ABB, Automation, Digitalization, Hydroelectric, Latin America

ABB to provide automation upgrade at Copel hydroelectric plant in Brazil

ABB has won a $2.5m contract to provide excitation systems and speed regulation for four generator units at the 20-year-old Governador José Richa hydro power plant on the Iguazu River. The solution will help Copel (Companhia Paranaense de Energia) enhance visibility of its operational data using predictive diagnostics.

The hydro power plant produces 1240 MW of installed power, with capacity to meet the power demands of approximately 4.5 million residents, or 40 per cent of Paraná’s population.

“The upgrade of the excitation system and the turbine speed regulators and their integration into the ABB Ability 800xA automation system will improve the performance and reliability of this hydroelectric power plant,” said Maurício Cunha, head of industrial automation, ABB Brazil.

ABB’s Unitrol 6000 Static Excitation System (SES) includes a high-performance controller. Modern hardware allows the Unitrol 6000 control loop to react faster to grid disturbances, without disconnecting the unit from the grid. The Unitrol 6000 SES also has two separate channels and an additional backup channel for emergency control of the generator. Each channel is designed to handle the maximum field current, enhancing reliability.

‘Hot swap’ maintenance, while the system is still in operation, will improve availability and extend uptime for the generator at the plant. Extending uptime increases profitability, while also safeguarding the electrical components.

“Modernization aims to increase operational efficiency in the power plant, which is a strategic goal of Copel Kuhn,” said Jaime de Oliveira Kuhn, chief of power generation at Copel GeT. “After 20 years of operations and a total of more than 130 million of MWh generated, it was time to modernize the Governador José Richa power plant to ensure its high performance and reliability levels continue. ABB’s life cycle support offered us the peace of mind to be able to update our systems, and be assured that appropriate training would be provided, without having to worry about costly downtime.”

The new system includes a speed turbine regulator and complies with grid code compliance regulations.

Copel is one of the largest companies in the Brazilian electricity sector. It has 46 of its own power plants – 20 hydroelectric, one thermal and 25 wind farms – and operates a quota of hydroelectric power plants. Copel has interests in 11 other generation projects, totaling an installed capacity of 6,394 MW. ABB is also supporting Copel with asset management and life cycle services to optimize the plant.