August 25, 2015 / ROV

In Venezuela, the Guri Dam provides a valuable source of hydroelectric power, having been situated on the Caroni River for decades. Since the structure takes up more than 13,000 feet of space and generates 12,900 gigawatt hours to the country, maintaining it is a matter of national importance.

To successfully survey the dam site, the Venezuelan government reportedly used a modified Saab Seaeye Falcon ROV, Marine Technology News reports. This unit allowed operators to monitor sonar readings, as well as track the ROV's movements through a positional location system. In addition, the Falcon also utilized a real-time video apparatus for accurate capture during use. mentions that the dam has been in operation since 1986 and supplies more than 70 percent of Venezuela's energy needs. For the past five years, the country has reportedly been looking for ways to offload some of that responsibility from the single dam, reducing the consequences if it should fail. A modernization plan involving the plant would reportedly add 30 years to its life.

Jack Roberts of the supplier Symphotic told Marine Technology News about the unique nature of this particular Falcon configuration, despite its uses in other dams around the world.

"This particular set-up has never before been adopted for a Falcon and has the added advantage of being simple to integrate in the field at the kind of remote location found at a hydro installation," he said.

When working with established equipment, users still need to recognize the specific circumstances that will require special additions to ROV insurance. If a unit will be used with cameras or other additional tools, operators may want to prepare for this in advance with the right coverage.

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