Endeavour Energy will stand up a 3D “digital twin” of its electricity network by mid-2022 using software from Sydney-based Neara.

The NSW-based electricity distributor said it had piloted the digital twin technology and is now working to develop “a full 3D virtual model” of the electricity network.

“The 3D virtual model will enable us to use advanced analytics to model risks so we can make better, faster and more accurate engineering decisions for the benefit of our customers,” it said in a LinkedIn post.

“In piloting the digital twin, we were able to simulate the impacts of major flooding on the Hawkesbury and Nepean Rivers earlier this year, eliminating 300 hours of inspection time to restore power in a safe and timely manner.”

In a separate statement, chief asset and operating officer Scott Ryan said that digitally modelling the impacts meant reduced inspection times, since engineers did not have to “wait for visual inspections after the floodwaters receded.”

Ryan said the digital twin “uses LiDAR data captured from helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and vehicles and links it with network data to generate an engineering-grade digital 3D network model.”

More broadly, Ryan said that Endeavour Energy is “digitising systems and embracing new ways to provide a safer, more resilient and affordable electricity supply in line with our customers’ changing energy needs.”

“This includes investing in digital tools to make agile decisions to manage a vast network, as we transform to a modern grid which enables two-way power flows and greater choices for customers,” he said.

Earlier this year, Neara joined a “scaleup” program run by electricity distributors nationally, in recognition of the potential of its digital twin technology for use in the utilities sector.