Digitization is the key to taking renewable energy to the next level

Utilities may not seem like a clear hub for innovation, but the move to renewable energy means that we need to be at the forefront of digital technology. And that’s one of the reasons Eneru was the first renewable supermajor to move its IT infrastructure entirely to the cloud, which has allowed major energy companies to continue their digitization process. It’s done.

Twenty years ago, the process began with Enel with smart meters. In 2001, the company launched the Telegestore project. The project aims to replace all analog meters connected to the Italian low voltage grid with digital meters, increasing the efficiency of energy while improving the customer service and experience of 30 million end users. I will.

The project is just the beginning, and in 2015, Eneru aimed to use the latest technology to improve the way companies generate and distribute electricity and serve their customers. Announced a major digital transformation project.

This includes expanding the use of digital meters to the 45 million currently installed, while looking at digital channels and virtual assistance to create an innovative customer experience and deliver personalized services. Will be. On the production side, Eneru uses sensors and connectivity to digitize power plants. “Digital tools such as wearables, smart glasses and drones can help optimize the effectiveness and efficiency of field interventions,” said Carlo Bozzoli, Global Chief Information Officer at Eneru.

From drones to smart grids, everything is possible thanks to the cloud. In fact, with such tools enabled, Enel became the world’s first major utility to bring all IT systems to the cloud in April 2019, when the last physical data center was closed.

In addition to allowing Enel to experiment with cutting-edge technology, cloud systems have doubled processing power and storage capacity while adding flexibility. Provisioning a new environment used to take weeks, but now it only takes hours. In addition, cloud-based infrastructure uses 16% of the energy required for traditional infrastructure and reduces CO2 emissions by an average of 88%.

The cloud can also support Eneru’s leadership in sustainable energy. Digital tools and platforms accelerate the construction of renewable energy power plants, reduce downtime by providing alerts when maintenance is needed, more accurately predict weather and market conditions, and regenerate Helps maximize energy production. “Enel leveraged machine learning solutions to increase plant efficiency, correlate weather patterns with wind turbine operating data, more accurately predict the power generated, and optimize maintenance programs.” Says Bozzoli. “We also use machine learning to optimize the engineering and construction of new renewable plants, reduce time to market, and look forward to the benefits of CO2-free generation and increased power generation.”

The new power plant has been digitized by design to maintain high availability and ensure as much efficiency as possible. It is supported by a “digital twin”, a virtual model of the plant that is useful for modeling, forecasting and testing. “With this tool, we not only analyze past behavior of assets and respond to events that may affect operational performance in real time, but also avoid potential obstacles through machine learning technology. , You can predict future performance with the highest reliability, “says Bozzoli.

Similarly, as the world’s largest international distribution system operator with over 2.1 million kilometers of transmission lines and over 1 million substations in eight countries, Eneru uses advanced digital technology to improve grid efficiency and reliability. Is constantly improving. For power plants, Enel can develop applications that support smart maintenance and network planning, thanks to Network Digital Twin, enabled by advanced IoT, edge computing technology, image recognition, and real-time time-series analysis.

In addition, digitization of smart meters and the like helps balance supply and demand on the grid by smoothing peaks of electricity and increasing stability. “Digital is a key element of the energy transition, enabling the integration of renewable energy throughout the power system, increasing the reliability of the grid and improving the management of energy demand,” says Bozzoli.

And that was just the beginning. As part of the next phase, called “Beyond Cloud Computing,” Enel has built one of the world’s largest virtualized networks, connecting more than 1,000 sites in 10 countries on three continents. Eneru predicts that the Internet of Things and edge computing will spread ideas to the site and create a “physical” environment that combines virtual and physical reality.

Eneru’s vision for the future is to accelerate the evolution into a platform-based enterprise by leveraging the definition of a unique group IT architecture that enables faster and more efficient deployment of technologies that can be easily extended across the organization. Is also aimed at.

However, it is not easy to confirm the following. Rather than waiting for the future, Enel’s Innovation Hubs seeks to leverage innovation by supporting startups with technology with great potential to help build it. Based in Brazil, Chile, Israel, Italy, Russia, Spain and the United States, Eneru’s hub is working with local investors, scholars, governments and more to find solutions to today’s most pressing problems. .. Over the last five years, Enel has analyzed more than 9,000 startups with more than 300 collaborations activated, 60 of which have already been scaled up.

Inside Enel, Enel X offers another route to innovation in the digital space. This is the company’s advanced energy services business line, whose mission is to meet the new needs of customers brought about by the energy transition using the energy model as a service. .. “By facilitating the use of electrical mobility and providing flexible services, storage and energy efficiency solutions, we can make our energy systems smarter, more efficient and sustainable, while at the same time being innovative to meet customer needs. We can provide products and services, “says Bozzoli. ..

All this is possible, as Eneru took the initiative and invested in digitization as a key pillar of strategic planning. “Digital tools and platforms are enablers for Eneru to provide cutting-edge energy services to its customers,” Bozzoli adds.

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Digitization is the key to taking renewable energy to the next level

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