Reliable operation of the electrical system is an essential service that Red Eléctrica de España (REE) implements in its two basic roles: transmission and system operation. To implement such functions, the transmission grid is operated by REE, who coordinates its use with the generation facilities to continually monitor and provide the continuity and security of the electricity supply. This complex process requires the availability of high capacity telecommunications and computerized systems which display information received in real time from all the facilities and participants of the electrical system. REE’s control system must monitor and manage 220,000 variables (90,000 analog and 130,000 digital) at intervals of four, eight and twelve seconds, and issue remote control instructions through 40,000 signals.
Due to the amount of data received, processing and making all information received at both the Electrical Control Centre (CECOEL) and the Control Centre for Renewable Energy (CECRE) easily available to the system operator is essential for optimal decisions.
Gathering and managing real time data from the renewable energy facilities with 2,800 distributed sources in Spain, together with the telecommunication deployment carried out among generation, transmission and operation activities has been one of the pillars that has allowed Spain to achieve high penetration of renewable energy. This helped cover 35 % of the demand by renewable energy during the last three years and allowed the system to be operated some days with more than half of its demand supplied by variable renewable energy (64 % of demand supplied by wind generation was reached on 24/09/12).
ALBERTO GIL MARTÍNEZ is a senior engineer in Red Eléctrica’s Control Center Department in the support area of the National Electrical Control Center (CECOEL), where he has worked for the past seven years. He has been actively involved in supervising day to day real time work of the Dispatch Centre and development of the Control Center for Renewable Energies (CECRE). He holds a Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain).