Utility Week

UTILITY Week 15th January 2015

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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utILIty WEEK | 15th - 21st January 2016 | 19 first tidal array, in the Pentland Firth off the Scottish coast. The tests are the critical final stage of development that will give Atlantis, MeyGen and their investors the confidence that the turbine is ready to be deployed and to start generating electricity. This will be the second tidal turbine Atlantis has tested at the National Renewable Energy Centre. In 2012, Atlantis's 1MW turbine, the AR1000 (pictured), successfully completed four weeks of testing. If you have an asset or project you would like to see featured in this slot, please send your pictures and details of the project to: paul.newton@fav-house. com or call 01342 332085. Pipe up Jacob Tompkins T here have been a lot of people droning on (sorry) about unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), remotely operated vehicles, or drones. For the past five years there have been predictions that this technology will break through for mainstream utility use. But there has also been the feeling that they are just toy remote- control helicopters with a camera stuck on the bottom. But things are changing quickly and this may be the year when utilities use drones that fly and crawl and swim and float for maintenance and monitoring. Drones are being regularly used in desert regions to inspect long water pipelines for leaks and the. There is wide-scale use in Germany and the USA to remotely check crop health, estimate soil moisture deficit and monitor the performance of irrigation systems for farms. A consortium of Italian universities has developed unmanned semi-autonomous boats that travel through river systems testing water quality, temperature and flow rates. In Spain and the USA there is increasing use of intelligent drones to inspect sewer networks. These are not simply remote-control vehicles with a camera, they are self-driving and are able to make decisions about which route to take. Water utilities in Melbourne are using drones to monitor sewerage assets, primarily for health and safety reasons so that staff don't have to visit potentially hazardous areas. There is work in the USA looking at monitoring sewer loads to build up a picture of public health in different parts of cities, there are cities in France that have been mining heat from sewers for a long time and there is work at Del in the Netherlands looking at sewer flows to determine misconnections and also to develop methods of nutrient recovery and ultimately heavy metal recovery. There has been some use of drones by UK water utilities; Yorkshire Water used UAVs to map the potential route of a new water pipeline last summer. The process was quicker and cheaper than a normal ground survey. Drones were also used to map UK flood vulnerability. The Internet of Things means that, in the near future, fixed assets and networks of micro sensors should be able to communicate with drones, which can then investigate or repair as required. By the next Periodic Review, we should see semi-autonomous robots let loose in sewer and water networks, mapping, monitoring and main- taining systems. This will require upskilling of water company maintenance staff who will become systems managers and data analysts – so now is the time for water companies to prepare for the wide-scale use of drones. Jacob Tompkins, managing director, Waterwise "By the next Periodic Review, we should see semi- autonomous robots let loose in sewer and water networks" Yorkshire Water used UAVs to map the potential route of a new water pipeline Operations & Assets

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