On the 15th January 2015, the IET Barcelona Local Network visited the ENDESA Power Grid Control Centre, located in Barcelona.
Our host received us with a warm welcome and explained to us the operations of the centre. This control centre is responsible for the supervision and control of the Catalan power grid, divided into three areas, namely the Occidental, Central (Barcelona) and Oriental. It´s main purpose is to control the distribution from the power stations to the final customer, guaranteeing the continuity and quality of the power delivered.
The control centre has the responsibility to maintain in operation the High voltage (>36KV) , the middle voltage (36KV-1KV), verifying that the grid is able to supply power to users and acting upon any reported anomalies in order to isolate the first faulty segment and then activating the protocol for its repair and verification.
Almost all the monitoring is done remotely with the aid of control SW that displays the grid map, the instant loads and the overall status of the grid. Guarantee of continual operation is provided thanks to duplication of some parts of the system, but more importantly by the fact that each control centre can switch over supervision to another control centre in the area in case of need.
Finally, we were given some insights to the different types of power generation and how they are managed according to their characteristics and cost. In general the Catalan power grid represents a very good mix of production resources that includes Nuclear, plus traditional combined cycle power plants (located in coastal areas) and hydro (located in the Pyrenees region). Due to sharing a border with France, energy can be purchased, or sold to this neighbour depending on current conditions and pre-set contracts at national level. One point to note is that wind production is very advanced in Spain in general, as in some moments it can provide up to 50% of the complete power required in the grid. The region also counts on several solar farms.
All in all it was a very interesting visit which we hope will be repeated in the future.
If you have any suggestions for any further visits we can organise, please let us know in the comment box below