Endesa invests nearly €1bn to digitalize Catalonia’s grid

Endesa invests nearly €1bn to digitalize Catalonia’s grid

Between 2023 and 2025, Spanish energy company Endesa will invest €994 million ($983.5 million) in Catalonia’s grid to make it smarter and more digital.

The nearly €1 billion investment will help fund renewable energy while transitioning to a cleaner grid and improving service quality for 4.4 million customers in Catalonia.

Endesa plans to carry out nearly 1,300 projects throughout Catalonia that will improve the company’s digitalization, reliability, resilience, flexibility, and efficiency. In addition, they’ll be working on the distribution grid in Catalonia (which accounts for 39% of their overall capacity) to ensure it is up-to-date with the latest technology.

Transformation centre.

Transformation center. Courtesy Endesa.

The actions will be taken to continue digitizing Catalonia’s grid, guarantee its robustness and resilience, facilitate access to renewables, improve supply quality and continuity, and prepare the infrastructures for the increase in demand due to electrification (expected to increase by about 7,500MWh within three years). 

The plan

The investment was planned after prioritizing the region’s immediate needs while still being mindful of the importance of a distribution grid and its role in allowing electricity to reach homes, industries, and services. A distribution network connects transport networks and generation plants with consumption points.

Endesa plans to invest 11,100 km of high, medium, and low-voltage lines by 2022. This will include a significant focus on decommissioning 189.3 million euros of low-voltage cables in the next five years. It is predicted that executing these actions will create 2,940 jobs, 960 per year.

Endesa plans to install nearly 15,000 remote controls throughout Catalonia by 2023. They will continue the deployment they launched in recent years and surpass 33,000 within three years. In addition, if there is a blackout, new circuit breakers will be installed and activated automatically to isolate damaged areas and restore power quickly.

Powerline upgrade. Courtesy Endesa.

      Powerline upgrade. Courtesy Endesa.

Sensitization of the transformation centers entails monitoring the condition of transformers and low-voltage grids to observe and assess the performance of variables like voltages and temperatures to control their proper operation and achieve preventive and predictive digital management of these assets, which is another crucial component of this transformation.

According to Endesa, first deployed in 2018, this initiative has gradually crescendoed. During the next triennium, Endesa plans to install around 27,800 across Catalonia, to reach approximately 50,200 by 2025.

In addition, it takes advantage of the potential of big data and AI to streamline operations and support a more data-driven decision process. One of the ongoing initiatives is the Network Digital Twin, a clone of the assets that allows simulations to be run under any scenario. This digital twin creates opportunities for data-driven network administration, real-time control over the performance of various components, proactive maintenance, and more effective communication with field staff.

The Catalonian grid and electricity operations, managed by Endesa, include 45,669 transformation centers, 208 substations, 126 distribution centers, and 98,910 km of power lines (low-, medium-, and high-voltage).

The investments in the distribution grid are in addition to €263.7 million total or $260.9 million that Endesa committed this year during the current triennium (2021-23).

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Source: Smart Energy International

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