New York Power Authority to use drones for inspections

NYPA to use drones for inspections

Bernd Lutz, CEO of Boulder, Colorado-based bizUAS Corp., which provides drone services for utilities and other industries, prepares to demonstrate the use of a Cyberhawk octocopter drone for power line inspections at a New York Power Authority site near Blenheim.

The remote-controlled devices make the work of linemen safer, more efficient and less expensive, according to the Electric Power Research Institute, which last month put on a three-day workshop at a NYPA site near Blenheim to help nearly a dozen utilities choose the best machines for the job. But strict regulations have so far slowed adoption of the technology. Miniature helicopter-like drones, some equipped with cameras and other sensors, conducted demonstration inspections of transmission lines at NYPA’s Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project hydroelectric plant in Schoharie County. “We want to start using drones next spring when the inspection season begins,” said Alan Ettlinger, research and technology director for NYPA, who attended the workshop. According to the Westchester County Business Journal, NYPA has not yet received approval to operate drones, but plans to file an application with the Federal Aviation Administration in the coming weeks. Utilities spend millions of dollars inspecting power […]