Kosovo’s distribution system operator (DSO) KEDS has started monitoring the power distribution grid with drones.
KEDS has launched a pilot project for using drones. They were activated in late September and early October above the Keqekolla and Restelica 10 kV lines, the company said.
The facilities are located in mountainous terrain, which makes the job difficult for KEDS’ teams, especially after heavy rainfalls or during strong winds. The new technology will help reduce the risks for field workers and shorten the time of data acquisition and intervention in the rehabilitation of the power network or eventual breakdowns, said the utility, owned by Çalık Holding and Limak Holding from Turkey.
The pilot project will be expanded in January to all overhead lines in the distribution system, at 6 kV, 10 kV, 20 kV and 35 kV. The aim is to discover defects that can cause breakdowns and power outages, KEDS explained.
The company said it hired specialized contractors, but it declined to identify them. They will cooperate with the department of system operations at KEDS.
The drones are controlled from a distance of up to eight kilometres. They take high-resolution photos and videos to determine the technical condition of the distribution network.
The footage will help maintain the grid and improve investment decisions.
The system uses software called uBird for detailed reporting. The results are classified according to the severity of damage and the intervention emergency level, the company said.
KEDS operates a network of more than 20,000 kilometres with 7,500 substations. Kosovo’s DSO supplies around 485,000 customers.