Uruguay may be a small nation, surrounded by its South American neighbors Argentina to the west and Brazil to the north, but it is extremely progressive in terms of energy policy and integration of renewables in particular. The country launched its long-term energy policy in 2008 and renewables now account for more than 50 percent of the total energy mix, with the WWF naming Uruguay among its "Green Energy Leaders" in 2014.
Furthermore, the Uruguayan government-owned power utility UTE (Usinas y Trasmisiones Electricas del Uruguay) has a goal to generate 90 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020. This will place added emphasis on efficiently maintaining the utility's transmission assets, as well as introducing additional distributed assets such as wind turbines and rotor blades.
As part of a state initiative titled 'Asset Management and Intelligent Network Management' - aiming to optimize the use and extend the life of existing infrastructure - UTE has recently invested in ABB's Asset Health Center, to support the efficiency and sustainability of its network. This innovative solution is part of ABB's Internet of Things, Services and People approach.
Asset Health Center delivers on the promise of IT and OT integration by unlocking the wealth of real-time sensing and monitoring data available today to enable more proactive and predictive asset management for asset-intensive industries.
Turning data into strategic insights
By adding this software based solution to their existing operational technology UTE is aiming to reduce the risk of critical asset failure, deploy capital investments more effectively and optimize operations and maintenance spend where it is needed most.
"Utilities across the globe are looking for ways to monitor the grid in real-time with an increasing number of sensors being deployed to aid fault location, improve operations, and better manage aging power networks, explains Massimo Danieli, Managing Director of the Grid Automation business unit within ABB's Power Grids division. "Deploying ABB's Asset Health Center solution enables utilities to build on existing investments in OT and connect with IT, helping them to anticipate grid issues and keep the power on for millions of citizens."
UTE will benefit from a predictive, proactive asset management program which uses innovative software technology to collect real-time and historical data and where performance algorithms can help to give guidance on the best next steps, including planning maintenance for mission-critical assets and therefore avoiding unplanned downtime.
"We turned to ABB as we had also heard about how American Electric Power in North America improved performance with the Asset Health Center solution," says Gabriel Sardi, Manager Transmission Exploitation Management Sector, UTE. "We have also used ABB's Network Manager SCADA/EMS solution for several years to successfully deliver secure, efficient and optimized operation of our electric power system." With the addition of the new IT technology, the course is set for more sustainable operations to match Uruguay's sustainability aspirations in the clean energy sphere.