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Paper RSE 15002480

Forecasting and monitoring wet-snow sleeve on overhead power lines in Italy


EESMS-IEEE Workshop on Environmental, Energy and Structural Monitoring Systems 9-10 , pp. 78-83, Luglio-2015.

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M. Lacavalla (RSE SpA), P. Marcacci (RSE SpA) , A. Frigerio (RSE SpA)

GRID RESILIENCE 2015 - Security and vulnerabilities of the electrical system

Ice formations on overhead power lines are responsible for several prolonged blackouts in Italy every year. All this creates problems for electrical operators for the secure management of the transmission and distribution power networks.The synergies between the WOLF system and the WILD experimental station allow validation of forecasts and at the same time favor the study and development of active and passive mitigation strategies to be used in network operation during important snow events .

Wet snow accretion on overhead power lines is a real problem in Italy, causing failures and several blackouts on HV and MV power lines during the winter season. To answer this harmful atmospheric phenomenon, RSE has developed a weather forecast system named WOLF -Wet snow Overload aLert and Forecasting- for the electric power grid warning. WOLF, together with wet snow load prediction, provides an estimation of the anti-icing current necessary to maintain lines free of snow sleeve formations.

This information supports the TSO operators in adopting mitigation active strategies. In synergy with WOLF, an automatic station named WILD -Wet snow Ice Laboratory Detection- has been installed in the municipality of Vinadio in the west Alps, at an altitude of 950 m asl for the forecast system verification. Through innovative measurements, it is possible to analyse in detail the most critical weather conditions for the wet snow sleeve formation on conductors. WILD is the first station in Italy devoted to study the power lines behaviour during wet snowfall events.

The station is equipped with extreme weather instruments and devices for monitoring wet snow loads and ice thickness on some samples of typical HV conductors.

This experimental activity is the first step towards a real time monitoring system of sleeve accretion on operational overhead lines.

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