A “smart” power line insulator diagnostics system has passed field tests in Moscow Oblast
Image. An insulator fitted with a current leakage sensor. Credit: Dmitry Titov.

Rosseti Moscow Region has successfully field-tested a risk-oriented power line insulation management technology developed by Associate Professor Dmitry Titov, Research Engineer Klim Volkhov and their colleagues from Skoltech Energy and Expert Center LLC at the request of the South Ural Reinforcement and Insulation Plant JSC. The new technology will help prevent flashovers, one of the most common reasons of power outages in Russia.

“This solution is the first-ever commercial version of the technology that evaluates the insulator condition based on leakage currents and assesses the risk of flashovers in near real time,” Titov commented. The system processes data from current leakage sensors and marks the string condition as “green”, “yellow” or “red”, facilitating both targeted emergency repairs and routine replacement of insulators.

Image. A leakage current data collection and transmission station installed on a 110 kV tower near MKAD. Credit: Dmitry Titov.

The system’s trial operation started in April 2021. “Continuous monitoring helped identify the effect of weather on leakage currents, the type of contamination on insulators, and periods of abnormal growth in the activity of nearby contamination sources, such as heavy-traffic roads,” Titov added.

The solution was tested under an agreement between Skoltech and Rosseti Moscow Region, which aims to implement innovative sensor technologies and predictive data analytics at power facilities and use a risk-oriented approach to overhead power line management.