SatNetMonitor - Space-Based Services for Distributed Energy Networks (Smart-Grid) Feasibility study

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Energy transmission and distribution networks are spread over thousands of kilometers, often in remote areas. The maintenance of the networks is costly, and the networks are vulnerable to storms, falling trees and third party operations.

Information collected by satellites can be used to make the maintenance of the networks more efficient, to reduce risks due to the changing environment, and to mitigate the risk of interruptions. The vast amounts of satellite information can be processed automatically with the aid of AI, and the maintenance processes can be automated and made more efficient.

More secure supply, safer networks, and lower cost and potential for tariff reductions in Europe and the rest of the world are all possible benefits from the SatNetMonitor project.

Users and their needs

Both DSOs and TSOs spend hundreds of millions of Euros for operating and maintaining the electricity network. The network companies and their partners are constantly looking for ways to improve the processes in operation and maintenance.

Vegetation management is a major part of maintenance operations for DSOs and TSOs. An automated system based on satellite imagery can replace costly periodic inspections and avoid unnecessary trimmings while improving the reliability of the network.

The main cause of interruptions in an underground cable networks is unauthorized digging. Automated monitoring can alert the network owner when a construction site is started near the network.

Extreme weather events are causing interruptions to electricity supply. The risk of interruptions caused by snow, ice and wind can be reduced by utilizing results from automated risk analysis 

The services will be usable worldwide. For some components, such as analysis of ice and snow, the target area is smaller. For vegetation analysis, parameters may greatly differ according to weather, geography, and local practises.

Service/ system concept

The service is able to source various types of satellite imagery and other types of satellite information. As a basis, open source Sentinel data will be used.

Supplementary information can be used from other sources, such as RPAS and past events in the network.

These data will be analysed with an AI analysis layer and compared against a risk model.

The system is automated through a task engine and customer interface so that the users can get ready tasks and alerts and even build maintenance programmes ready for tendering or ordering.

Space Added Value

The huge volumes of satellite imagery coupled with advanced analysis makes it possible for network companies to constantly monitor networks tens of thousands of kilometres long.

Information derived through the use of earth observation satellites can be used to make the operation and maintenance of the network more efficient, more economical and safer:

  • Vegetation management can be made more efficient through Predictive maintenance relying on EO change detection analysis
  • Infrastructure needs to be monitored, but until now it has been costly. Third party activity on the network route (both overhead and cable networks) can be monitored through EO Change Detection analysis
  • Weather event impacts and risks can be managed by snow, ice, and vegetation analysis.

Satellite communication, including SatCom/5G networks, can be used to monitor even remote parts of the network and manage field workers efficiently.

Current Status

Customer requirements have been extensively studied leading to a preliminary services definition;  technical feasibility analysis is well under way.

Prime Contractor

Status Date

Updated: 12 September 2019 - Created: 12 September 2019