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Landsnet, the TSO in Iceland, operates a network of transmission lines spanning more than 3.330 km. Winter storms in Iceland can create icing conditions that have the potential to damage power grid infrastructure with dire consequences for communities and businesses.

No external power means big costs

One of the major overhead power lines in Iceland runs from the largest hydroelectric power station in the country, Fljótsdalur Power Station. Most of the energy from the station is sold to an aluminium smelter in East Iceland. Prolonged loss of power to the smelter can result in solidification of aluminium pots - potentially suspending operations for more than a year with disastrous economic consequences for all stakeholders.

To minimise operational risk Landsnet installed two power lines, in 2004-2006, from the power plant to the aluminium smelter. The lines run side by side, in Hallormstaðir, over mountainous areas until they separate down into two valleys and join again in Áreyjardalur. Separating the power lines is to minimise risk of failure due to snow avalanches, severe icing and bad weather in the valleys.

These critical locations in the power grid network demanded continuous monitoring in order to keep an eye on icing conditions on the conductors. So, When built, Landsnet installed cameras and weather sensors on masts to monitor power lines in areas with high risk of ice accumulation. Since there was no access to a suitable power source for the sensors and cameras Landsnet buried 5.6 km of underground power cables from an electrical substation to the power lines in Hallormsstadir. The project demanded considerable resources and effort but was justifiable in light of the importance of this critical location in Landnet’s grid.


Aluminium smelter in East-Iceland

The great storm of 2019

In December of 2019 a huge storm caused power outages across Iceland. The storm caused extreme ice and snow accumulation on power lines in East Iceland and a week after the storm a connector on one of the two power lines in Hallormsstaðir failed. The outage lasted for 5 days and required a manned shift to physically monitor the unaffected power line. With one of the two lines down, it was important to ensure secure supply of power to the aluminium smelter.

Boom Cyclone in Ísahryggir, Iceland.

“The Laki Power monitoring stations gave us reliable monitoring capabilities in critical locations without the need for huge investments in external power sources”

says Þórarinn, Head of Grid O&M at Landsnet

The Laki Power Solution

In order to improve surveillance in the area, employees at Landsnet installed two Laki Power monitoring stations while repairing the failed power line. One in Hallormsstaðarháls next to the failed tower, and one in Áreyjardalur. The installations took less than 15 minutes and replaced the monitoring equipment which had been installed previously but required burying over 5km of underground power cables with the associated costs of such a large undertaking.

Mast view from the LKX-201 monitoring stations, Áreyjardalur, Iceland.

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