On November 18th, 2021, GE Digital hosted a webinar entitled, “Reinventing Vegetation Management,” moderated by Brian Hoff, VP of Product Management Analytics at GE Digital Grid. His guests were Hadley Doyle-Gonzalez, President and Founder of SMG Delivering Data; Iliana Rentz, Head of Vegetation Management at Florida Power & Light; Jenna Mukuno, Director of Product Marketing at Planet and Steve Jolly, Quality Project Manager at Florida Power & Light. The following will explore some key takeaways from the webinar.
Vegetation management has reached a crossroads. Traditional methods are a drain on manpower, time and impacts far too much of the budget. Utilities are seeing a new, better way to inspect and maintain their assets.
What Drivers Are Leading the Way?
The first driver is timing. Advancements in technology have exploded. Innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have exponentially improved what's possible. Now is the time to leverage this technology and start reaping the benefits.
Secondly, weather severity is increasing. Unchecked vegetation will be exacerbated by winter storms pushing trees dangerously close to power lines. Hurricanes are damaging infrastructure more than ever before, and wildfires continue to threaten our forests year after year.
Lastly, there’s cost. On one hand, we have traditional vegetation management, which is increasingly inefficient and expensive. Countless hours are lost going out and inspecting whole sections of the grid. Then there’s new and improved technology that drastically reduces costs associated with this inspection process. The cost reduction is made possible by moving from a time-based strategy to an intelligent, risk-based approach powered by AI and ML. This new approach, without a doubt, is a much more effective and efficient model for managing vegetation.