In 2022, we have proposed investments worth more than 90M€ in projects eligible to be co-financed by the European Union within the Recovery, Transformation, and Resilience Plan in regard of the Digitization of electrical networks.
These investments play part of the grid digitalization, which will enable the achievement of our ambitious national decarbonization targets.
The projects carried out in the 2022 financial year to digitize our network have been:
- Sensorization: Sensorization is the necessary starting point to enable the subsequent digitalization of the electrical distribution system since it provides basic technological developments to achieve the level of connectivity necessary to obtain a fully digitalized electrical system. Likewise, sensorization allows the capture of a large amount of data from the electrical network, to use it for optimization and improvement of the operation and maintenance of the network, through advanced data analytics tools. It allows to carry out, in a more precise way, the necessary energy balances of the network, in order to minimize technical losses, and improve the efficiency of networks through demand control, being able to operate networks with a greater presence of agents connected, derived, in large part, from the growth of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure network, as well as from a growing number of connected self-consumption facilities. In 2022 we have increased the sensorization of our distribution centers by installing Low Voltage Supervisor (LVS) hardware and the necessary software for data recording and its subsequent analysis
- New technological developments: The Network Digital Twin project encompasses the development and implementation of a 3D modeling system that allows the mapping of the Company's physical assets and whose objective is to increase the digital status of the network (virtual space) and its operational efficiency through remote and automatic inspections, derived from copying the real model of the network (real space). This system allows modeling the network in parallel to the operation in such a way that the network can be simulated, with a multitude of design data, manufacturing, operation, and limitations due maintenance or repair. It should be noted that, at an operational level, the Digital Twin model is linked to other developments related to digitization, such as the Internet of Things, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality.
- Digitization of substations: Electrical primary substations are the first element of the electrical power distribution network and one of the most relevant at the highest voltage levels since they are responsible for transforming high-voltage electricity into medium voltage, and therefore it is an essential asset in the operation of our network. In this sense, given the need to deploy distributed generation in medium and low-voltage networks that will require greater operating requirements at an electrical substation level, and in order to favor the network's hosting capacity through these elements, we have promoted the deployment of the digitization of electrical substations. The objective of this project is fundamentally based on the monitoring of the energy flow of the transformers, medium voltage electrical bars, and "feeders", in order to have sufficient visibility on the availability of the network and the energy injected/consumed and thus favor the integration of renewables, adapting to the load curve at each moment of the day. Likewise, these developments contribute to deploying new, more precise digital protections that contribute to greater security of the facilities.
- Low voltage digitalization: Distribution secondary substations are a key element of the low voltage distribution network, and this is why the automation and digitalization of secondary substations can have direct benefits for customers given their proximity to consumption points. In this sense, we have achieved a series of actions with the aim of modernizing the secondary substations of the network, like the installation of low-voltage cabinets with remote-controlled switchers.
- Telecontrol and network remotes: The main objective of the remote control projects is focused on improving the management and operation of the network and its telecommunications. The network remote control Plan is the basis of this development and consists of a massive network automation and digitization project that allows and enables the operation of LARS (algorithm developed with the aim of locating, isolating, and establishing the supply of energy in case of a breakdown event) – among others. Additionally, these projects will be in support to undertake the future demands of network digitization, and like LARS, they will use the implementation of remote-controlled devices such as fault passage detectors (RGDAT), power detectors (motorized switch-disconnectors), and remote equipment (RTUs), modems and communications.
- Remote Management Meters: Projects related to the necessary remote management of equipment and systems derived from the deployment and vegetative growth of our network, which mainly consist of establishing a direct and bidirectional connection between the network control center and the electrical installations distributed by the distribution network, with the aim of providing a greater guarantee of supply and security to the electrical system. Likewise, remote management systems can contribute to improving commercial customer service, thanks to the possibility of measuring and transmitting electricity consumption to the electricity distributor in real time, also including the possibility of reducing supply outages due to electrical failure, involving other solutions such as automation or LARS (Location of Failures and Replacement of Supply).
- Quality of customer service and digital systems: we have identified and planned projects related to continuous improvements in the field of customer service to develop under the following basic categories: Projects oriented to the field of measurement; Connection-oriented projects; Projects oriented to contracting and Projects oriented to customer service.
Digitalization of electrical networks in the National Recovery, Transformation, and Resilience Plan (PRTR):
- Electric networks are a key role in achieving the objectives set by The National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP). For this purpose, the networks need to accelerate our digitalization process. The digitalization of the electrical distribution networks will facilitate the participation of users in the decarbonization process of the electrical system, favoring the integration of renewables in the generation mix and, therefore, reducing the need to produce electrical energy from potentially polluting sources, contributing to promoting changes in mobility models.
- Due to the importance of the electricity grids in the national energy transition planning defined in the NECP, in the Plan de Recuperación, Transformación y Resiliencia sent to the European Comission, the 8 Component: ‘Infraestructuras eléctricas, promoción de redes inteligentes y despliegue de la flexibilidad y el almacenamiento’ supports investments to achieve this upgrade of the electricity grids.