About one and a half years ago, we informed about the decision to bundle our various digitalization initiatives in the HYDRO 4.0 project and to implement Switzerland's first Digital Hydro Power Plant at Kraftwerke Sarganserland AG (KSL). The pilot project has shown that the implementation of digital transformation at the hydro plants is not only feasible, but also holds significant potential benefits.
Based on the findings from the first digital hydropower plant in Switzerland, we see multiple benefits and are therefore continuing to invest in the digital transformation of hydropower. The necessary competence development is taking place in the department Digital in Engineering (HTD). The unit develops value-creating digital solutions in the areas of workforce and analytics, implements these as a "digital service provider" at the hydro plants, and operates the platforms as a service provider for the plants. Engineering Digital is also active in the external market, advising and supporting power plant companies with digital solutions primarily in Switzerland. In addition, Engineering Digital is driving the search for further application possibilities also in the field of robotics. To build up this profitable business area in the future market of digitalization, Engineering Digital is to be expanded from 3 to 16 full-time positions today. This expansion was approved by the Generation & Distribution Management Board on November 23, 2020. This is an important milestone on the way to the digital future of hydropower!
This creates the conditions to implement the Digital Transformation in Axpo's hydropower plant park with full energy and to build up a service business in the external market. At the same time, Engineering Digital is working closely with the relevant partners from Biomass, Grid, Nuclear, Renewables, Gas and Assets in the search for synergies for digital services.