Jonathan Spencer Jones I smart-energy
The ‘Living Digital Twin’ for powerlines has been introduced by Silicon Valley headquartered asset management solution provider Sharper Shape.
The Living Digital Twin introduces time as the fourth dimension to the traditional 3D digital twin model to provide a model which is continuously updated.
Sharper Shape’s CORE Living Digital Twin integrates aerial and ground data on powerline assets with third party data from sources such as weather satellites into a single artificial intelligence and machine learning-driven software platform that continuously updates the model as the surrounding environment and the asset itself changes.
Citing California’s extreme wildfire season as an example, Chris Beaufait, CEO of Sharper Shape, says that as global warming continues to threaten society, better decisions need to made.
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“With this likely to be the new normal, utilities’ preventative maintenance, vegetation management and emergency response plans simply have to level up – and the real-time factor in digital twin technology will make a significant difference here.”
Sharper CORE was launched in 2018 to address issues around powerline infrastructure including asset integrity, maintenance and vegetation management in a single software solution.
The Living Digital Twin should allow remote inspectors to monitor evolving network risks, highlight qualitative differences and identify statistical patterns, while analysing and prioritising them in accordance with infrastructure-related needs and local regulatory requirements.
In an industry report on powerline inspection, Sharper Shape notes the risk of fast-growing vegetation and overhanging branches in wildfire scenarios and high winds.
“Understanding the live network enables allocation of resources and maintenance to trim fast-growing vegetation in the right places at the right times.”
When disaster strikes, time is of the essence with an effective response plan with prioritisation of resources based on real-time data collection from multiple sources.
“Without an extreme weather plan in place, powerlines can be an exacerbating hazard and lead to unacceptable power outages for communities,” the report states.
For example, in the US, between 2000 and 2019, there was a 67% increase in major power outages from weather-related events, according to Sharper Shape.