The move to data-driven vegetation management

Storms Ciara and Dennis are now recent memories, but they do serve as a reminder for our electricity networks that creating infrastructure resilience is not a do-once activity, especially for vegetation management

The move to data-driven vegetation management

When it comes to the work that tries to avoid trees impacting the line, the fundamental questions are simply: where to go, when to go there and what outcome do we want from the site works? Once we know the answers, our nation’s skilled arborists can handle the rest. Unfortunately, these are often very complicated questions!

The common objective of a network operator is to reduce costs and increase reliability and VM is generally one of the largest operational expenses. To make the where, when and what more effective and maybe even cheaper, we need to take a data- driven approach. To look at how each activity in the cyclical VM workflow creates data, makes decisions and feeds the next stage in the process.

In practice, it’s about optimising the data pipeline:

  • How does field audit inform next year’s trimming program?
  • How is tree cut data being used to understand growth rates?
  • How does the field activity get rolled up into compliance reporting?
  • How are potential danger trees identified and then tracked over time?
  • How can we gauge the success of a programme against network performance metrics?

We need to look at the whole cycle of activity around VM, track where the data is and design how it is used. Then it really is possible to know that going here, going then and doing this is the best possible use of a scarce resource.



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