NEW technology developed by Ergon Energy has received the US-based Edison Electric Institute's (EEI's) 2015 International Edison Award - the electric power industry's most prestigious honour.
The Roames technology was recently used and played an integral role during Ergon's restoration efforts following the mass devastation and damage to the network caused by Tropical Cyclone Marcia in Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast The technology creates a virtual version of the real world to allow the fast and accurate inspection and assessment of electricity networks.
Ergon Energy boss Ian McLeod said the award was tremendous recognition for everyone at Ergon who had developed the Roames Virtual World Asset Management System.
"Roames technology is an aircraft-based laser and imaging capture system which quickly and efficiently maps a network," Mr McLeod said.
"Roames creates a virtual version of the real world to allow the fast and accurate inspection and assessment of electricity networks and the surrounding environment, particularly vegetation, without the need to deploy field crews.
"Today Roames continues to help us save millions annually in vegetation management. It contributes to a more reliable electricity supply, creates a safer working environment for crews, and helps get the lights back on to communities more quickly after a natural disaster."
EEI President Tom Kuhn praised Ergon for developing the technology.
"Ergon's ROAMES system offers a cutting-edge solution to many of the challenges of managing the company's 160,000-kilometre transmission and distribution system, which spans across a vast and geographically harsh area," Mr Kuhn said.
"This innovative technology will benefit customers and has the potential for broad application within and beyond the electric power industry. Ergon is truly deserving of the Edison Award."
Dutch multinational Fugro, which purchased the Roames technology in 2014, now provides the service under a contractual agreement with Ergon and also to other utilities in Australia and overseas.
The data is giving the company's asset managers an unprecedented insight into maintenance and other priority issues.