Cyberhawk supports national utility's innovation and environmental commitments

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09 April 2021

Cyberhawk, the global leader in drone-based inspection and creator of iHawk, a cloud-based asset visualization software, has secured a Master Service Agreement with SP Energy Networks, a distribution, and transmission network operator for Central Scotland, North Wales, and North England, helping the utility maintain a safe and resilient electricity supply to over 3.5 million customers, despite Covid-19.

The agreement, which was secured through a competitive tender process and is in place until the end of 2022, will see Cyberhawk support SP Energy Networks deliver its Innovation Strategy by delivering drone-based inspection services across the utility’s 2,400 towers and electricity transmission structures.

Leveraging over a decade of experience in drone inspection in the global power generation sector, Cyberhawk is able to support one of the utility’s biggest challenges outlined in its strategy; managing an aging network and reducing the number of power cuts to deliver uninterrupted service.

Cyberhawk has delivered the next level of quality in inspection data collection and management to SP Energy Networks to date, providing a robust approach to defect identification to mitigate faults and prevent power cuts, maintenance planning, and the tracking of remedial actions.

In addition, Cyberhawk has supported the utility in meeting targets to minimize the environmental impact of its inspection activities. As a result of adopting drone-based inspection services, SP Energy Networks has been able to reduce its use of helicopters for visual inspection, which are significant sources of air pollution, and as a result, it has been able to reduce emissions.

SP Energy Networks’ environmental targets include contributing to a reduction in CO2 emissions of 522k tonnes by 2031 in Dumfries and Galloway, which is the same amount of carbon created by the consumption of 58m gallons of petrol.

Chris Fleming, Cyberhawk CEO, said: “By partnering with Cyberhawk, SP Energy Networks has chosen a more environmentally conscious solution for inspecting its electrical network and structures, supporting its commitment to significant emissions reductions, while returning more accurate results through our state-of-the-art drone inspection technology and iHawk software.

“This has also assisted SP Energy Networks in maintaining critical inspection services throughout the coronavirus pandemic, helping to keep the lights on for millions of customers in the UK and ensuring safe operations across its network.”

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Pearse Murray, Transmission Director for SP Energy Networks, said: “It’s a massive undertaking to complete the regular inspection of the many towers on our transmission network but the drone technology represents a significant step forward for a number of reasons.

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“Firstly, it’s hugely beneficial for the environment and the imagery we obtain is of a high standard due to the flexibility of the drones in assessing tower conditions, meaning we can make even more informed decisions.

“Following the successful trial, we also realized that the drones dramatically minimize the impacts on landowners and make it much easier to arrange access to land when we require it.”

SP Energy Networks’ innovation projects have been recognized by Ofgem as world-leading and it was awarded funding through the Network Innovation Competition (NIC) mechanism, which Cyberhawk will continue to support through pioneering drone solutions and highly skilled pilots.

If you’re interested in finding out how iHawk can support your project

download your free power grid capabilities overview pack now!