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Monitoring Icing Conditions on top of Ålvik Mountain



Company

Statnett is the leading Transmission System Operator (TSO) in Norway, overseeing more than 11,000 km of overhead power lines. With Norway's distinctive geographical challenges of vast mountains and deep fjords, the importance of a resilient and reliable power infrastructure cannot be overstated.


Challenge

Icing poses a tremendous threat to power infrastructure. Ice accumulation can place significant stress on power lines and towers, leading to substantial repair and maintenance costs. To combat this, Statnett historically relied on two methods for ice removal:


  1. Using helicopters to dislodge the ice with wooden poles.

  2. Heating the power lines with an increased current.


Although the latter is the favored method, its efficiency decreases with increasing ice thickness. Recognizing the necessity of an early warning system, Statnett installed specialized monitoring devices atop Ålvik mountain. These devices, including cameras and sensors, were powered by a combination of diesel generators, solar panels, and fuel cells. While this setup offered some insights, it was plagued with challenges. Firstly, powering the monitoring equipment was expensive and environmentally questionable. Secondly, the constant need for refueling and maintenance made the setup labor-intensive and cost-prohibitive. Additionally, the test span used to reflect the condition of the shield wires did not adequately mirror the state of the actual power line, given the absence of current flow.


Solution

Seeking a more streamlined and efficient system, Statnett collaborated with Laki Power. The Laki Power monitoring station provided a more cost-effective and sustainable solution. One of its standout features was the ability to use the conductor's current to power the monitoring devices. This not only reduced costs but also ensured the data's accuracy, given the device's direct placement on the conductor (as seen in the video below).



With the Laki Power station in place, Statnett could monitor icing in real-time. The station, equipped with a 4K bidirectional camera, offered an unparalleled perspective essential for accurately assessing icing conditions, while also providing vital weather data and sag information for the conductors. Furthermore, this system enabled Statnett to inspect site conditions remotely before dispatching helicopters and crew, enhancing both safety and operational efficiency.


..this system enabled Statnett to inspect site conditions remotely before dispatching helicopters and crew, enhancing both safety and operational efficiency.

Results

The Laki Power solution has revolutionized how Statnett approaches the issue of icing. With a user-friendly software interface, the utility can now monitor live data, receive event notifications, and store all information securely for future analysis.


These invaluable insights have allowed Statnett to validate predictive models and icing forecasts, equipping them to preemptively address the icing challenge. Bjorn Egil Nygaard from Norconsult remarked, "The Laki Power camera view gave us a bird’s eye view of exactly what was happening on the conductor."


"The Laki Power camera view gave us a bird’s eye view of exactly what was happening on the conductor.”

See the installation, in 2020, of the LKX-MULTI monitoring station on top of Alvik mountain:


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