Energy grid operator TransGrid is using drones to install hardware on power lines and hang wires in mountainous terrain.
Most recently, the unmanned aircraft were deployed to attach bird diverters, objects that are designed to increase the visibility of overhead power lines for birds, to lines in Stockdill, ACT.
The drones allow the hardware to be installed much more quickly and removes the risks associated with working at heights.
TransGrid worked with Preformed Line Products (PLP) to design the cradle that allows its bird diverters to be installed by the drones.
The utility company also worked with drone technology provider Infravision to modify the drone to avoid activating its in-built obstacle avoidance system by using cameras and propeller guards to allow the device to get close to the wires.
In May TransGrid unveiled another project it completed with Infravision which involved using drones to string the 992 transmission line in Burrinjuck Gorge, near Yass in regional NSW.
Previously the work would have been conducted manually or using manned helicopter operations.
Using heavy-lift drones, the stringing was broken into two sections. The first section involved stringing rope between two structures over steep, rocky inaccessible terrain.
The second more challenging section involved stringing an 800m span of cable across the Burrinjuck gorge with a 200m elevation between Burrinjuck substation and another structure.
The projects follow TransGrid’s decision to explore safer alternatives to using helicopters for work taking place near power lines.