The success of the energy transition is wholly reliant on having a fit-for-purpose power grid to support it. Today, transmission interconnection and capacity constraints have become some of the most significant barriers to the accelerated decarbonization of our power system. We are excited to announce our recent investment in LineVision, a company helping utilities around the world unlock capacity on their transmission assets, speed the deployment of renewable generation and enhance the reliability and safety of the grid.
As the world looks ahead to mainstreaming clean energy over the coming decade, the focus will tend to fall on the need to expand the deployment of new clean generation technologies. However, the successful growth of that capacity is wholly dependent on gaining adequate access to transmission. Today’s transmission grid was designed to serve a fleet of centralized generation plants, often located in close proximity to power demand.
As we transition to an electrified future, the legacy grid must evolve both in terms of its capacity and footprint if the scale of required new clean generation is to be achieved. According to research from Princeton University, the United States will need to expand its electricity transmission systems by 60 percent by 2030 and triple it by 2050 if we are to meet net zero energy goals. Of course, the provision of this transmission for new clean generation is a significant challenge. Each year, hundreds of renewable energy projects stall in advanced stages of development due to hurdles in the construction of new transmission lines or the upgrading of existing assets.
But what if instead of having to rely solely on the historical method of building transmission capacity (i.e., new poles and wires), we could move more power through our existing transmission infrastructure?
Today’s grid is largely operated using what is known as “static line ratings.” In other words, the amount of power a line is rated to carry is fixed, regardless of factors such as the ambient conditions – how hot, cold or windy it is – or the load duration – how long a certain power level will be passed through the wire. This operating paradigm results in transmission lines being limited to capacity levels far below what they could safely support. Fortunately, grid operators are more proactively seeking options to tap this underutilized capacity by implementing “dynamic line rating” (DLR) dispatch strategies.
LineVision is a global leader of overhead transmission line monitoring. The company’s non-contact sensors and advanced analytics enable transmission operators to maximize load carrying capacity, reduce congestion losses, improve efficiency and enable the integration of more renewable power without compromising safety. LineVision’s sensors continuously monitor transmission assets using LiDAR, and leverage advanced analytics to provide insight into conductor operating conditions along with detecting any anomalies or safety risks. As a result, utilities can make data-driven decisions in real-time to proactively optimize system operations, maintain reliability and maximize available line capacity while managing safety in the face of extreme weather and infrastructure aging.
Today, LineVision is working with some of the world’s leading electric utilities to support the optimization of their transmission assets and progress toward achieving their net zero goals. In just over four years since its founding, LineVision has deployed systems with National Grid, Dominion Energy, Duquesne Light Company, Xcel Energy, Tennessee Valley Authority, NYPA, SMUD, multiple Exelon companies and several other North American utilities. The company also works with utilities across European countries, Japan and Oceania.
The $33 million series C round was co-led by S2G Ventures and Climate Innovation Capital, with strategic participation from Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund and Marubeni. The financing will be used to accelerate the global growth of the company’s grid-enhancing technology platform. We look forward to working with LineVision to increase the capacity, flexibility and safety of transmission grids around the world and accelerate the transition to net zero.