Digitalisation has been increasingly affecting all areas of private and business life for years. Also for hydropower producers, the complete digitalisation of power plants is the next evolutionary step after the automation of the plants. As Switzerland's largest hydropower producer, Axpo wants to actively exploit the opportunities that result from this. At the beginning of April 2019, the green light was given for the implementation of the first digital hydropower plant in Switzerland at the Sarganserland power plant (KSL) site - as a pilot project called "Hydro 4.0".
The pilot project was successfully completed at the end of 2020. This ended in a new unit, Axpo Hydro Digital (HTD), rolling out the new services from the areas of analytics, workforce and infrastructure in the Axpo Hydro Park and also making them available to external customers. Further applications from the area of robotics / image analysis are being developed in a new pilot project called "robotics@hydro" into end-to-end solutions for supporting visual inspections from the air, on land and in the water.
Axpo Hydro Digital is a full-service provider for digitalisation for hydropower operators, offering suitable digital solutions at various service levels: from consulting and implementation to operation and support - all from a single source.
In the "Hydro 4.0" pilot project, Axpo tested 20 different cases of application thoroughly under real conditions at the Sarganserland power plants over a period of one and a half years. Their potential in terms of cost-benefit was examined in detail and the acceptance of the new solutions by the power plant employees was evaluated.
Based on the findings, it was possible to make a well-founded decision as to which applications would be implemented operationally at the power plants by Axpo or the partners involved. Axpo Hydro Digital is now making this expertise and the method for quantifying the added value of digital solutions available to external partners and customers.
"The Hydro 4.0 audit enabled us to evaluate where we stand with regard to the degree of digitalisation of EWA-energieUri's power plant operations. The fruitful discussions within the team show how the various "cases" can be further developed to achieve greater efficiency."
"The service product from Axpo HTD "Digital Compass for Hydropower Operators" has provided us an accurate picture of the responses we need in order to take the next steps in the direction of "Hydro 4.0". Our individual needs were very well understood by Axpo employees on an equal footing. The result completely convinced everyone involved at EWO, from the maintenance specialist to the management. .... The cooperation with the HTD responsibles was always very open, constructive, inspiring and goal-oriented - simply great!"
28 - 29 September 2023
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