United Power mitigates wildfire risk and improves reliability with AiDash
Satellite imagery brings Western U.S. utility accurate and historical data for precise vegetation management planning
Company: United Power
Location: Western United States
Solution : AiDash Intelligent Vegetation Management System (IVMS)
Manage vegetation in ROWs across 6,500 line miles of rugged terrain
What technologies will increase grid resiliency, improve reliability, and mitigate wildfire risk?
That’s the question United Power asked recently to advance and enhance their work to supply reliable electric power and outstanding service to more than 100,000 homes and businesses across Colorado’s Northern Front Range.
The United Power utility co-op members are served by power lines spanning over 6,500 line miles. This means a heavy burden of rights of way (ROWs) to keep clear.
The rugged terrain and weather conditions of the Mountain District — west of Boulder, Colorado, in Coal Creek Canyon and Golden Gate Canyon — made ground inspections difficult and inefficient. And prior tree-trimming records were limited, making it tough to factor history into planning.
ID risk and improve planning for accurate, cost-effective cycle trims
United Power implemented AiDash Intelligent Vegetation Management System (IVMS) in its Mountain District, in May 2021, to manage that district’s 400 miles of overhead line.
IVMS combines the power of AI with satellite imagery to identify vegetation risks along the United Power’s ROWs. The system:
- Detects horizontal and vertical distances between power lines and trees.
- Applies several years of historical satellite imagery to create a growth rate model of all vegetation.
- Develops an accurate and optimal trim cycle for each line segment.
In addition, the IVMS Risk Management module:
- Supports creation of cycle trim on a budget.
- Identifies 3 risks: wildfire, tree growth, and a criticality score for all circuits and line segments (showing number of members who would be affected by an outage caused by a hazard tree).
- Finds areas to remove vegetation in 0.3-mile sections (about 3 spans).
- Addresses hot spots.
Plus, the Hazard Tree module allows staff to photograph a hazard tree situation, which can be sent with an electronic order to contractors.
Meet targets of increased grid resiliency, improved reliability, and wildfire risk mitigation
Intelligent Vegetation Management System gives United Power a bird’s-eye view of the Mountain District’s T&D lines and has transformed its vegetation management. The utility can now plan efficiently to remove vegetation and avoid outages caused by trees.
- Cycle trims are prioritized according to urgency.
- Tasks are assigned via the mobile app.
- AI helps plan work around weather conditions.
- New efficiencies maximize the budget.
- Analysis of risk, tree growth, and criticality scores improve wildfire mitigation efforts.
In fact, the utility reported that the satellite scan in 2022 was an excellent resource for planning cycle trims in 2023, post trim audits to ensure specifications are met, and improving overall budget.
Thanks to the success of IVMS for the 400 line miles of the Mountain District, United Power is now in the process of implementing AiDash’s solution for vegetation management in its Plains District.
AiDash is an AI-first vertical SaaS company on a mission to transform operations, maintenance, and sustainability in industries with geographically distributed assets by using satellites and AI at scale. With access to a continual, near-real-time stream of critical data, utilities, energy, transportation, water and wastewater, and other core industries can make more informed decisions and build optimized long-term plans, all while reducing costs, improving reliability, and achieving sustainability goals. To learn more about how AiDash is helping core industries become more resilient, efficient, and sustainable, visit www.aidash.com.