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Enemalta PLC

Delivering a next-generation control center with big-system capabilities for a smaller network

The Company

Enemalta was established in 1977 as the main provider of electricity generation and distribution services in the Maltese Islands off the southern tip of Italy. It coordinates the dispatch of a number of grid-connected sources of electrical energy, including power plants, renewable energy installations, and an interconnector to Italy. The company, which serves approximately 310,000 customers, has been instrumental in pioneering the usage of new technology to deliver better products and the best service to its customers.


The Challenge

Enemalta's brand promise is to provide its customers with reliable service through engineering excellence, improved efficiencies and a continuous drive for change. The company is known as an early adopter of new technology, helping it to live up to that brand promise. 

In support of Enemalta’s brand promise, in 2013 the company set out to accomplish three goals:

  1. Reduce the frequency (SAIFI) and duration (SAIDI) of customer outages, thereby improving customer satisfaction and avoiding regulatory penalties.
  2. Enhance its ability to shed loads, a requirement brought on Enemalta following a recent interconnection with Italy using a subsea HV, 50Hz cable.
  3. Implement an enterprise-wide network lifecycle management approach to its control systems, tearing down data and functional silos between network planning, operations, maintenance.

Enemalta contacted ABB to help achieve these goals based on their familiarity with ABB technology, including the existing Enemalta SCADA system. 


The Solution

ABB teamed with Digpro, a strategic partner and frequent collaborator on network information systems projects, to create a combined solution for Enemalta. ABB provided its Network Manager Distribution SCADA System, a control center solution that enables secure, efficient, and optimised operation of the electric power system.

The solution also included Digpro’s dpPower, a complete web-based asset register including maps, single line diagrams, topologies and asset data. This enabled the design, planning, operation, outage management, maintenance, and analytics of the power network.

"One of the critical benefits to Enemalta, was that ABB offered a system that scaled perfectly to their medium-size network and allowed for a rapid implementation," says Stefan Multing, area sales director at ABB. "Most SCADA/DMS systems come in one size, appropriate only for very large implementations. This requires an extensive specification and years of implementation to eventually deliver on the users' expectations. The ABB solution for relatively small utilities enables an economical and speedy deployment of a fullfeatured system with an attractive ROI."

Main Data

Location  Maltese Islands
Industry Energy & utilities

Solutions Used

Network Manager ADMS
 



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"The ABB solution with embedded Digpro technology will improve the control of our mediumand low-voltage systems, helping us take a big step toward improving network operations, and reducing the frequency and length of outages."


–Dr. Ing. Joseph Vassallo, Head of SCADA Operations, Enemalta

The Result


The ABB/Digpro solution created something beyond the capabilities of a typical distribution and operations management system. As Multing explained, "The combined technologies created a complete operations management and network information system (OMS/NIS), effectively integrating Enemalta’s information and operations technology. We were able to accomplish all of our customer’s goals, and solve many of the problems and challenges traditionally faced by utilities."

The SCADA and OMS/NIS solution brought together diverse data streams and business functions throughout the organisation into a single system, creating a unified, single, ‘true view’ of network information. Many functional and data silos were effectively removed, consolidating islands of information and eliminating an abundance of standalone tools. Seeing the benefit of this one, true view, Enemalta expanded the original project scope to include additional integrations, including hourly acquisition of smart meter data and the transmission of system data to legacy GIS systems. 

The singular view of network data coupled with significantly enhanced support for the outage management process were key elements in achieving a unified network lifecycle management for Enemalta. When undertaking network improvements, expansions, and other initiatives, the project teams now access a single, consistent collection of data. This provides full transparency to management, project team members, and contractors throughout each step of the project cycle, resulting in improved control and increased quality assurance.

From planning through design, implementation, operation, maintenance, and optimisation, all team members access the same data via a single tool. Internally, this simplifies and speeds up almost every aspect of network operations and maintenance, with a resulting reduction in outages. Externally, it enhances Enemalta’s ability to provide better, faster responses to customer issues and inquiries.

"It will also provide improved load shedding,’ Vassallo adds. ‘That’s a critical capability; if we lose our connection to the Italian grid, we need to very quickly shed loads to avoid a complete blackout."

In addition to offering a solution that was exactly scaled to Enemalta’s needs, the project was completed at a relatively small cost and in a short timeframe compared to alternate solutions. Since Enemalta serves an island, it’s unlikely that that there will be a need to significantly expand the capacity of its system, even though the network has been strengthened in the last three years. However, in other implementations where utilities want to start with a small step but ensure the ability to expand in the future, the ABB solution provides the needed scalability to migrate to an enterprisewide advanced distribution management system (ADMS).

"We will migrate to the new system over time rather than making a sudden cut," says Vassallo. "Doing this will help us avoid possible loss of power to customers while implementing the system. And Enemalta has just started extending the automation capabilities to our smaller substations, the ones closest to the customers, to further reduce response time to customer issues."

Deployment, operation and maintenance of the solution were greatly simplified, and the implementation costs were leveled over a three-year period, through ABB’s evergreen service model. As Multing explains, "In typical implementations, there are unpredictable and often large swings in required spending. The evergreen model provides customers with level spending on a 'subscription' to the full suite of life-extension services. New releases, service packs, hot fixes, error tracing, bug fixes, system testing, licenses, hardware and more are all included in the package."

The SCADA and OMS/NIS solution brought together diverse data streams and business functions into a single system, creating a unified, single, ‘true view’ of network information.


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