Increase Public Safety And Reduce Risk Of Transmission Line Breakages Caused By Wildfires? Viking Does It Again

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Power providers use a large number of overhead transmission lines — sometimes passing through forests and mountains — to achieve optimal distribution of power throughout the countries they operate in, including the United States. 

While this has helped with the equitable distribution of power to even the most remote communities, wildfires can damage these power lines, causing major headaches for companies like NRG Energy Inc. NRG and UGI Corp. UGI.

A wildfire near a transmission line can destroy it and disrupt the supply. Though technologies such as remote sensing satellites have been used to detect wildfires in transmission line corridors, limitations in the technology have sometimes made it difficult for maintenance personnel to get to the location in time to prevent serious problems.

Solutions That Could Avert Disasters?

Energy company Viking Energy Group Inc. VKIN has reported steps toward providing what could be a workable solution to the problem. is not a new name in the energy space. Through various majority-owned subsidiaries, the company provides custom energy and power solutions to commercial and industrial clients in North America and owns interests in oil and natural gas assets in the United States.

On Feb. 9, the company acquired a 51% interest in two entities that own the intellectual property rights to patent-pending, ready-for-market electric transmission and distribution open conductor detection systems.

The systems are designed to detect breaks in transmission lines, distribution lines, or coupling failures and immediately terminate power to the line before it reaches the ground.

Viking believes the technology could increase public safety and reduce the risk of causing an incendiary event. It is designed to be an integral component of a much-needed worldwide grid-hardening and stability initiative electric utilities hope will improve the resiliency and reliability of existing infrastructure.

“It truly is difficult to put a monetary value on a solution that can sense a broken power line and cut the electricity flowing through the line before the wire hits the ground,” Viking President and CEO James Doris said. “Arcing and sparking energized power lines are hazardous and difficult to detect using traditional concepts.”

People in places like California, Western Canada, Australia, and other parts of the world are fully aware of what can happen when a downed, energized power line makes contact with the ground.

“The damage caused by these wildfires has been catastrophic,” Doris said. “We have already begun discussions with major utilities in California and global equipment manufacturers for deployment.”

A Quick And Cost-Effective Solution?

Doris is optimistic that Viking’s solution could be quickly and cost-effectively deployed in high-risk areas and then used more broadly by all utility companies to help reach their grid-hardening goals.

Viking’s transmission line solution is software-based and designed to be deployed within a utility’s existing protection relay infrastructure, allowing it to protect its grid without the need for costly and time-consuming installations.

This scalable advancement in grid-protection technology is reportedly a simple, sustainable alternative to trenching power lines underground or embarking on a comprehensive forest-management approach.

The newly acquired products offer protective solutions for two distinct utility applications — transmission lines and distribution lines.

Viking states that the distribution line solution, known as The Line Sentinel, is fully engineered and will be introduced to the market through an internationally recognized manufacturer and distributor of protective relay systems and other products.

The technologies were developed by Robert Stuart and Ronald Smith, professionals with decades of experience in the power generation, transmission and distribution sectors.

The Texas-based company said Stuart and Smith would be leveraging their industry relationships globally to assist Viking with integration and sales efforts.

Read more about the acquisition at

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