Operational Excellence

 

EDPR is consistently achieving above market net capacity factors and operational metrics in all geographies. This is the result of high performing and experienced teams that have developed solid processes to optimize performance.

Operational excellence is at the core of EDPR, all technical areas are continuously improving our operations with one clear objective: optimizing performance throughout project life-cycle.

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KEY AREAS OF EXCELLENCE – 2012 ACHIEVEMENTS
ENERGY ASSESSMENT
Industry leading net capacity factors
Accurate energy portfolio energy forecasting
In-depth analysis of 14 new countries
ENGINEERING & CONSTRUCTION
Constructed first ever solar PV plants
+ 504 MW built on-time, meeting targets
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
Positive evolution of EBITDA average MW in operation 131 thousand euros (+9% YoY)
High levels of availability, increasing to 97.5%

 

eneRgY aSSeSSMenT

Energy assessment is one of the most critical activities in the wind industry and a major source of concern for many players that have seen their wind power plants yielding lower production than planned.

EDPR has one of the most experienced teams in the industry, including experts with more than 10 years of experience. We conduct our own wind assessment, covering the whole process from supervising met masts installation and maintenance to data filtering, analysis, modelling, evaluation and wind power plant layout. Our experience shows better reliability in actual production than industry figures and independent service providers. Additionally, we interact with the energy markets group to assure the most accurate forecasting in order to reduce deviation costs.

The stability of EDPR’s net capacity factor, over the long term, as well as the above market average figures (+175bps premium in 2012, in Spain) achieved provide clear evidence of the excellence of our energy assessment capabilities.

It is also worth mentioning that during 2012, our teams studied new projects in 14 countries and performed efficiency follow-up initiatives on more than 5,100 operating WTGs (Wind TurbineGenerator).

engineeRing & COnSTRuCTiOn

Minimizing capex and life-cycle costs is a key priority for EDPR and a key focus area for the Engineering and Construction teams in our platforms.

Project Engineering is essential to design cost-effective wind power plants. EDPR has developed clear engineering standards based on our teams’ extensive experience that guide the design of new power plants. At completion, lessons learned are captured and incorporated to continuously improve our engineering standards and execution of construction. Specific efforts focus on critical elements to continuously optimize future plant designs. Finally, our teams apply their experience to supervise engineering.

Construction projects are awarded through competitive processes to achieve lowest possible costs, awarding civil and electrical engineering, and turbine erection to the best bidders. Our construction managers supervise execution, in-process inspections to assure quality assurance/control (QA/QC) and coordinate project planning to ensure on-time and on-budget project completion.

As new challenges arise EDPR has been quick to develop specialized teams to best tackle these projects. This has been the case with our new solar PV projects, as well as our ongoing wind offshore ventures.

OPeRaTiOn & MainTenanCe

EDPR has achieved one of the highest levels of performance in wind power plant operations in the industry, with availability figures well above 97%, even in older wind power plants or in sites with tougher wind conditions.

The onsite activity is maintained throughout the life of the project by the internal O&M team, in the first phase (warranty period) by accompanying the technology supplier of the turbines or solar panels, and then managing the activity of specialized contractors covering different working areas.

O&M cost evolution is also a key area of focus for EDPR, especially when initial warranty periods expire. EDPR’s O&M practice keeps control of high value-added activities such as maintenance planning, logistics and remote control operations while outsourcing under direct supervision people-intensive ones such as field work. Service contracts are awarded through competitive processes where the O&M model is defined case by case through a risk-return analysis. Our experience shows this strategy will allow EDPR to reduce O&M costs at post-warranty wind power plants by as much as 15%.

The O&M operational activity is supported by two main systems: wind energy management system (WEMS), operational performance management system (OPMS) and our internal computerized maintenance management system (CMMS).

EDPR has developed a state of the art remote control infrastructure, the WEMS system. Our supervisors at 3 remote control centres (Oporto, Oviedo and houston) have direct access to more than 5,600 turbines from 13 manufacturers and 200 substations. They have the capability to monitor and control each asset in real-time in order to remotely reset turbines, notify issues to local teams and respond to the most demanding grid operator requirements. More than 2 million data points are stored every day in a central historical database that is the core of our OPMS system. OPMS will soon drive our performance analysis activities and field operations to the next level of performance.

Since large component failures are a major driver of future costs, special attention is paid to optimizing maintenance and the cost and time of replacements. The process starts before end-of-warranty, by monitoring for potential serial defects, conducting QA/QC reviews of preventive maintenance, and running thorough end-of-warranty inspections. Predictive maintenance tools and our internal maintenance management system (CMMS) allow the reduction of downtime by better planning field activities and reducing damage, while our own logistics, direct sourcing and certified repair shops facilitate keeping costs under control. Failure rates of more sensitive components such as gearboxes and generators remain on average below 2% per year even in older wind power plants (5-12 years old).

Both systems, together with other management applications, are supported by a communications network that combines the different technologies available, covering the whole project with the redundancy needed to ensure their exploitation.

LEAN OPERATIONS AND CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
EDPR decided to launch in 2011 an internal Lean Program, aiming at optimizing processes across the company’s departments and geographies using a lean-six sigma methodology.

The Lean Program’s objective is to improve business processes in order to optimize the company’s revenues and costs, but also to improve safety, environmental impact, as well as internal and external coordination.

Lean encourages the generation of improvement initiatives in the organization using a bottom-up approach. Front-line personnel work in multifunctional teams (the so called “lean teams”) to analyze current business processes with a structured, end- to-end perspective. They focus on identifying inefficiencies or so-called “waste” leveraging well-proven lean tools. They are then encouraged to propose solutions that are tested before being fully implemented.

There are 6 lean teams currently working on key business processes in North America and Europe including energy sales, on-the-field activities, or BOP costs. More than 30 specific initiatives have already been launched, which are expected to deliver significant and tangible improvements from 2013 onwards. The end-goal of the program is to reinforce a mindset of continuous improvement in our daily work aross the company.