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Power line vegetation monitoring and maintenance optimization with satellite imagery

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PLMSAT (Power line vegetation monitoring and maintenance optimization with satellite imagery)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2020-03-31

The SME Instrument grant allowed Tesselo1 to carry on a feasibility study of ClimateBeat, our solution to manage environmental risk around power lines using satellite imagery and AI.
Tesselo is an environmental tech firm founded in Portugal in 2017. Our mission is to help organizations solve environmental issues, by leveraging space data, AI and environmental science.
We sell our services in the forestry, insurance and government sectors. We have gained advanced knowledge on modeling climatic risks associated to vegetation, forest and soils.
Electricity grids are exposed to natural risks, such as forest fires, falling trees, storms… Climate change makes these events more frequent and harder to predict. Asset monitoring and maintenance therefore represent a burden for utilities: high cost (staff, aerial surveys), risk of power outage, compliance to stringent regulation.
Today, grid maintenance typically relies on acquisition of high-resolution imagery via drone or helicopters followed by ground interventions to clear vegetation.
Tesselo’s objective is to provide a cost-effective continuous grid monitoring tool leveraging open satellite imagery from the European Space Agency. Our instrument is ClimateBeat.
This project aims at assessing the business, technical and financial feasibility of our proposition. The magnitude of wildfires in California and Portugal in 2017-2018 lead us to focus on fire risk management through vegetation monitoring.
We have 1) carried out a market research and 2) deployed a successful commercial reach-out that lead us to be the only Portuguese startup among the 15 winners of the global energy innovation competition Free Electrons2, involving 10 utilities and 850 applicants from 86 countries.
We have ongoing commercial negotiations with 12 target customers that allowed us to validate our main assumptions:
• Vegetation management is a priority for utility companies, and they are willing to pay for this service.
• Competition mainly focuses on expensive high-resolution imagery. Our specialization on vegetative risks is a crucial differentiating factor.
• Free spatial imagery offers an untapped potential. It is particularly adapted to monitor slow vegetation growth at large scale and is much more scalable than alternative methods, both in terms of cost and volume of data ingested.
Tesselo is now finalizing the technical development of ClimateBeat and plans to deliver its services to first paying customers by Q4 2020 and a fast scale-up in 2021.