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  • Writer's pictureFlavia Cristian

A hydropower plant's ultimate planning tool—how to tap into your resource-saving potential

With the current economic landscape, it is all about staying competitive these days. Energy producers in the industry sector are looking into how they can automate their processes related to their energy production to optimize their output and maximize their cost-saving potential and raise sustainability. For this reason, we have partnered up with Verbund, creating a customized planning tool for energy production. Last week, we reached another milestone in our cooperation. Read more about where we started, what we’ve been doing, and where we are headed.

A scheduling tool for energy production

For any energy producers, power scheduling is a crucial step in the logistical planning of power flows from different plants into the energy market. As an energy producer typically operates within a conglomerate of power plant groups, the management of production volumes is to be optimized. This is also the case with Verbund, Austria's leading energy company and one of the largest producers of electricity from hydropower in Europe. In its network, Verbund has a multitude of power plant groups across Austria, operating across Styria, Carinthia, Salzburg, and Upper Austria.

From the beginning, the goal of Verbund’s cooperation with craftworks was to improve power generation, making it more sustainable and resource-efficient. To ensure that resources are used as efficiently as possible, the power plants are following a production plan. A plan manages how much energy should be produced by each power plant at any given time. Verbund wanted to optimize the electricity production of individual power plants according to its coordinated plan, using the in-house developed optimization engine. We created a software tool, customized to their priorities, for efficient information-based planning and control of capacity and storage management.

The first step was to optimize the power production in accordance with the in-house plan through the customer’s optimization engine GAMS and replace the old method of manually filling out data into an Excel file. In order to do that, we had to build the necessary software architecture that would link the measurement database AKS with GAMS and with the power plant control system.

Our hydro planning tool consists of a multi-component backend that works as a message broker and an intuitive frontend for visualizing data on power generation for the different power plants Verbund manages. The next steps are for craftworks' hydro planning tool to be rolled out to several power plants around Austria.

The integration of other power plant groups

Recently, another milestone has been reached, with the integration of the Drau and Malta power plant groups in Carinthia. The additional features that we have implemented are data validation and trivial forecasting of energy production, which favor operational efficiency and time-saving. We have also implemented constant performance improvements and workflow management. Via an intuitive user interface, operators can monitor and optimize the performance of energy production, and manage power volumes and potential maintenance.

Between all power plants, energy producers have to manage certain power scheduling-related tasks such as minimum and maximum power output, ramping up and down and reserves-scheduling. With the help of the automated creation of power schedules, the potential of saving on time and operational costs can be maximized.

Our key learnings

🚀 active communication between the project partners and ourselves

🚀 early involvement of end users in the development

🚀 solution-oriented mindset to new and changing requirements

🚀 goal-oriented cooperation in two or three-week sprints

We want to say a big thank you to Verbund and Manuel F., Michael Hammerer, and Thomas Kropf for efficient and successful teamwork!

Data and automation seem to be the answer to gauging all the cost- and time-saving potential a company has. As each industry has its particularities, having the ability to customize a solution to your issue is crucial. What we, craftworks, typically see with energy-producing companies, is the desire to improve transparency in the production, save costs and raise efficiency, cross-site energy management, and reduction of emissions. The industrial sector, although complex, is future-oriented, and oftentimes, all you need is a customized software solution to get you there. Reach out to us, and we will gladly assist you with identifying your challenges and customizing a solution specific to your priorities.


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