ABB modernizes Italian wind power utility with cutting edge automation

Volta Green Energy upgrades its entire fleet of wind farms with ABB’s automation and control solution for distributed energy resources

Volta Green Energy renewable power company, a wind farm operator in Italy that operates over 350 MW of wind farms and 16 MW of solar photovoltaic systems, recently implemented the ABB Ability™ e-mesh control and automation solution for distributed energy resources. As part of the project, Volta Green Energy updated five wind farms in Sicily that they manage, and a remote control center in Rovereto in Trento district, with ABB’s advanced e-mesh™ solution.

Wind farms need to rely on technology for efficient operation and utilities usually need to manage sites distributed in many remote locations. To extend equipment life and to optimize production, operators must focus on asset maintenance by deploying advanced control and automation technologies and upgrading their existing infrastructure.

“Through a single interface in our central control room in Rovereto, the northernmost tip of Italy, we can monitor and control the five wind farms included in the system which are spread across different parts of Sicily, the other end of the country,” says Domenico Finco, founding member of Volta Green Energy. “This upgrade will help us to increase the efficiency and productivity of our operations and get insights into our fleet performance.

The e-mesh™ system gives control room operators visibility across all the field assets, enables better control and helps optimize production capacity. It is also scalable – if more wind farm sites are added to the control center, the same operators can manage them just as efficiently. A wind farm efficiency (WFE) application enables optimal performance management for each individual turbine and prevents production losses.

Italy is stepping up investment in renewable power generation. The Strategia Energetica Nazionale, the country’s national energy strategy, envisions renewable power to reach 28 percent of electricity consumption in 2030. With attractive feed-in tariffs and the potential for both commercial-scale and small wind turbines, by then the country aims to produce 40.1 TWh of electricity through wind power, about twice as much as in 20171.

“The ABB Ability™ e-mesh™ solution is reliable, future-proof, and an all-in-one automation and control solution,” says Massimo Danieli, Head of ABB’s Grid Automation business line within the company’s Power Grids business. “It allows distributed energy generation installations such as microgrids and renewable power plants or fleets to better manage their operations and increase revenue. The solution is built on the powerful ABB Ability™ based MicroSCADA enhanced with grid edge specific e-mesh™ application software with advanced wind libraries that enable multiple applications for wind farm management and analysis.”

As consumption of renewable power increases, distributed energy resources (DERs) – small-scale power generation systems set up close to points of consumption – are increasing. DERs include utility scale solar and wind generation plants, battery energy storage systems and microgrids. ABB’s expertise in grid automation and consultative approach help utilities digitally transform their operations to shape a stronger, smarter and greener grid.