Renewable Energy Automation. Enel Setting an Example in Slovakia

Published on Sunday, 9 November 2014

Over the last few years Slovakia has been focusing on energy diversification and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by investing in both nuclear (the country's principal source of electricity) and renewable energy. Through its subsidiary Slovenské Elektràrne, Slovakia's leading power generator, the Enel Group plays a leading role in the country.

The Slovak company operates 31 hydropower stations and four pumped-storage stations, an efficient technique that increases production from active reservoirs while having both a limited environmental impact and a relatively low cost. In addition to offering an important contribution to satisfying the country's electricity demand, Enel's hydropower operations in Slovakia are at the forefront of a number of experimental and innovative projects that regard in particular automated facility management systems.

'Our systems handle large volumes of data. In a standard plant with three turbines and three generators, about six thousand process variables are monitored,' explains Slovenské Elektràrne's Head of Hydropower Technologies Stefan Starosta. 'While in larger systems, such as that of Cierny Vah with six motor generators, there may be as many as 14,000 variables. Over 120,000 parameters are managed in all of our operating hydroelectric plants.'

Among the key projects launched after Enel's acquisition of Slovenské Elektrárne is Total Control Trencin, in which pumped-storage hydropower operations are directly managed from the Trencin dispatching centre. Today, with the exception of Gabcikovo and the Cierny Vah pumped-storage plant, all of the business' plants require human intervention only once a day, for maintenance.

Further proof of Enel's commitment to reducing emissions lies in the fact that Slovenské Elektràrne produces as much as 90 percent of its electricity without harmful emissions. The Group also promotes sustainable transport and biodiversity protection projects in Slovakia, activities that earned it the European Union's Business & Biodiversity Award in 2012.