German energy giant EON has developed a technology using artificial intelligence to eliminate faults in the electricity grid long before they can occur.

The technology is now being used by Schleswig-Holstein Netz AG, a German grid operator belonging to the E.ON group.EON deploys AI for predictive power grid maintenance

Eon says that by “combining comprehensive data analysis with a self-learning algorithm now makes it possible to predict faults and failures in the electricity grid much more reliably than before, and to take appropriate action much earlier”.

E.ON has been using this method in Schleswig-Holstein Netz AG’s medium-voltage grids for around nine months. And the company says “the results are astonishing”.

“The probability that we can predict a defect in the power grid has increased by a factor of two to three,” explains Thomas König, who is responsible for E.ON’s German grid business.

“And our customers benefit as well because possible sources of error that we identify in advance reduce the number of faults and make our grid more stable.”

The new predictive maintenance approach uses a variety of internal and external data such as the age and type of the power lines, maintenance and weather data as well as real-time information such as the current load behaviour. EON says the resulting forecasts “open up completely new possibilities for the maintenance of the network infrastructure”.

By identifying potential sources of failure, the number of faults and failures can be reduced because the sources of a defect can be eliminated before the predicted failure occurs. In turn, EON said around a dozen maintenance projects in Schleswig-Holstein Netz AG’s grids were brought forward in recent months.

The new technology also improves planning for grid construction projects, which benefits municipalities in particular. “For citizens and communities, improved maintenance means a reduction in construction activities and earthworks for repair purposes,” said König. “For the company itself, it offers the prospect of allocating budgets and planning investments much better in advance.”

Artificial intelligence and grid management are both key topics at Electrify Europe in Vienna next month. For more information and to register, click here.