Sydney’s Infravision raises $36m to accelerate power grid upgrades globally via drone technology

Sydney’s Infravision raises $36m to accelerate power grid upgrades globally via drone technology

Infravision co-founder and CEO Cameron Van Der Berg

Sydney-based Infravision, a technology company that helps electric utilities accelerate power grid modernisation with drone-enabled power line upgrades, has raised $36 million in a Series A round to meet demand in its key growth markets of Australia and North America.

The round was led by investment firm Energy Impact Partners, with participation from energy and utility players Equinor Ventures and Edison International which join Australian angel investors and family offices already on the company’s share register.

Infravision says the capital raise will help the company accelerate the expansion of its proprietary field robotics powerline stringing system and intelligent grid monitoring solutions to utilities and contractors in North America and globally.

Infravision plans to use the funds to boost its employee base and scale operations in North America while meeting demand in Australian for new electrical infrastructure amid the transition to renewables.

Founded in 2018 by robotics engineer Cameron Van Der Berg and military veteran Chris Cox, Infravision provides the energy sector with an alternative to costly traditional power-line stringing methods usually done manually or by helicopters. Infravision uses drone hardware and a software technology system to install and upgrade power lines.

The company’s TX System delivers the power of a helicopter in a complete ground and aerial robotics system that reduces the risk and environmental impact of conventional methods. The system also provides energy companies with rapid emergency deployment in severe weather conditions.

“Today marks an incredible milestone for Infravision as we join forces with leading global energy investors to accelerate the decarbonisation of the world’s electric grid,” says Van Der Berg, the Infravision CEO.

“This funding will enable Infravision to invest in the people, products and projects required to establish it as the industry standard for electric utilities and their construction partners on a global scale

“It is estimated that 10 million miles of new power lines are required by 2030 to reach net-zero targets, which is roughly equivalent to building the entire US and Canadian power grids again, which took us a century, in seven years.

“We’re confident Infravision’s proven technology is the solution for today, and for the future of power line construction automation and grid efficiency.”

Infravision works with some of the world’s largest electric utility companies, including Australia’s Transgrid and US-based Edison International, providing cutting-edge technology and services for network operators and contractors responsible for building, maintaining and repairing electrical infrastructure.

Sergej Mahnovski, managing director of strategy, technology and innovation at Edison International, describes transmission as ‘the backbone of the clean energy transition’.

“Currently it can take more than a decade to build a new transmission line, so the pace of expansion must increase quickly for California to meet the goal of 100 per cent net zero carbon emission by 2045,” he says.

“Infravision’s drone solutions offer safe, fast, affordable ways to accelerate the huge transmission buildout we need, so we’re proud to support Infravision and their transformational technology that will help decarbonise the grid.”

Lead investor Energy Impact Partners (EIP) says the latest estimates show that the industry needs 10 times the current pace of new transmission infrastructure being rolled out to meet net-zero targets over the next decade.

“EIP has spent the past several years scouring the market for technologies and business models that can truly accelerate how to plan and build transmission, which is why we are proud to support Cam, Chris and the Infravision team in their mission to accelerate a cleaner, more resilient global electric grid,” says Sameer Reddy, managing partner at EIP.

Infravision currently has operations in Austin and San Francisco in the US, along with its Australian teams in NSW and Queensland, with about 40 per cent of its workforce said to have a military background.

Van Der Berg says Australia alone needs more than 10,000km of new transmission lines and nine times the large-scale renewable generation it currently has to meet net-zero targets.

“Infravision is at the forefront of this infrastructure program and is well positioned to capitalise on it over the coming years,” he says.

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