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21 October 2011


Elia and RTE test a robot for inspecting high-voltage lines: a first in Europe Elia and RTE are jointly trialling a robot developed in North America in a combined attempt to innovate in the way they inspect their overhead cables. Their aim is to detect areas of their grids requiring maintenance work more quickly and reliably and to supplement the traditional methods at their disposal. The robot being jointly tested by the Belgian and French transmission system operators is a tool for inspecting cables. The device, which weighs around 35 kg and is one metre long, is brought from the ground to cable height by linemen trained to work on pylons. The robot has a remotecontrolled motor allowing the operator to move it along the whole length of the span between two pylons in order to collect information about the condition of the cables. This method can be combined with other inspection techniques such as visual inspection by foot patrols, visual inspection by helicopter and helicopter inspection using an infrared camera. The experiment is being carried out on the 63-kV line between Logelbach and SĂŠlestat in Alsace, and on 150-kV lines in Belgium in the Namur area and around Genk. The main aim is to assess the effectiveness of the method by comparing the data collected in this way with the information obtained using more traditional methods. If the test is conclusive, the method could be rolled out and thus help to provide an accurate overview of the condition of power cables. This would make it easier to establish orders of priority for maintenance and replacement works on the Elia and RTE networks. It is important for transmission system operators to have as much information as possible about the condition of their equipment as well as effective decision support tools allowing them to define priorities for intervention and to schedule works. This collaboration between Elia and RTE is part of a broader framework of benchmarking and pooling of expertise. The robot

The robot inspecting a high-voltage line


About Elia: Elia is the Belgian transmission system operator, transmitting electricity efficiently, reliably and securely from producers to distribution system operators and major industrial users. Elia is responsible for importing and exporting electricity from and to neighbouring countries. Elia owns the entire Belgian very high voltage grid (150 to 380 kV) and some 94% (ownership and user rights) of the Belgian highvoltage grid (30 to 70 kV). The Elia grid comprises 5,608 km of overhead lines and 2,775 km of underground connections and is a key link between electricity markets in northern and southern Europe. It also links Belgian producers and consumers. Belgium's recent investment in interconnection capacity with its neighbours makes it one of the most open and interconnected grids in Europe. Elia has expanded its activities on a broader European level and, following its acquisition in May 2010 of German TSO 50Hertz and in cooperation with Industry Funds Management (IFM), is now one of the top five transmission system operators in Europe. About RTE: RTE is the French electricity transmission system operator. It is a public service company responsible for operating, maintaining and developing the high and extra high voltage network. It guarantees the safety and proper operation of the power network. RTE transports electricity between electricity suppliers (French and European) and consumers, whether they are electricity distributors (ERDF and the local distribution companies) or industrial consumers directly connected to the transmission system. With 100,000 km of lines between 63,000 and 400,000 volts and 46 cross-border lines, the network operated by RTE is the biggest in Europe. In 2010, RTE posted turnover of â‚Ź4,396m and currently employs 8,500 staff.

For more information, please contact: Media: Elia: Lise Mulpas

+32 2 546 73 75

+32 478 65 28 90

RTE: Alexia Rière

+33 1 41 02 15 69

+33 6 60 54 22 17



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