In January it was announced that EDP signed a contract with GE to enable preventive and more optimized management of its water, natural gas and coal-based power generation assets throughout the Iberian Peninsula.

The five-year agreement supports the implementation of the Group’s digital strategy in asset management through a platform that will allow monitoring the performance of the equipment and anticipate potential events that may jeopardize the normal operation of the plants, optimizing their maintenance and operation costs.

The contract enables the use of artificial intelligence algorithms, which will evaluate in real time all energy production variables. The first phase of the project is already underway. .

Here, Robin Goodman, GE Renewable’s Hydro Service Leader, and Pierre Marx, General Manager for the company’s Hydropower business in North America, provide more details on the contract.

What services will you be offering to EDP for hydropower? What will the work involve? 

Robin Goodman (RG): As part of this 5-year Agreement with EDP, GE Renewable Energy will provide Asset Performance Management (APM) services for 23 EDP hydro plants, combining cloud based Reliability Management analytics combined with high-frequency data Edge Analytics on 12 critical plants. GE will also provide the Operation Range Extension solution at five selected plants and an Asset Strategy Optimization (ASO) pilot prove of concept in one of them.

Can you provide details on the technology you are supplying? 

RG: The GE Asset Performance Management suite of digital industrial solutions leverages the asset operating massive data to create insights that enhance equipment operation and optimize maintenance strategy. The Reliability Management solutions monitor the performance of the equipment and, through mass data orchestrated analytics, anticipate potential events that may jeopardize the normal operation of the plants, optimizing their maintenance and operation costs, and providing a collaborative case management environment. The Operation Range Extension solution validates the safe operation of the hydro asset out of the current technical boundaries what unlocks additional plant power generation. Finally, the Asset Strategy Optimization, another pillar of the Asset Performance Management suite of digital solutions, will help EDP to balance reliability, availability, performance and cost against risk to maximize the value of plant assets.

Have you worked with EDP previously? 

RG: We’ve have worked with EDP previously and have a long relationship with them including on hydro projects and services in Portugal and worldwide.

What services can you offer to hydropower companies for digital transformation? 

RG: GE Renewable Energy offers its Digital Hydro Plant software and hardware based on data analytics. This helps to directly improve the performance of hydropower plants by creating actionable insight from data to help our customers get better results. Broadly, the services we offer for hydropower companies includes asset performance management, cybersecurity, outage management, condition monitoring equipment and energy forecasting in addition to our wide range of O&M, service and retrofit solutions for all equipment types. 

Pierre Marx: Like EDP, several forward-looking utilities in North America and elsewhere – including BC Hydro and Fortum – have embraced the potential of digital solutions to enhance the performance of their hydropower fleets. Different utilities are at different stages of that journey, but most agree that the ability to optimize maintenance expenditures, improve both reliability and availability, make field technician more productive, and increase annual energy production beyond current levels make this a key technology lever for their companies.  For example, customers tells us they value the ability to reduce maintenance costs as a result of moving from time based to condition based scenarios driven by analytic assessments that increase the ability to predict conditions on each machine. 

Any new developments on the horizon? 

RG: I can’t provide the details today, we’ll certainly be sharing new developments with you in the near future. We’re excited about the future of hydropower, and expect to see nothing but continued momentum throughout this year and beyond.