‘Flight of the Drones’ set to boost energy sector efficiencies, say Big Four experts

Commercialisation of drone technology across the electricity, gas, and other sectors could spark a £1.1 billion boost to economy by 2030.

According to new research from PwC, more than 76,000 drones are expected to take to skies over this period and as many as 25,700 could be employed across the electricity, gas, mining and agriculture sector grouping.

Drones have seen significant uptake in the oil and gas industry. They improve safety, increase efficiency and deliver significant cost savings.

Drones have also dramatically reduced employee exposure to ‘working at height’ (the number two cause of industrial fatalities in UK in 2017) and to other hazardous environments such as the inside of storage tanks.

Steve Jennings, head of energy at PwC – one of the Big Four management consultancies – commented: From flame-throwing drones used to clear rubbish from power lines and pre-investment planning geospatial surveys to monitoring construction projects, it’s becoming increasingly apparent how this cutting-edge technology can positively impact the energy industry, in particular.

 “The UK energy industry is at the early stages of drone adoption, and the projects we are seeing tend to have very specific objectives. As businesses gain experience with this technology, we expect to see more evidence of the accumulation of drone collected data across wider programmes and tighter integration with other sources of management data.

“For utilities, simply owning drone equipment will not be a differentiator – it’s how they then apply drones-captured image data in fields such as power plants, electrical substations or power lines and continue to innovate that will allow them to gain a competitive advantage.”

The analysis also reveals that rising use of drone technology has the potential to save the UK up to £16 billion in costs by 2030 through increasing productivity, with the electricity, gas, mining and agriculture sector set to benefit by £100 million.

29 May 2018

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