Sensors and AI Technology Provide Smarter Power Grid Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Smart Grid Surveillance system

In 2018, the electricity grid around Malå, Sweden, was fitted with a Smart Grid Surveillance system that detects and locates faults and deviations in the grid. The solution enables much more efficient and proactive maintenance, saving time and money.

Exeri’s Smart Grid Surveillance system features smart sensors, redundant radio communication, AI algorithms and advanced data analysis, allowing it to detect and locate faults in the electricity grid. It’s a big leap in the development of smart grids, offering major benefits in reduced downtime and more efficient monitoring and operation.

Greater precision, efficiency and safety

Sweden’s fourth-largest energy company, Skellefteå Kraft, operates a power grid covering a wide geographical area. This makes detecting and locating faults in the grid both complicated and time-consuming. In 2018, Skellefteå Kraft installed Exeri’s system in the grid around Malå to monitor a 40-kilometre section. The system monitors the grid in real time, and automatically takes action when there is a deviation.

The Smart Grid Surveillance system reduces grid downtime, as faults are detected with greater precision both in terms of location and type of fault. The operator is able to take more efficient action by pinpointing faults and reducing the time both for fault detection and travel. Skellefteå Kraft has also seen safety benefits; since it instantly knows the type of fault, it can take the correct action and make appropriate safety arrangements. The ability to predict faults and deal with them before they occur makes it possible to plan and optimise maintenance and grid investments based on correct data.

Leading-edge use of sensors and AI

The Smart Grid Surveillance system uses intelligent sensors that measure the magnetic and electrical fields in power lines. The sensors are mounted on power line poles and can be installed when the grid is in operation. Data from these sensors is collected continuously and sent to a unit that uses artificial intelligence algorithms to analyse the data and get a complete picture of the grid’s status and operation. The AI algorithms can detect faults and indicate possible future faults with very high precision.

Scalable and flexible for all kinds of grids

The system includes a management feature that allows the operator to monitor the system both in the control centre and in the field. The system is also highly scalable and flexible. The power grid owner decides on the coverage of the system to install, and can gradually add areas. Since it can be installed on active lines, the system is interoperable with any line, which makes it viable internationally.

After the positive evaluation, Skellefteå Kraft is proceeding with the installation of monitoring and sensors on a large section of the grid. The reduced downtime and much more efficient maintenance means the investment is calculated to pay for itself within a short space of time.