Woodpeckers—-here we come. Oklahoma Gas and Electric plans to target power pole damage caused by the birds through the use of artificial intelligence. Of course, the utility will also use a pilot program to check on other damage that results in equipment failures.
The company will use AI-powered image recognition technology enabling engineers to complete distribution pole inspections with greater accuracy.
TRC Companies, an engineering and digitally focused consulting firm with expertise in IT/OT solutions, will provide overall program management for the pilot.
eSmart Systems will provide the advanced technology used during the pilot, including a best practice called Collaborative AI, with their Grid Vision® solution.
The solution is designed to analyze photographic images of distribution poles to identify defects, catalog asset inventory and identify risk issues that need to be addressed to better maintain reliability. The solution is expected to accelerate image analysis and improve the inspection process, while increasing efficiency, improving safety, and enhancing overall reliability.
The program will initially focus on woodpecker damage as a specific use case. Woodpeckers can and do cause considerable damage to wooden distribution/power poles in a short period of time and this technology allows OG&E to better respond to deterioration and utilize a consistent approach for repairs and replacements.
“We anticipate this technology will reduce the amount of time our engineers spend sifting through photographs of poles and “triaging” potential damage. We currently anticipate applying the technology to identify additional uses in our transmission and distribution network if the pilot meets performance objectives,” said Zac Gladhill, Director of Grid Integration and Innovation for OG&E.
“Helping our clients integrate and fully leverage these types of advanced technologies is at the core of what we do in digital at TRC. The ability to utilize our expertise in grid enhancement to combine technology with solving clients’ issues in new and innovative ways is just one way we are expanding capabilities for our clients,” said Ryan Renner, TRC’s President, Digital Solutions.
“We are excited to be partnering with OG&E and TRC to develop a solution that will help to improve the inspection process, increase efficiency, and improve safety,” said Knut Johansen, CEO of eSmart Systems.
OG&E’s Grid Enhancement Plan is designed to provide present and future benefits to its customers and stakeholders by focusing on the needed replacement and upgrade of equipment, while also including the installation of new technology and communications systems. The pilot program with eSmart Systems and TRC has the potential to advance the technology used by OG&E in the future and transform the way damage is assessed for years to come.
Source: OGE press release