At a European level, an objective has been set of reaching a renewable energy share of 32% of the total final energy consumed. This means, for the member countries, the adaptation of their electrical systems to a new scenario in which renewable energies will play a fundamental role. In the case of Spain, a radical transformation of the electrical system architecture is necessary. The Spanish OS (Operator System) REE is betting on the digitalization and innovation of the system to achieve a decarbonized world. Smarter technologies and mechanisms are the key tools to ensure reliable, secure and more modern distribution networks. By taking this prominent position, REE is reinforcing the digital transformation and sustainability objectives set by the EU Agenda.
Due to the unique characteristics of renewable energies, REE created the Cecre (Renewable Energy Control Center), a global energy control center pioneer back in 2006. The Cecre ensures the quality of supply and is responsible for the supervision and control of renewable energies in Spain. Renewable generation facilities or groups with power greater than 5MW have the obligation to assign themselves to a Generation Control Center (CCG) authorized by the OS, in other words, to a dispatching center. Through these dispatching centers, the Cecre receives real-time information from all Spanish facilities every 4 seconds.
In Spain, there are 44 dispatching centers enabled to send information from the generation power plants to REE; and in the opposite direction, from REE to the generation power plants to send operational curtailment commands. Out of the 44 authorized control centers, we find 33 located in the peninsula, 9 in the Canary Islands, and the other 2 based in the Balearic archipelago. The real-time information regarding the generation facilities is received at the Cecre through the “real-time telemetry protocols defined in the Operating Procedure 9.2 (P.O. 9.2.)”, proposed last April 2020.
New Operating Procedure allows On-Cloud Energy Control Centers
In December 2020, Red Eléctrica made the new operating procedure (P.O. 9.2.) effective, which specified the new scenarios for the information exchange in real time with the Spanish grid operator and the technical specifications of the communication links.
Currently, dispatching centers send real time information through telecommunication leased lines between REE and the different dispatching centers scattered through the country. So far, this has been the only method allowed to communicate with REE. However, different transmission processes are flourishing in order to boost the digital company transformation while ensuring energy efficiency.
One of the challenges addressed in the new operating procedure issued by REE is the possibility of enabling communication systems between dispatching centers and the OS through the cloud. This entails, among many other benefits, the recognition and innovation lead for the Spanish grid operator within the energy sector. This regulatory update allows control centers, the Operator System and in general the entire operation of the network, to take a step further in the digitization and modernization of the electrical system.
Many renewable energy generators and electricity distributors are already considering on-cloud architecture systems, since these structures facilitate greater flexibility and adaptation towards the new energy model our society is aiming for. It’s a new energy model based on sustainable growth and innovation of the sector whilst making energy secure and affordable to everybody.
In addition, the new proposed architecture based on on-cloud ecosystems is presented as a much more scalable solution when it comes to expanding control centers’ equipment needs. It is more agile and efficient for energy control centers to expand the capacity of their infrastructures through on demand cloud computing platforms such as Amazon Web Server or Microsoft Azure.
The implementation of 9.2. PO not only enables control centers to be hosted on the cloud, but also emphasizes improvements related to cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is a very hot topic and an area in which new measures are being proposed to secure more new electricity generation, distribution and transmission structures than ever. Only in this way can we develop a safer and more secure network. Moreover, on-cloud servers allow a faster and more efficient adaptation to new communication and cybersecurity requirements.
First on-cloud Energy Dispatching Control Center in Spain
Green Eagle Solutions’ technology has been working in several Spanish energy dispatching centers for the last 5 years. Currently, we are setting up the first on-cloud based dispatching center in Spain. This energy dispatching control center from a relevant and innovative Spanish company will operate and exchange information in real time with REE from its on-cloud servers.
As a technological and innovative company in the field of software solutions for the renewable sector, Green Eagle Solutions supports and promotes the development of on-cloud systems. The company undertakes great technological challenges and uses the most disruptive digital tools, because only by these means can we all achieve a sustainable energy sector and a low carbon economy and society.