What They Do
LineVision can enable electric utilities to rapidly connect more renewable generation to the grid. The company’s patented sensor and data analytics platform uses easily installed non-contact sensors mounted near the base of transmission towers to monitor line conditions in real time; assess how much electricity they can safely carry; and in turn increase line capacity when conditions permit, without physical upgrades to the system. This additional capacity, in many cases, can allow more renewable generation to safely connect to the transmission grid without the time or expense of upgrading transmission lines. The sensors also monitor asset health and enable an informed prioritization process for repairs and rebuilds.
“When we think of the energy transition, electrifying transportation and moving towards a zero-carbon grid and connecting more renewables, one of the biggest obstacles is congestion due to the limited capacity on the existing grid, that occurs when large amounts of electricity need to be carried over constrained transmission lines,” said Hudson Gilmer, CEO of LineVision. “LineVision represents a new model and technology to increase grid capacity through the use of advanced sensors and analytics.”
Why NGP Invested
Traditional processes to expand grid capacity, such as reconductoring, can be costly and time-consuming. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has recognized this, and proposals are in process to accelerate the adoption of Grid Enhancing Technologies. One such proposal would require utilities to transition from operating with static or seasonal ratings of transmission capacity to enabling advanced line ratings such as Dynamic Line Rating (DLR) that account for real-time conditions. A second FERC proposal could potentially incentivize utilities to deploy Grid Enhancing Technologies like DLR to improve transmission grid performance. LineVision addresses both regulatory changes and can unlock as much as 40 percent more transmission line capacity.
Beyond the need to expand transmission capacity, utilities also often lack cost-effective ways to assess the condition of older lines. Conventional methods mean either replacing assets on strict time-based schedules, which can be inefficient, or using procedures that require downtime and potentially destructive testing. LineVision’s platform allows utilities to better understand the health of their transmission lines without the need for invasive testing techniques.
Use Case — Benefits to National Grid and the Communities We Serve
During a pilot with LineRate® —LineVision’s dynamic line rating platform—in Massachusetts, National Grid assessed whether sensor data was coming in accurately, how difficult it was to maintain, and whether it was cost-effective. The conductor monitors tested were easy to install, reliable, and effective at reporting periods of either excess or limited capacity. LineRate helped National Grid monitor and forecast line capacity dynamically, using real-time field measurements of temperature, weather, wind, line sag, and other factors. Dynamic rating of the lines resulted in a 13 percent increase in the lines’ current capacity. “We own roughly 9,000 miles of transmission lines,” said Terron Hill, National Grid’s Director of Clean Energy Development. “We now have a proven way to get valuable, real-time data on how much power we can safely transmit through key locations.”
The LineVision team is also working with National Grid engineers to learn how to most effectively deploy sensors to assess line health in New York. “With this technology, we always have access to the health of the line,” said Babak Enayati, technology deployment manager at National Grid. “We know when it’s time to reconductor, and this will prevent unexpected outages that can impact the system’s resilience and reliability.”
Leading the Way and Delivering Impact
Using the LineVision platform, National Grid found better visibility into line capacity so more resources can be integrated safely. “We firmly believe that this will become the industry-standard practice,” said Gilmer. “Adding relatively low-cost sensors to improve the efficiency, the safety, and the flexibility of a grid is a no-brainer. National Grid is playing a very valuable role for the broader industry in terms of the adoption of this important technology, which is essential to enabling the energy transition: Electrification, integration of more renewables, and the de-carbonization of the grid.”