O&M for Efficient and Competitive Green Energy

Published on Wednesday, 1 April 2015

"Well begun is half done", according to a popular saying, which can also be applied to energy producers. In fact, building an efficient plant according to the highest technological and environmental standards is the first essential step leading to the generation of megawatts, but when operations begin, the other half becomes increasingly important. Because plant management, maintenance and efficiency-raising play a role that becomes increasingly significant in the course of time.

In Enel's new strategic plan operational efficiency is essential and in the path that the Group will follow up to 2019 it will have to accomplish an 8 percent reduction in nominal terms of cash costs. Through its new organisation and improved global integration, Enel is set on using the best technological practices to increase the effectiveness of plant management and maintenance, in order to retrieve resources that are estimated at €1.5 billion, to be re-used in development and innovation. The basic principle is simple: constant good work that is continually improved allows to save time and resources to be employed elsewhere.

The example of renewables and Enel Green Power's experience towards optimisation are testimony that there's only one way to reduce maintenance costs while improving efficiency and competitiveness: it's necessary to rely on the abilities and excellent skills of Operations & Maintenance activities. To this end, examples in the field of green energy show to what extent Enel is capable of capitalising know-how and best practices regarding various technologies and different local contexts.

In Italy, Enel's engineering achieved in Presenzano one of the most significant hydro plant modernisations of the last few years. On the basis of a decade-long expertise in this field, it revised the plant's four groups, increasing the capacity of each of them by 4 to 5MW, for a total of 20MW, the equivalent of generation from a medium-sized hydropower plant.

In the USA, EGP North America's O&M team for wind power has developed a maintenance method based on the Conditioning Monitoring System (CMS), allowing to schedule a turbine stoppage for gearbox replacement that only lasts two days, compared with the average 30, thus avoiding the loss of 600MWh of production.