The Netherlands introduce high-voltage maintenance by helicopter

RTE international, via its subsidiary RTEi Netherlands, successfully carried out a heliborne project to change bird beacons on high-voltage lines in the Netherlands

The heliborne operation reduced the duration of the work

The project was carried out in cooperation with Airtelis, RTE’s subsidiary that carries out heliborne operations, and TenneT, the Dutch TSO. As it is difficult to access from a land-based mobile work platform, the replacement of the beacons via helicopter considerably reduced the duration of the work. Following strict safety measures, the specialists were able to replace 248 bird beacons in less than a week. Using a land-based mobile work platform, this work would normally have taken 3 to 4 months. “The operation looks impressive. At the same time it is the result of a method that has been successfully carried out by regularly-trained RTE operators,” insists Raphaël Galisson, Project Manager at RTE international.

The French expertise also showed that it was possible not to shut down the entire power line

Current legislation in the Netherlands prohibits Live Working, so it was a demonstration without electricity, but the work could be carried out using the Live Working method. For this pilot project, everything was granted under the strict supervision of the Ministry’s labour inspectorate (ISZW).

Jan Willem Kijlstra, Director of RTEi Netherlands, stated that “With the increase in interconnections and the growing complexity of the grid due to the energy transition, the high-voltage grid is now under increasing strain. Shutting down substations and lines in order to carry out works causes major difficulties in ensuring the security and continuity of the electricity supply”.

Dennis Geerts, RTEi Netherlands Operations Director is looking forward to the next project. “This success will support TenneT and the government to evaluate the possibility of further developing this type of maintenance operation, helicopter and Live Working”

About Airtelis

Created in 2011, AIRTELIS is a wholly owned subsidiary or RTE (Réseau de Transport d’Electricité), the French Transmission System Operator (TSO).
Our main activities are aerial works & power grids, training & Engineering, aeronautical services (rental and maintenance) and emergency organisations.

About TenneT

TenneT is a leading European electricity transmission system operator (TSO) with its main activities in the Netherlands and Germany. With over 23,500 kilometres of high-voltage connections we ensure a secure supply of electricity to 42 million end-users.