Spain’s top utility deploys ABB’s advanced solutions for power generation plant

ABB’s cutting-edge excitation systems improve plant reliability and operator effectiveness

Spain’s largest utility (Empresa Nacional de Electricidad, S.A) ENDESA has selected ABB to upgrade the excitation systems for three diesel generator sets at its plant in Melilla. ENDESA, which is a majority-owned subsidiary of the Italian utility Enel , provides electricity to 10 million customers primarily in Spain, Portugal and Morocco. ENDESA’s power plants generate electricity from different energy sources: hydroelectric, nuclear, thermal, wind and solar.

The diesel plant is a critical facility for the city as it is the primary source of electricity for people living in Melilla. Thus, the availability of each of the generators at the plant is crucial in minimizing downtime.

ABB won the contract to upgrade the plant’s excitation systems from UNITROL F to UNITROL 6000 in June 2020. The objective was a significant reduction of downtime and costs while optimizing productivity and improving the plant reliability.

“ We were confident about ABB’s portfolio and ABB’s team competences and technical skills. ABB’s proposal addressed all our requirements and their customized solution was the best fit for our operations,” Mariano Monter, Iberian Electrical and I&C leader at ENDESA said.

Navigating Challenges

The project was awarded to ABB amidst the global pandemic and travel restrictions. ABB’s team of experts communicated with the customer virtually and developed a proposal based on all the necessary plant information provided by the ENDESA team.

 “We are satisfied that we were able to address the customer's challenges and deploy our best solution. The collaboration between our respective teams has been very successful, despite the limitations due to the pandemic Alvaro García, Electrification Manager for ABB Energy Industries in Spain, noted.

As a part of the project, ABB upgraded the plant’s existing systems with ABB UNITROL® 6000 excitation systems that help plant owners and operators to achieve reliability of operations, stability, and fast transient response of their assets, as per grid requirements.

The UNITROL® 6000 for indirect and static excitation systems comes in three versions: UNITROL® 6000 Light which is the standardized entry-level solution, UNITROL® 6000 Medium which is fully customizable and UNITROL® 6000 X-power high-end fully customizable solution that is designed for large power generation units and brings a new benchmark in flexibility, reliability, and connectivity.

“For this project, the existing system was upgraded to UNITROL® 6000 Medium excitation system. We also ensured that the assembly and the commissioning processes were completed in full compliance with the COVID19 restrictions. Despite that, we were able to complete the project within the agreed budget and time,” Alvaro added.

Improving Plant reliability

The system upgrade provided by ABB reduced assembly and commissioning times by more than 60%, while ensuring safe operations with the transfer of data and logic from old to new systems.

In addition, this ensured that adjacent systems like the protection systems are synched with the new set of excitation systems, limiting potential cost impacts and reducing the risk of delays.

ABB has also signed a maintenance and support contract for the equipment for three years after delivery for operation.

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