Outage Planning Optimization

The Challenge

More network activities, fewer outage opportunities

For decades, system operators have been developing and maintaining the electrical grid in order to guarantee the security of supply for several million consumers. Nevertheless, the current changes in the energy landscape and the linked transition is bringing new unseen challenges.

Nowadays, the aging of assets and the growth in investments made for the integration of renewable energy sources considerably increases the number of grid activities (e.g. infrastructure works, preventive maintenance) to be scheduled each year as well as the number and duration of related planned outages.

At the same time, the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources increases the need for short-term replanning due to changes in the expected operating conditions and reduces the number of opportune moments to plan outages.

This current context increases the number of factors the planning engineer has to consider simultaneously; going from the workforce availability and competences to security of supply and passing by impact on market availability. It therefore becomes impossible for the planning engineer to handle the increasing complexity and to frequently update manually his operational planning. He therefore needs to adapt and reinvent its planning process.

The Solution

Optimize your intervention and outage planning
with Advanced Analytics

To answer these growing challenges, N-SIDE developed in a partnership with Elia, the Belgian Transmission System Operator, a decision-support optimization software able to find an optimal planning for one year with up to 10.000 grid activities and linked outages for a time horizon going from year-ahead planning to week-ahead updates, allowing a more agile planning of activities when possible but also more stable when necessary.

The developed solution combines state-of-the-art optimization techniques with business knowledge. Due to the size and the complexity of the exercise, N-SIDE selected Constraint Programming  to model and solve the problem. These innovative analytics techniques makes it possible to consider multiple business objectives with network and resource constraints in an integrated way:

  • Prioritization and requested execution intervals of grid activities
  • Incompatibilities and dependencies of grid activities
  • Workforce availability, capacity and competences (dispatchers, field technicians, switching operators…)
  • Impact on the security of supply: criticality of outages, risk of energy not served or not injected, outage opportunities and incompatibilities
  • Impact on the market (e.g. cross-border capacity)

The developed optimization engine is able to find a near-optimal planning for up to 10.000 grid activities and linked outages in a reasonable amount of time for a time horizon going from year-ahead planning to week-ahead updates, allowing a more agile planning of activities when possible but also more stable when necessary.

Moreover, this unique mathematical modeling enables multiple users to collaborate with a single tool taking into consideration the specificity of their respective areas of responsibilities:

  • Workforce management and planning: enable planners and foremen to keep track of planned interventions and frequently update grid activity needs and resource availability with a daily granularity
  • Outage planning and grid constraints management: enable network analysts and planning engineers to schedule and track planned outages over the time on multiple voltage levels and adapt network constraints based on the evolution of the grid
  • Strategic planning: enable key decision makers to understand the impact on the planning of prioritizing one business objective over the others by performing what-if scenarios and sensitivity analysis

Our approach combines multiple business objectives with network and resource constraints in an integrated way

Agile

Re-optimize your planning more frequently to adapt quickly to unexpected changes in the expected operating conditions

Integrated

Get the full picture of your planning in a single tool and make the link between the planners, network analysts and foremen involved in the process

Customizable

Fit your specific needs by designing and setting your own objectives and support your decisions based on explicit parameters
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Transparent

Understand the choices of the algorithm thanks to our open-the-box approach.

The Results

A more efficient planning of grid activities and linked outages

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Increase the number of your maintenance and investment programs realized each year by optimizing the repartition of your grid activities and the occupation of your operational teams
$
Reduce the stress on the grid by grouping the activities on the same network assets and scheduling works on critical assets during the least risky periods
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Reduce the workload of your switching operators and dispatchers by reducing the number of required switching operations and optimizing their repartition
$

Reduce the workload of your planners, network analysts and foremen by combining their in-depth business expertise with the power of advanced analytics to quickly process millions of data and tens of constraints.

%

increase in the share of your maintenance plan realized each year

%

decrease in the number of planned outage-days

%

decrease in the risk of energy not served

%

decrease in the workload of your dispatchers and switching operators

— They trust us —

quote-testimonials

Elia_logo

“N-SIDE as a flexible partner in this innovative development is a key success factor for a breakthrough project. Contacts are on the same page as our business representatives. They understand each other and there is trust and a real will to go the extra mile.”

Nick Van Peborgh – Synapse Program Leader at Elia

— They trust us —

quote-testimonials

Elia_logo

“Taylor-made solution aligned with the business needs. High margin for adaptation “en cours de route”. Both needed to develop real innovative solutions that are meaningful to the business.”

Martin Kroes – Operational Planning Engineer at Elia

We are committed to respecting your privacy and protecting your personal data, including any information which allows to identify you as an individual person. N-SIDE uses the applicant’s personal data in a fair and lawful manner. N-SIDE collects and processes personal data in accordance with the privacy statement available in the privacy policy. Personal information (applicant data) submitted by an applicant will only be used by N-SIDE to ensure an effective recruitment process and will be used recruitment purposes only.

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