This article was written in partnership with Bloomberg Media Studios.
As the national electricity utility for Algeria, give us a sense of the size and scope of your operations.
Algeria is 3.5 times the size of Texas, with a population of 42 million. We run more than 50 power plants nationwide, with a staff of more than 6,000 and 10.42 million customers. The current installed capacity is 16 gigawatts, and we expect to reach 25 gigawatts in 2025.
Tells us about your Monitoring & Diagnostics Center – where’s it located, how many people work there, and how does it operate?
The monitoring center is located in the SPE headquarters and currently employs six analyst engineers who continuously monitor three power plants with a total power of 2,000 megawatts. In 2025, after the commissioning of all 11 plants with a capacity of 14 gigawatts, the number of analysts at the center will increase to 30, working 24/7 to ensure predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance makes it possible to intervene at the optimum time, neither too early, as for preventive maintenance, nor too late as for curative maintenance.
With the onset of the pandemic, what did it take to enable your employees to work from home?
The GE Digital software already had that capability built in, so it was relatively easy to turn the functionality on. We had it operational by June. During the pandemic, we have put in place multiple touchpoints that allowed us to set up remote work opportunities for our employees and alerts when plant operations are outside the norm.
Predictive maintenance is done at the optimal time – not too early, nor after the problem occurs.
Sabri Lezhari - Chairman and CEO, SPE
If you hadn’t been able to remotely monitor the plants, what might have happened to the country’s power supply?
The most edifying example of harm we were able to prevent involved our BOUFARIK-2 power plant, which has a capacity of 700 megawatts. The vibration behavior of one of the three turbines changed, and after analysis, the Monitoring Center gave the instruction to stop the turbine. This decision avoided a major incident which could have caused losses estimated at $2 million.
What’s been the net effect of the predictive analytics program?
Digital Twin technology helps us optimize maintenance schedules and increase uptime performance in two ways. It reduces the amount of downtime outside scheduled maintenance windows, and it optimizes downtime for scheduled maintenance without exposing our installations to possible damage. The total availability of the SPE fleet will reach 94% around 2025.
Read SPE - Digitization at the Service of Predictive Maintenance
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