Smart Repowering demands meet ATB's know-how

ENEL's new design approach that the Renewables-Small Hydro Division of the Group has successfully interpreted and fulfilled.

ATB's know-how fot Smart Repowering

Important news on ATB's Renewables front. More specifically in the world of Small Hydro. It has been almost a year now that the Group has been working fruitfully with ENEL on different Smart Repowering projects. But what is meant by 'Smart Repowering'? What exactly is it? It is an innovative design approach that has been developed by ENEL to renovate small-and middle-sized equipment installed while observing increasingly tight budgets and minimising the impact on any civil engineering structure present.

A cross between revamping and supplementary maintenance of the installation. In practical terms, the criteria for this kind of renovation implies replacing one of the units installed- the oldest or the least efficient- whereas the rest are retrofitted. «This is not a true reconstruction, which sometimes may affect the civil works of the structure and the execution times» says Elmondo Presutti, managing director of the Renewables Division of the ATB Group.

«The works are usually specific and targeted to specific parts of the installation, a sort of 'nip & tuck' for the hydroelectric plant». The added value that ATB can guarantee compared with competitors in today's market lies in the company's industrial expertise. Thanks to transversal competences and sound know-how in manufacturing equipment for the hydro-power sector, the Group can successfully meet both needs that this kind of projects require. 

«We have not only the skills and the tools to design, build and install new turbines and hydro-mechanical components, but also the expertise necessary to guarantee tailored-made maintenance for each component», stresses Presutti. This is a potential that ATB have already shown that they do possess in the last two smart repowering projects executed in Italy. The first of these works was at the Lima power station (total power: 7.0 MW) in the Pistoia Apennines. It consists of three Francis machines, one of which was fully replaced while the other three were reconditioned. Last spring, and just a couple of months after that ATB had worked at the site, the installation started to operate again at full power.The same occurred for the Sestaione power plant (total power: 7.5 MW). This is another generation site in Tuscany, a few kilometres away from Lima, that has three Francis turbine, one of which was replaced permanently by a Pelton one.

«The advantage is that given similar hydraulic operation conditions, the efficiency of the generation units was enhanced by wheels featuring optimised and highly-efficient hydraulic profiles. ATB have been investing in R&D for these wheels in order to compete with the best international players», adds the managing director. ENEL has been making important investments in this new design and operative model, not only in Italy but also abroad. As regards investments, the company has already approved some other smart repowering projects of a similar scale. An interesting business horizon for the Group led by Sergio Trombini that is ready to develop new international commercial opportunities for the Renewables - Small Hydro Division of the ATB Group.

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