A project which sees Wales & West Utilities collaborate with a number of network partners has scooped gold at the Network Awards.

The Above & Beyond Project, which is exploring how drone technology can be used to inspect network infrastructure, was named winner of the Partnership Initiative of the Year.

The three-year programme, which began in May 2018, is exploring how the application of drone technology could transform the way the utilities industry carries out essential maintenance tasks. It is coordinated by the EIC and led by Wales & West Utilities in collaboration with Callen-Lenz, Cadent Gas Limited, National Grid Gas Transmission, Northern Gas Networks, Northern Powergrid, Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks and UK Power Networks. It is supported by Connected Places Catapult and is a UK first and a designated Government Pathfinder Project,

Organised by Network Magazine, the awards celebrate the best in the industry and recognise the good work taking place across the UK's energy networks, their supply chains and stakeholders.
We are delighted to have been recognised in these awards and are really excited to be leading this collaborative innovation project. Flying drones beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) will bring real benefits to gas and electricity networks. It will help us to maintain our infrastructure in a safer, more cost-effective way so we can all continue to deliver for the customers that rely on us.

Establishing a regularised operating framework will be a key step in making BVLOS flight ‘business as usual’ and will underline the innovative approach the utilities industry is taking to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Lucy Mason, Wales & West Utilities Innovation Manager