FAA Changes to Section 333 Exemption Conditions Create New Opportunities for Utilities and Energy Companies

While the FAA has not announced a formal policy change with regard to the commercial operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), a review of recently approved Section 333 Exemptions indicates changes to the conditions and limitations included in most of the nearly 4,000 exemptions granted so far.  These changes may create new opportunities for …

Energy Companies and Utilities Are Well Advised to Engage in Drone Privacy Discussions

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reports that, as of July 9, 2015, it has granted 746 Petitions for Exemption under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 authorizing commercial operations with small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).  These Exemptions have been granted to a variety of users in industries ranging from agriculture …

Approved Drone Use Grows Among Electric Utilities

On May 11, 2015, Xcel Energy became the latest electric utility to obtain an exemption under Section 333 of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act authorizing the company to conduct commercial small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) operations. The exemption was issued exactly 90 days after the utility’s original petition which reflects the FAA’s continued …

Energy Companies’ Interest in Drones Gains Momentum as FAA Reacts to Comments on Proposed Small UAS Rules

On March 24, 2015, NextEra Energy became the latest energy company granted a Section 333 Exemption by the Federal Aviation Administration.  NextEra Energy, whose subsidiaries Florida Power & Light and NextEra Energy Resources have a combined generating capacity of more than 42,000 MW and more than 70,000 miles of power lines, will be permitted to …