Beginning in 2010, as a result of the desire for innovation of an internal team of young engineers and industrial experts from the Electromechanical Engineering Function, a path aimed at creating a unified, effective and technological management process for the operation of electromechanical plants was initiated. This process led to the installation of new automated systems designed in-house. Through the use of the new systems, the power grid operation management quality is improved, reducing energy losses and optimizing energy resources.
The highly innovative vision of the Innovation Research & Development team enabled it to achieve something that was until then impossible, while today this approach is already a company standard. Nominated in 2019 for the Salone delle Macchine e delle Attrezzature per l'Ufficio (Office Machinery and Equipment Fair) in Milan, the most important event dedicated to innovation for businesses and public administrations, the initiative won the SMAU Innovation Award. The competition was created with the aim of enhancing and sharing the most innovative projects implemented by companies and public bodies through the use of digital technologies and cutting-edge solutions.
On 22 October 2019, Lorenzo Artaz, Chief Operating Officer of CVA SpA, and the Innovation Research & Development team of the Electromechanical Engineering Function received on behalf of the company, the SMAU Innovation Award for highly innovative organizations, during the event held at the SMAU Live Show in Milan.
The award-winning project concerns the implementation of automatic control software: the Speed/Frequency Controller (RDF12©) and the Voltage Controller (RDT14©), two small but powerful engineering gems to which the Group Automation (AUT16©) was added, considered the real "brain" of the plant. These programs, embedded in selected hardware platforms, enable automated control of the hydroelectric generating unit.
The entire project was designed on the control systems of GE (now Emerson), chosen by CVA as a preferred partner because of the reliability and performance already experienced with previous solutions.
The added value of the above-mentioned control systems is the user-friendly, simple and reliable user interface designed specifically to meet the plant's needs and the operator's expectations.In addition, the control levels are more accurate and reliable, the management quality of power grid operation is improved, and power losses and out of grid services are avoided. The valuable environmental heritage of the Aosta Valley has certainly benefited as well.
The Innovation team was not satisfied with the perimeter of the hydroelectric power plant and also implemented the first Automation of Intake Works and automatic control of the Minimum Vital Flow, called AUTOP. This system has been applied, at present, aboard the large weir on the Dora Baltea River located in Pont Saint Martin serving the CVA Quincinetto 2 plant and on the Sarre weir serving the CVA Quart plant.
The development of the Plant Controller (of which the first Level Controller prototype is already fully in service on the Hone 1 plant) - hierarchically placed above the group automations and the boundary point between local and remote control - is currently in progress. It will enable the hydroelectric power plant to operate in total autonomy. The fourth and final phase of the project, will finalize the research and development process of CVA's Innovation team on the topic of automatic control of hydropower generation. This important goal to be achieved has been ambitiously set for 2021 on the Signayes hydroelectric power plant.
CVA is again looking to the future and is counting on exporting as soon as possible these Solutions developed all in-house with insider skills, which are unmatched to date.
The solution has attracted the interest of primary players in the electrical industry, and several European companies have shown interest in implementing it on their plants.
CVA has thus created a standard of technologies to make the management of hydropower generation assets homogeneous and high-performing.
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