Visiting EPRI Innovators
Steve Mitnick is President of Lines Up, Inc., Editor-in-Chief of Public Utilities Fortnightly, author of “Lines Down: How We Pay, Use, Value Grid Electricity Amid the Storm.
Lori Burkhart is managing editor of Public Utilities Fortnightly.
You might feel like you were with PUF editors during a special tour of one of the world's top energy labs, at EPRI's sprawling campus in Charlotte.
PUF: Tell us about these sensors.
Sam Harrell: EPRI developed a full fleet of sensors. I brought a few of them out here today. This is the leakage current sensor. You could put it on your insulators in your substation.
When you see the current start to rise, it will alert your base station. They will know to go in and wash the insulators and save you from potential flash over. We have the acoustic emission sensors that we have built and this will go on to your transformer that'll help you be aware of any arcing or anything like that.
For the ballistic sensor, it lets you know that someone has fired shots at your transformer. This sensor can distinguish a gunshot. It will pick it up and throw out the bad stuff. It's accurate and can detect the difference between a shot and a rock hitting it. But it has to go through certain thresholds before it can activate.