Vattenfall: “We turned a project into a product, which we can now replicate in other projects”

Vattenfall is one of Europe’s leading energy companies. To reach its goal of fossil-free living within one generation, it is currently transforming its production portfolio, phasing out fossil production and investing in renewables.

In the Netherlands, Vattenfall just finished the construction of Energy Park Haringvliet Zuid; it’s so far largest hybrid energy park, featuring a combination of wind turbines, a PV plant and batteries for storage. In collaboration with Vattenfall’s SCADA Projects Department, Energico developed a Substation Control System, that would later grow into a uniform monitoring system for more Vattenfall sites (and the basis for our SAM Substation Automation Manager). In addition, Vattenfall uses our SARA asset management system on the Haringvliet site and several other locations.

Used products from Energico

Situation: what was the reason for the project (and for involving Energico as a partner)?

“When we started to collaborate around 2018, we were at a point where we needed project delivery and needed it fast”, says Jacob Moeller, principle consultant at SCADA EMC, a renewable energies company subcontracted for these kind of projects by Vattenfall. “So to get things moving, we issued a small tender for a single system first.”

“In addition to the project at hand, however, we were also thinking about an umbrella system that we could use on more locations. We quickly figured out that Energico had the potential to get all of that done, because of the organization, flexibility and skill set they demonstrated.”

Solution: how did Energico contribute to the project?

“They developed a SCADA system for monitoring and controlling the entire substation; the high voltage assets, as well as all of the other systems you find in a substation. From heating and ventilation to burglar alarm and data collection. These are all autonomous systems. For adequate and efficient remote monitoring, however, you need a single system that tells you if everything is working correctly.”

“After the Haringvliet project, we started to implement the system at several other locations. We have and had projects at some ten locations now; in the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. And there are potential projects in Sweden and the UK.”

“From an engineering perspective, a system only has to function, but we also wanted an intuitive interface.”

- Jacob Moeller, SCADA EMC / Vattenfall SCADA Projects

Results: what has the project brought Vattenfall?

“A lot of advantages. A single system is so much easier to maintain and operate. When monitoring 25 locations with different systems, there are big intervals between the last time someone operated a certain system and a notification they receive from that system today. It also facilitates peer training, which is very important to us. Another aspect, which is often overlooked, is that everything just looks and feels the same. From an engineering perspective, a system only has to function, but we also wanted an intuitive interface.”

“You could say we turned a project into a product, which we can now replicate in other projects. That significantly reduces project delivery times and costs. Not only in terms of development and operation, but also when it comes to hardware and maintenance, as a result of standardization and reduced complexity. It is even in such small details as the reduction of required space for hardware.”

Review: how did Vattenfall experience the collaboration?

“One of the SCADA Projects Department’s reasons for choosing Energico, as I already mentioned, was the flexibility they demonstrated. Now, three years into our ‘marriage’, we are still experiencing that same flexibility.”

Asked for a concrete example, Jacob mentions the Moerdijk wind farm project. “A smaller project in the Netherlands, which was postponed due to circumstances. It was already supposed to be delivered a year ago, and we are still working on it, but you don’t hear them complain about that. Or Hollandse Kust Zuid, a wind farm project on the North Sea. They really helped us out there by starting before officially getting the assignment, because they knew that the testing had to be done within a certain time window. It says a lot about the trust we have in each other.”

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