Endesa launches distribution network digital twin project

Endesa launches distribution network digital twin project
Image: Endesa

Spanish utility Endesa’s network subsidiary e-distribución is to create a digital twin of its network over the next three years.

In preparation, the company has deployed 50 specialised teams both within the mainland and on the Canary and Balearic Islands to gather data on the 90,000km of medium and high voltage overhead lines, 1,311 substations and 144,000 distribution centres over an area of more than 195,000km2 that comprise its network.

Digitalisation of the lines is being undertaken from helicopters, while that of the other infrastructure is ground-based and includes a digital inventory of nameplates to identify each item.

Once the digital twin is complete, all of these will then be accessible at the click of a mouse and coupled with real-time operational data from sensors should provide an exact replica of the status of the network.

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The project, being undertaken with a €40 million ($43.7 million) investment, marks the next step in the company’s ongoing digitalisation of its operations, which began with smart meter deployment, a statement reads.

Endesa anticipates that the digital twin should open up new possibilities for the future management of the network, from simulations under different conditions to applying preventive maintenance, interacting with field personnel more efficiently and real-time control of network components.

Consumer benefits also are anticipated, with the more rapid detection of where failures may occur and simulations to determine the most efficient means of recovery.

Approximately one-third of the work is expected to be completed this year.

E-distribución’s networks carry about 43% of the electricity supplied to customers in Spain.

With the digital transformation of the networks, Endesa anticipates being able to integrate greater shares of renewable energy and support e-mobility and self-consumption, which are strategic priorities.