Cameras on power lines help Manitoba Hydro quantify weather effects

Wide-open prairie weather hits different – but just how different can be hard to say.

That’s why Manitoba Hydro is testing monitoring stations on some of the utility’s transmission lines — they’ll help us quantify exactly how hard the Canadian prairie weather is on our infrastructure.

These monitoring devices have a camera that provides a real-time view of conditions on our lines and sensors that measure wind, humidity, temperature, conductor current, and the tilt and roll of the line itself.

A computer dashboard showing three separate camera angles, each a different perspective from an overhead power line. Below the three camera angles, several squares show detailed climate and conditional readings such as wind speed, ambient temperature, humidity, and salinity.

“If we can measure weather impacts in different geographies, we can design for it and build a more resilient system,” said Maria Neufeld, Director of Transmission Operations & Maintenance for Manitoba Hydro.

The monitoring stations were created by an Icelandic tech startup, Laki Power, who approached Manitoba Hydro asking if we could test their monitoring stations to collect field data.

“One of the things we noticed in the 2019 storm is that infrastructure that was protected by natural geography was less impacted than infrastructure in the wide-open prairie,” said Neufeld. “When Laki Power approached us, we knew we could use their monitoring stations to measure and compare weather impacts on lines in wide-open prairie versus areas protected by natural geography.”

Watch the video to see more: