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Vegetation Management on Transmission Lines

By Phill Feltham

Using LiDAR technologies to enhance operations

BY PHILIP CHARLTON, Utility Arborist Association

In March 2014, utility vegetation managers from throughout North America gathered in Fort Worth, Texas to share their experience with the use of LiDAR (light detection and ranging) remote sensing technologies in the management of vegetation growing in and around their utility infrastructure. The managers that participated had over 700 years of combined experience in the electric utility industry.

Collectively, the participating managers, from 31 electric utilities, manage vegetation on over 1,000,000 miles of distribution lines and transmission corridors that provide electricity to over 53,000,000 customers. This issue’s Overhead T&D Channel summarizes the collected findings from the discussions. Increasingly, electric utilities are using LiDAR technologies. An alert released by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) in 2012 acted as the catalyst for the expanded use of LiDAR technologies, requiring transmission asset managers to verify facility ratings on transmission lines of, or more than, 200 kilovolts.

This alert created an opportunity for many utility vegetation managers who were able to include vegetation categories in the data acquisition process.

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