As the pace of the energy transition accelerates, grid infrastructure is having to endure intensifying natural disasters and accommodate increasing volumes of renewable energy. To combat these challenges, AiDash, a leading provider of vegetation management and other satellite- and AI-powered operations, maintenance, and sustainability solutions, has joined forces with Schneider Electric to develop and provide a joint solution for grid resilience issues around the world.
The new solution addresses the issues of aging power grids, decarbonisation and distribution of power generation, vegetation and growth inside rights-of-way, and the impact of storms and wildfires. It does by improving data accuracy to better understand reliance issues and detect ways to tackle them; optimising assets and capital investments; improving vegetation management and pruning cycles; and forecasting natural disaster outages.
“With growing natural disasters in today’s world, it is essential to leverage several types of technology to prevent power outages, predict future outcomes, and build climate resilience,” said Abhishek Singh, co-founder and CEO of AiDash. “Our partnership with Schneider Electric enables customers to leverage Schneider Electric’s asset management and our vegetation management capabilities to help utilities better understand resilience issues and detect ways to tackle them based on real-time data and insights.”
Extreme weather events had a substantial impact on grid infrastructure in 2022 with storms and hurricanes causing damage to transmission and distribution lines, extreme hot and cold weather resulting in grid malfunctions and floods shutting power plants down. With new research explicitly linking extreme weather events to climate change, and 2023 set to be the 10th year running that temperatures will reach at least 1°C above average, the grid’s exposure to extreme weather events is only set to increase.
In addition, power grids are grappling with ever increasing energy demands and added complexity in energy sources, with renewable power subject to variable supply patterns. As a result, some renewable energy projects are waiting up to ten years for a connection, with experts predicting this timeline will increase to 15 years, at a time when the pressure to decarbonise is escalating.
To compound the issues, grid infrastructure is aging. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), nearly 70 per cent of the US’s national grid is more than 25 years old, and the UK began building its grid infrastructure as far back as 1935, meaning grid resilience is more in the balance than ever.
“Utilities face challenges on multiple fronts: outdated infrastructure, increasing energy demands and the integration of clean energy, all while facing more extreme weather events. The most noticeable effect has been a 64 per cent increase in power outages with the majority linked to weather and vegetation. AiDash’s satellite and AI-powered solutions are providing utilities an advantage to overcome these hurdles,” said Alexis Grenon, SVP digital grid, Schneider Electric. “We are excited to work with AiDash to provide a joint solution that helps utilities increase reliability of the grid while addressing the challenges of the new energy landscape.”