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Jemena is trialling Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) advanced image capture technology to boost the reliability of its electricity network by detecting whether overhead powerlines need maintenance.

The trial will also assess the benefits the technology can bring to vegetation management and other maintenance and design work on electrical poles and wires.

Jemena’s General Manager of Asset and Operations Electricity, Karl Edwards, said the use of LiDAR technology aims to further improve the safety and reliability of the electricity network.

“When LiDAR technology is combined with high resolution images, it is able to create a highly accurate three dimensional model of the electricity distribution network and the surrounding vegetation,” Mr Edwards said.

“This technology can improve the safety and reliability of the network by improving the ability to detect when vegetation is growing too close to powerlines.”

Mr Edwards said that currently, inspections of vegetation around Jemena’s network assets are completed by trained professionals on a two-year cycle. 

“With the use of LiDAR technology, we predict that we will be able to build an entire 3D model in less than ten per cent of the time it would take to assess vegetation clearances using existing techniques,” Mr Edwards said. 

“In addition to the increased accuracy and speed, this will also allow for detailed models to be built that will forecast vegetation growth rates. This will assist us in shaping our network design and development in the future and lead to better planning of predictive maintenance.”

The LiDAR technology trial is part of a suite of initiatives being implemented by Jemena to innovate and enhance its electricity network to benefit customers and the community.

“Along with other recent innovations, such as improving the reliability of solar power across our network, we are investing to improve supply reliability and increase our efficiency, helping us to deliver the best possible service to our customers,” Mr Edwards said.

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