risks to public safety.
The unprecedented growth and variability of wind and solar has also placed strains on a transmission grid, resulting in over $6B in congestion costs in 2018 in the US, and curtailments of up to 15% of renewable generation.
With estimates that over half of all transmission lines were built 40+ years ago, transmission owners also face the challenge of assessing the asset health of their infrastructure and making informed condition-based decisions.
All of these challenges call for more data and monitoring which is consistent with utility strategies of digitization, end-to-end situational awareness and asset health monitoring. Perhaps surprisingly, while utilities have good visibility into the condition of assets like transformers within their substations, most don’t yet monitor the transmission lines which form the backbone of our electric grid.
LineVision’s sensors provide continuous monitoring of the transmission line. The patented non-contact design mounts on the tower structure, eliminating the need for scheduled outages or specialized equipment. Once installed, LineVision’s V3 system continuously monitors everything from ambient temperature, tensile strength, and vertical clearance to dynamic conductor rating and projected conductor end of life.
Measurements are sent over an encrypted VPN over cellular networks to LineVision’s cloud, where advanced analytics are used to calculate operational parameters, dynamic ratings, real-time alerts and asset health analysis. Users can log in to a web interface to see real-time and historical data on all their monitored lines.
The LineVision system offers 3 key benefits for electric utilities – increased reliability, additional capacity, and asset health monitoring for aging infrastructure.
The LineAware module helps utilities improve situational awareness and reliability by ensuring their lines are operating safely and delivering alerts in the event of anomalies that may pose a risk to public safety.
The same sensors also can unlock between 15 and 40% additional capacity on existing lines through LineVision’s LineRate module. This collects data on the line sag and related conductor temperature to calculate dynamic line ratings, which are generally 15-40% higher. The result is reduced congestion and renewables curtailment.
Finally, with LineHealth, utilities can assess the condition and remaining asset life of their transmission lines and understand the impact of age, extreme weather and high temperatures on their assets.
Reliability, usability, and control
Before being introduced to Soracom, LineVision had previously worked with a large US mobile operator but had been very frustrated by the limitations of the available management interface. Soracom’s web-based management console offered a huge forward in usability. “We are doing business with utilities around the world,” said Hudson Gilmer, CEO of LineVision. “Soracom gives us a consistent and scalable solution that works in every country we operate and delivers the end-to-end security our utility clients demand.”
LineVision also found immediate value in the ability to configure data caps using the Soracom API. In their initial deployment, the team had encountered a problem with a large data file being sent over the air and rejected. This created a data transmission loop that generated hundreds of dollars in unplanned data cost in just a few days.
Unexpected overages can be a common issue in IoT deployments, which is why the Soracom API is designed to offer users programmatic control over their data traffic. LineVision Commercial Manager Kate Merna notes that “Soracom’s customer service was great about helping us make sure we have measures in place to prevent something similar from happening again.”
Services in use
A global opportunity
Around the world, we see a more digital, electric and green future. LineVision, with the help of Soracom, is playing an important role in this energy transition, helping electric utilities monitor their critical lines and enable a safer, more efficient and cleaner grid.