BOISE - In the past five years, drones have helped Idaho Power prevent outages, count salmon spawning sites, document raptor nests, study fish, inspect power lines without disturbing farmland and more.
And the company’s use of drones, officially known as unmanned aircraft systems, is expanding. Five years ago, Idaho Power had two drones, and both were used for environmental and fish studies. Today, 22 are in use company-wide, with a growing list of applications, including surveys for construction, 3D modeling, high-resolution maps and damage surveys after storms.
In some cases where damage is suspected, drones can help inspectors identify the damage and might even help repair it. Using drones makes this process safer for workers while allowing Idaho Power to perform more detailed and efficient inspections of their lines. This saves time and money, helping Idaho Power continue its century-long tradition of reliable, affordable, clean energy.
Drones have also helped the company fulfill its commitment to environmental responsibility and healthy waterways by providing more accurate annual counts of salmon redds, the spots in rivers where salmon lay eggs, study vegetation and carry out other important environmental tasks.