26 Apr 2021

Use of artificial intelligence for the needs of the transmission system operator

Under the term artificial intelligence, in a simplified form, we can imagine a device that can solve a problem without initially having a workable solution.
The concept of artificial intelligence dates back to the fifties of the last century. The term was first used by a cognitive and computer scientist John McCarthy. We can therefore consider him the father of this scientific discipline. Since then, there has been a significant expansion of the discipline around the world. Artificial intelligence is helpful / instrumental in a variety of industries from production to healthcare, and offers  wide range of applicability.

The company VUJE is a leader in the field of nuclear energy in the Slovak Republic, that offers a large part of the services focused on supporting the operation of transmission and distribution systems. Progress, innovative approaches and new solutions in the job require the use of artificial intelligence as well.

The experts of VUJE have been cooperating with the experts of the power transmission systems operator for several years, focusing on the prediction of possible impacts on the operation of external power lines. This is right the area where  the VUJE experts seek to implement the methods of artificial intelligence. First TOMS device (Telemetry-Optical Monitoring Station) was installed in 2008. It has been developed primarily for detecting / identifying of icing on the external power lines and its size. The device measures and records the basic climatic parameters that cause the icing on the line. In addition to the ambient temperature, conductor's temperature, air humidity, and dew point, it also monitors the conductor's tilt and rotation. The monitoring involves time-lapse photographs of the power line range. At present, the transmission system operator of the Slovak Republic operates 23 TOMS monitoring stations. VUJE has developed intelligent software for the automated evaluation and detection / identification of ice formation. The software applies the principles of artificial intelligence and machine learning and uses a large database of photographs. The software can automatically detect and evaluate the size of icing on the line. The pilot version of the software was successfully tested at the beginning of 2020.

System for identifying icing © VUJE
System for identifying icing © VUJE

VUJE is currently drafting a new methodology for assessing the environmental pollution to be applied in the power industry. In the past, the problem of contamination of overhead line insulators was solved by capturing and evaluation of fallout. However, this method is time-consuming and limited in use. The last measurements in the area of the Slovak Republic were carried out in the years 2009 to 2012. However, the climate change, economic growth, development of road transport and agriculture, have a significant impact on the surrounding environment. The new methodology using artificial intelligence methods shall enable  continuous assessment of the environment at appropriately set time intervals and shall be a significant help not only for operators, but also for designers of power lines and stations. This approach shall use a wide range of available data such as databases of air pollutants, which are evaluated annually by the Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute, as well as other publicly available data and databases. Current works are aimed at designing suitable types of neural networks and testing suitability of their use.


Ľuboš Skurčák