Westar Enegy taps drones market

UNITED STATES: Kansas utility Westar Energy has contracted drone supplier Strat Aero to carry out turbine inspections at two of the company's wind projects.

Strat Aero will inspect turbines at two of Westar Energy's wind projects (pic: Strat Aero International/Facebook)

Strat Aero will examine 53 turbines across two of five projects operated by Westar in Kansas.

The drone firm said there is an option to extend the $26,000 contract to cover all 312 turbines at the five Westar sites.

Work is already under way, with Strat Aero inspecting eight turbines a day using the unmanned aerial vehicles. The plan was to inspect just six turbines a day.

Strat Aero said the contract from Westar would act as "proof of concept" and hopefully lead to more deals with other project operators in the US.

"This agreement follows an extended trialling process and signals a breakthrough for Strat Aero into a significant and potentially lucrative market. The scope and scale of the wind farm industry in the US is enormous, and we are delighted to have embarked on this journey with Westar Energy", said Strat Aero CEO Tony Dunleavy.