New technological solutions to improve how to control and manage installations activities.

2019 was a highly positive year of the Renewables Division. Three projects worth highlighting.

Small Hydro, high-tech and optimised times

The development of new technological solutions to improve how to control and manage installations activities. The optimisation of lead times. The capacity of being competitive in both domestic and international markets. These are the drivers that have guided the growth of the Renewables Division throughout a year as encouraging as exacting as 2019. Last year the technical workshops of Verbania and the Artogne plant- head and arm of the division- worked in perfect agreement, and were the protagonists of a series of important events in the small hydro sector. There were three special projects: Arsti, Orsolina and Gandellino.


It is named after the town where it is located: Arsti, a small village in northern Albania, not far from Pukë, in the triangle where the borders of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro meet. The 6 MW plant consists of 3 horizontal-axis Pelton hydroelectric units that were designed, built and installed by ATB, all in exactly one year. ATB was chosen by HEC Arsti for a water-to-wire supply: turbines, generators, auxiliary systems, low and medium voltage switchboard, and the entire automation system. The special feature of this project is the approach implemented to finish the work and meet the client's special requirements. «We deployed all the possible technical solutions to facilitate and speed the way the plant is managed and maintained», explains Federico Tartaro, Small Hydro Operations General Manager of the Renewables Division. «More specifically, in order to connect the units and the switchboards to the automation system, we implemented an architecture that prevents any kind of wiring problem and helps to save a lot of time as a part of the intelligence of the automation system is on board the functional units of the plant. In this way installing electric circuits becomes a simple and quick task, and tests can be directly conducted at workshop». To understand how this works, we have to picture our nervous systems and its ganglia. The final result is a smart plant, with cutting edge technology and customised to the client's needs, that is commissioned exactly twelve months after the works start.

«Our ten years of experience in the Albanian market», adds Tartaro, «has helped us to correctly identify and understand what a client wants, and to share with him a sole objective: finish the plant as soon as possible and to have a plant in perfect operation condition». 


A factor that should be never overlooked when working in the mountains is weather. In February 2019 the Renewables Division was involved in a particularly complex project due to its logistic implications. For EN&EN, ATB was in charge of making a horizontal-axis Pelton hydroelectric unit and installing the interception components of the intake structures for the Orsolina plant in Borca di Cadore, Province of Belluno, in the heart of the Dolomites. The 1900 kW plant with a nominal head of 386 meters is now included in the registries for Government tax incentives to promote renewable energy. «Very tight contractual schedules were set so that the client could be eligible for these feed-in tariffs», explains Project Manager Massimiliano Bernardi. «On the first week of last November we started the electromechanical assembly works at the plant and the intake structures, and we finished them one and a half month later». This is surely a record time: the site is not easy to reach due to its location and the heavy snowfalls typical of the season, therefore, many logistic issues had to be overcome to transport the components to the site. The first synchronisation with the grid was made in February.


The Gandellino project, in Bergamo, was concluded in nine months, about eight weeks before its regular expected time. Enel Green Power entrusted ATB with the task of building three run-on-river units for the plant being built in the municipality located in Val Seriana, upon the Serio river: a plant with a total power of 5 MW that sends the energy produced to an HV line at 110 kV. For each unit, the supply includes a horizontal-axis Francis turbine, a direct-coupled synchronous generator, a stop valve coupled to the penstock (already present), water supply pipes to the turbine, a synchronous discharge valve to relief penstock overpressure, ancillary systems of the units for hydraulic control, lubrication and cooling.

The agreement was signed in January 2019 and the site was closed in November so that there was enough time for commissioning and putting into operation the plant. «Time played a key role in the progress of the works; in this case, deadlines were very tight so that the project can benefit from the incentives for renewable energy, and the supply at the workshop had to be completed in 8 months», explains Maurizio Domenichini; PM of the Renewables Division. «Our big achievement was to finish our part in only nine months, when this kind of works generally takes between twelve and fourteen months. Observing such exacting terms was only possible thanks to the joint work of the ATB facilities of Artogne and Roncadelle».

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