Currently line inspections on our Overhead Transmission Lines are carried out manually. To carry out these inspections the lines need to be switched out and then the inspectors are deployed to carry out visual inspections on all structures and equipment associated with the line by climbing the structure. This leads to long outages and safety risks for staff.
A specification has been produced by ESB Networks called “Specification for the Inspection of Live 38kV, 110kV, 220kV, 275kV and 400kV Overhead Power Lines using Drones – UAVs” and ESB Networks plan to go out to tender with a view to engaging a Service Provider to inspect all Transmission Lines using drones.
This will lead to an assessment of the capability of drone inspections to potentially provide a low cost, higher quality method of asset inspection, with better scope to apply data analytics and with greater consistency of data. Associated impacts should be improved asset management resulting in lower costs, more focussed maintenance and refurbishment, with greater reliability and safety.