This article first appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of The Record.
Gorenjske Elektrarne specialises in the development of power from renewable sources, including solar and hydroelectric power. The company is a subsidiary of Elektro Gorenjska, one of Slovenia’s leading energy utility companies.
Due to the nature of its power sources, many of the company’s power generation sites are located in remote and difficult terrain, presenting monitoring and control challenges.
Gorenjske Elektrarne has used COPA-DATA technology since 2006, when the company first adopted the zenon solution to support the local control and monitoring of its Soteska hydroelectric power station.
Due to the success of this initial installation, the company took the decision to standardise on zenon. This started in 2007 at the Sorica Hydroelectric Power Plant, with zenon implemented as a local supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. The solution helps control operations, record key plant parameters and alerts engineers to alarm states.
The Sorica project spawned an initiative to improve the centralised and decentralised monitoring of all hydroelectric power plant (HPP) operations from 2011 to 2013, and in 2014 and 2015, an additional 23 photovoltaic power plants were connected to the central SCADA.
The solution was implemented across the board to enable operational parameters, alarm management and live camera feeds to be displayed at the HPP control centre in Kranj, Slovenia. Using zenon’s web server and web client, this information can also be viewed at any decentralised location with an internet connection.
“The 100% reliability of zenon has been great for us,” says Jurij Čadež, project manager at Gorenjske Elektrarne. “It has enabled us to remotely investigate and diagnose problems before they can have a negative influence on production. Because of the risks associated with high water levels and flood water, it is important to be able to control operations remotely and zenon has proved very useful for this too.”
To maintain a reliable and flexible overview of its operations from any location, Gorenjske Elektrarne looked into using zenon alongside Microsoft Azure. The company now uses zenon in combination with Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform for fast and easy access to its control centre.
Information from Gorenjske Elektrarne’s control centre can be visualised by mobile clients. Employees simply install Remote App clients on their internet-connected PCs, tablets or phones and can securely access the zenon application.
Gorenjske Elektrarne can now ensure every member of the team who needs it has an operational overview. This consists of a real-time dashboard of the company’s entire infrastructure across 36 distributed power generation sites. Engineers and supervisors can access the information they need using their Android smartphones, with the zenon application, running on Azure, delivering the information they need in real time.
Čadež says: “The application is extremely fast and responsive. I am very happy with the outcome of our latest zenon project using Microsoft Azure as a platform. It is very useful for our company.”
In 2016, COPA-DATA was recognised for its thought leadership in this area by winning the Microsoft CityNext Partner of the Year award.