ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 25

that will deliver more of what customers expect
from their energy company: cleaner, more reliable
energy, more ways to save money and a better
customer experience.
An important part of this initiative involves
building an advanced distribution management system (ADMS). ADMS can automate grid
operations, improve the speed and efficiency of
responding to changes in how customers use
power, and facilitate analyses of and planning for
customers' future energy use. ADMS also improves
monitoring and control of the system, enabling
the utility to respond more quickly to power outages. Rollout of the system will continue to all
parts of the company over the next several years.
To build out the ADMS, in addition to verifying
electric distribution feeder data maintained in
the corporate geographic information system
(GIS), Xcel Energy needed important information from its substations such as nameplate data
from circuit switchers, transformers, switches
and breakers. Nameplates are a critical piece of
substation equipment when it comes to building
out ADMS because they have key equipment
specification data that enables the distribution
system to adjust automatically based on load.

While most nameplates are visible from the
ground, some are not because of where they're
located or odd angles within the substation.
That's where UAS comes in. By using UAS and
partnering with EDM and Skyskopes to operate
the drones, Xcel Energy can gather this important information safely, efficiently and securely
from the air without having to shut down the
substation. Without using UAS, a crew would
need to access those hard-to-reach areas and
write down the information. What used to be a
time-consuming and costly effort now takes only
a matter of minutes.
While flying over substations to gather nameplate data, Xcel Energy's drones have also had the
opportunity to capture hundreds of overlapping
substation images, allowing the company to create ortho-mosaics and 3-D models of a given
substation. These images are extremely accurate
and allow engineers and operations workers to
better manage and track assets in the substation
while also providing engineering staff with better
insights into design clearances and equipment
size in the substation.
Although these items were not part of the original project scope, they have been incorporated to

ensure that a complete site depiction of a given
substation is obtained. It is through these ongoing efforts that continuous process improvement
efforts and consistent asset management practices have been realized.

LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
As with any new technology, there have been
many learning opportunities and challenges
along the way. Xcel Energy has had to experiment with various systems, sensors and settings
to build the UAS solution that produces the best
results for the specific projects.
For example, some unmanned aircraft models cannot carry the high-resolution imaging
equipment necessary to capture finely stamped
or partially eroded nameplate data. Some sensors provide great imagery to controllers during
flight but record such low-quality images in
their saved files that nameplates, which looked
great in the field, cannot be read in downloaded
data. Learning to work with natural lighting
conditions in unusual angles and within the
complex set of shadows, created by overlapping layers of substation equipment, also took
some trial and error.

WWW.RMEL.ORG 25


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ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019

RMEL Board of Directors
Former NFL Star and Cancer Survivor Merril Hoge’s “Find A Way” Journey Sparks Intention at RMEL’s Spring Conference
Austin’s Experience Instituting a 5G Wireless Program
APS’ Fossil Unit Monitoring Tool Improves Efficiency, Generates Savings
Charging a Path Towards Battery Storage
Xcel Energy’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Future
28 Steam Turbine Cycling—Operator Considerations, Best Practices and Options for Optimization
Maximize on the New Energy Paradigm at RMEL’s 116th Fall Convention
2019 Calendar of Events
Member Listings
Foundation Board of Directors
Advertiser’s Index
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - Intro
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - cover1
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - cover2
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 3
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 4
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 5
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - RMEL Board of Directors
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 7
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - Former NFL Star and Cancer Survivor Merril Hoge’s “Find A Way” Journey Sparks Intention at RMEL’s Spring Conference
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 9
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 10
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 11
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - Austin’s Experience Instituting a 5G Wireless Program
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 13
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 14
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 15
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 16
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 17
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - APS’ Fossil Unit Monitoring Tool Improves Efficiency, Generates Savings
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 19
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - Charging a Path Towards Battery Storage
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 21
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 22
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 23
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - Xcel Energy’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Future
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 25
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 26
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 27
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 28 Steam Turbine Cycling—Operator Considerations, Best Practices and Options for Optimization
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 29
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 30
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 31
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - Maximize on the New Energy Paradigm at RMEL’s 116th Fall Convention
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 33
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 34
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 2019 Calendar of Events
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - Member Listings
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 37
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - Advertiser’s Index
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - cover3
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - cover4
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