Gulf Power inspects power lines with new drone program
Gulf Power has launched a program that uses drones to inspect power lines. Operators will maneuver the drones, which are equipped with both infrared and regular cameras, along major transmission feeder lines to identify potential problems.
The drones’ infrared cameras can detect temperature differentials along power lines that may indicate an overload or the need for line or tower maintenance.
“It’s going to be safer, more efficient, and it’s going to reduce the number of outages,” says Gulf Power spokesman Gordon Paulus. Gulf Power’s parent company, Florida Power & Light, has been using drone technology for more than two years.
- Pensacola-based Digital Boardwalk ranked 246th on Inc. magazine’s list of fastest-growing private businesses in Florida. Digital Boardwalk, led by CEO Tim Shoop, provides technology management, cyber-security, cloud computing and backup services for small and mediumsize companies.
- The Nature Conservancy purchased 20,161 acres around Lake Wimico near Port St. Joe in Gulf County. The land, owned by Lake Wimico Land Co., was bought using settlement money from BP after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Lake Wimico Land Co. is a division of Deseret Cattle and Timber, which had acquired the land several years ago from St. Joe Co. The Nature Conservancy donated the land to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The Virginia-based Nature Conservancy called the Wimico acquisition “of critical conservation significance and the largest conservation win of its kind in over a decade.” The land surrounding the 4,000-acre lake also has been a priority preservation goal of the state’s Florida Forever Program.
- Perry-based Georgia-Pacific Foley has completed an $89-million project to transform the local facility from a pulp mill into a producer of specialty grade cellulose. The transformation includes a 100,000-sq.-ft. warehouse.
- Panama City-based DragonAir Aviation, one of five finalists for GoFly, a Boeing-sponsored international human flight competition, was eliminated during a recent event in Mountain View, Calif. During the competition, DragonAir’s battery-powered, vertical take-off and landing personal Airboard was damaged during a hard landing. The Dragon Air team, led by founders Mariah Cain, Jeff Elkins and Ray Brandes, was competing for a $1-million prize. More than 800 international teams had entered the initial 2019 competition. Cain says DragonAir is redesigning its Airboard and has plans to build new 10 personal aircraft.
- The University of West Florida directed its Sea3D Additive Manufacturing Laboratory to begin making and distributing 3-D printed full-face plastic shields. The clear, medical-grade shields will be free. Distribution began in early April. UWF President Martha D. Saunders says the lab’s goal is to print approximately 1,500 shields per month.
- Gulf Breeze-based Innisfree Hotels provided 6,300 free room nights to doctors, nurses, EMTs and paramedics.
- Leon County and the city of Tallahassee established a $1-million grant fund for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants are designed to help small businesses keep workers employed for the duration of the health crisis.
- Gulf Power announced a one-time 40% reduction in residential power bills that began May 1. The company also donated $375,000 to United Way organizations in Pensacola and Panama City. The funds are being made available to help individuals with rent, utilities, food, child care, the elderly with disabilities and other basic human services impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Pensacola-based company also established a $250,000 grant program to help small businesses in its customer service area during the pandemic.
- Triumph Gulf Coast approved a $1-million fast-track job-training program under CareerSource Florida for workers in the construction industry in response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Pensacola-based GE Renewable Energy is repurposing its 3-D printer — used to help make large wind turbines — to make protective plastic face masks that will extend the life of the plant’s supply of N95 face masks available to employees.
- Gulf Islands National Seashore beaches in Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Escambia counties reopened, including the Fort Pickens Campground, Naval Live Oaks area and SR 399 between Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach.
Read more in Florida Trend's June issue.
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