Leveraging LiDAR and FEA to Quantify Vegetation and Line Slapping Risks

Wen Tu

Sr. Manager - Materials and Mechanical Engineering at Pacific Gas and Electric

Francis Ku

Sr. Advising Mechanical Engineer at Pacific Gas and Electric

Learning Objectives

PG&E has leveraged LiDAR and GIS data, along with Finite Element Analysis (FEA) capabilities to develop two asset risk models. First is a model that identifies the individual trees, which if fell would break the distribution system nearby. The model output is a risk heatmap of relative vegetation risk for each span. The second model utilizes circuit orientation, line sag, and asset information, along with wind dynamics to determine the line slapping risk of each span as a function of wind velocity and orientation. The two models are utilized to make PSPS and asset risk reduction decisions.

Key Takeaways:

  • FEA can help identify specific trees that are high risk to distribution circuits

  • FEA models help quanitify system strength and resistence of vegetation overstrike

  • FEA models help determine wind conditions that cause line slapping

  • FEA Model output can be turned into risk heatmaps over a broad geospatial area