Intelligent Grid Systems Offers Innovative Line Monitoring

Feb 23, 2015

Southwire Energy Division’s new line of Intelligent Grid solutions combines innovations in monitoring and analytics to provide wide area awareness of grid assets. Solutions include line and substation monitoring, which collects, communicates and processes data from multiple sensors to improve reliability, capacity and generation dispatch.

“We developed Southwire’s Intelligent Grid solutions to allow utility providers to constantly monitor systems from virtually anywhere by sending real-time data directly to them,” said Mark Lancaster, PE, Southwire Director Intelligent Grid and Energy Solutions. “This allows utilities to know what’s happening on the system at all times to ensure reliability and optimize asset utilization.”

To do this, the Southwire Intelligent Grid solutions collect and aggregate data from sensors and weather nodes and transmit that information to the utility via a cellular or utility-specific communication network. The data is processed using Southwire algorithms and interfaced into the utility data and control systems. Monitoring options include sag, temperature and rating for conductors, degradation of conductor connectors and likelihood of flashover due to contamination for insulators and substation equipment bushings.

Line/connector sensors measure conductor/connector temperature, catenary and line current. The lightweight, maintenance-free sensors are self-powered from the line current and can run approximately 45 days with no line current. They communicate using a 2.4 GHz RF signal to a base station which aggregates the data from multiple sensors.

Weather nodes collect wind speed and direction, barometric pressure and ambient temperature. The weather nodes are solar powered with approximately two weeks’ maintenance-free battery backup. The estimated battery life is 10 to 12 years.

Leakage current sensors monitor insulators and equipment bushings for contamination buildup. Sensors mount to the grounded side of the insulator/bushing and communicate wirelessly back to a base station.

Base stations collect and aggregate data from up to 128 devices. Base stations also collect the same weather data as a weather node and are available with optional relative humidity sensor, rain gauge and pyranometer. They are solar powered with approximately two weeks’ maintenance-free battery backup.

All components can operate in an environmental rating of -40°C to 50°C ambient.

“Southwire’s Intelligent Grid solutions offer enhanced reliability with the real-time monitoring of critical grid components, detect issues before failure and allow for remedial action to prevent outages,” added Mr. Lancaster. “This provides an economical way to perform wide-area, real-time monitoring of transmission assets, allowing transmission lines to operate at higher capacity.”

Southwire works closely with utility stakeholders to determine the scope of the project to ensure an optimal solution. Each Intelligent Grid solution system is uniquely configured to account for a region’s weather, environment and topography.

For more information visit: or call 770-832-5043.

- Whitney Agan