Focus areas and top priorities
The ever changing business and social environment, the needs of the consumers and digitalisation, stricter environmental requirements and development of renewable energy sources, the objectives of climate change encourage us to rethink our business strategies. Innovative solutions are one of the measures enabling companies to adapt to the changes of the business environment, to make their activities more effective, to use available resources in a more rational manner and to search for new opportunities to present the market and users with new products, goods and services, thus maintaining their competitiveness and ensuring business continuity, while research is an indispensable element of the process of creating innovations.
Nowadays, the energy sector is faced with radical changes, and innovation is crucial in enabling them. In the National Energy Independence Strategy, competitiveness, reliability, reduction of impact on climate change and air pollution, as well as the participation of the country’s businesses in seeking progress of the energy sector, are listed as the main directions of the strategy’s implementation. All of the companies of the EPSO-G group contribute to their implementation. The innovation focus areas in our group are as follows:
- Smart and efficient asset management
- Smart and efficient management and monitoring of systems
- ITT and digitalisation
- Business organisation and new services
Smart and efficient asset management
The development and efficient operation of energy markets require reliable infrastructure that enables the exchange and supply of energy to users when it is needed and at required quantities. Therefore, the development of the infrastructure of energy transmission systems must be optimal and adapted to the needs of the market and users, while new methods and measures must be applied to the exploitation and maintenance of facilities, processes that ensure not only the reliable operation of the facilities but also safe working conditions, must be improved.
The top priorities of this focus area are as follows:
Long-term planning and optimisation of the network
Long-term planning of the transmission network requires adequate planning tools, namely methodologies and modelling software, so that network development scenarios can be assessed, technical transmission network development solutions based on different technical, economic and environmental criteria, new technologies can be optimised, and business models can be considered.
Smart asset management based on risk assessment
Security, reliability of electricity and natural gas transmission systems, as well as the effectiveness of technical maintenance and repairs, thus developing and introducing asset maintenance and management methods based on risk assessment, as well as proper technical and organisational measures for their implementation. The method based on risk management would allow to determine the riskiest elements of transmission networks and to use the resources of the operators for the purpose of the operation of these networks in the most effective and targeted manner.
Materials and technologies
The search for new materials and innovative technologies, their research and application in the transmission system, which would allow managing the transmission infrastructure more effectively, while optimising the operations of exploitation, technical maintenance, as well as investigation and assessment of asset state. The use of these innovative measures would allow improving the reliability and flexibility of the existing systems while providing transmission services and developing new infrastructure.
Safety and environmental protection
In order to create a safe, sustainable and competitive transmission system, it is necessary to develop the sphere of safety and environmental protection. The programme focuses on the use of innovative measures for the protection of service personnel and technologies that protect the environment (for example, noise reduction systems and/or exhaust gas purification systems).
Smart and efficient management and monitoring of systems
Reliability of the operation of energy systems and security of supply, integration of new measures for the improvement of system flexibility, modelling of energy markets in various periods and research on different energy system interfaces, innovative technological and organisational solutions that will help to ensure management and quality of more effective systems.
The top priorities of this focus area are as follows:
Monitoring and management of the system (tools and systems)
Enhancement of the monitoring and manageability of the transmission system by developing methods, technologies and tools enabling to manage, process and exchange data of the variable parameters (measurements and prognoses) of the systems in real time both between transmission system operators (TSOs) and with distribution network operators (DSOs). This area also covers tools for the modelling of the active and passive stability of the systems, wherein reliable system operation will be based on the development of system services from renewable energy sources (RES), DSOs, energy capacitors, etc., new procedures (for example, plans for operation safety measures and restoration of operation), strategies (for example, risk assessment) and models (for example, application of probabilistic methods).
Systems for the control of parameters necessary for the process of ensuring the stability of the frequency of power systems are integrated between operators and network users. RES forecasting techniques, as well as information and communication technologies (ICT), aiming at the optimal exploitation of RES and the maintenance of requirements of security and quality of the energy supply.
Integration of new flexible system management measures
Introduction of the existing and new possibilities of system flexibility:
- tailoring of energy storage equipment to solve quick power and energy tasks in the development of system services;
- development of load regulation services, covering tools and management methods;
- modelling of the behaviour of electric vehicles and other users of electricity, quantifiably assessing flexibility from the distribution network.
Solutions for system management and interaction between markets
The real-time operation link between the market and the network is related to the development of system services, aiming at the creation of tools and methods allowing to optimise energy flows in the short term (including real-time operation) in view of the variability of power generated by RES and the resulting complication of the management of energy transmission systems. The development of system services requires research and the development of market models, thus bringing the operation of energy markets closer to the operation of transmission systems, easing the operating modes of transmission systems. The aim of all of this is to reach the optimal composition of different energy sources while maintaining effective operation of the energy market and ensuring the security of supply.
Interaction between different energy systems
Research on the interaction of different energy transmission systems (electricity and gas), as well as search for innovative solutions, allowing to model links between electricity and gas systems, to develop them by identifying the benefits and challenges of mutual interaction (for example, assessment of the adequacy of the electricity system and the security of supply in view of the operation of the gas system), while covering innovative research (for example, production of gas using surplus electricity (power-to-gas)) and the supply of such gases to the gas system. Later on, such gas can be used for the production of electricity in traditional gas power plants. This would allow developing flexible services and to ensure energy prices that are attractive to consumers and producers.
ITT and digitalisation
Modern business and its development are unimaginable without ITT and the digitisation, automatisation and robotisation of processes. The digitilasation of processes not only allows to work more effectively and quickly but also enables to store and analyse all information in digital space, which can be accessed anywhere and at any time.
The priorities of this focus area are as follows:
Data exchange and communication technologies
Choosing the most effective and flexible communication protocol technologies, standardising protocols that would allow reducing the costs of connection to the protocol. Initiating the need to develop new data exchange and communication technologies, the internet of things, etc.
Digitisation of business processes
Digitisation, automatisation and robotisation of processes is the key measure needed to ensure greater efficiency of repeated or routine processes carried out by the companies of the group, as well as the processing of data.
With the help of artificial intelligence and analytical solutions, solutions that are close to real time can be adopted. In order to ensure a quick reaction, flexibility and adaptation to the changing situation, only information that has been properly analysed and formulated proposals of possible solutions can ensure the effective operation of management systems and operational activities within the companies.
Such innovations should improve the speed of the processes involved in the activities of the companies, ensure proper quality of such processes, reduce operational costs.
Business organisation and new services
The business organisation and new services focus area is aimed at the goal of the EPSO-G group of companies to improve the efficiency of its activities. This innovation group covers the development and introduction of new services and products, the improvement and automatisation of internal business processes.
The top priorities of this focus area are as follows:
New services and products for customers
The sphere covers the creation, development and sales of services and products that are new to the group of companies and have not been available previously or key improvements of the existing services and products. Innovations should improve the clients’ satisfaction with the provided services and products, generate new revenue streams for the companies of the group and/or create socioeconomic benefits.
Innovations of the ancillary activities of the companies and the group of companies
The sphere covers innovations related to the performance of new functions in the companies of the group or the whole group of companies. Innovations should be related to the improvement of internal processes, i.e. rational use of the existing human, technological and financial resources, enhancement of productivity, improved communication between departments and companies, the principles of work organisation, reduction of wastage, improvement of work conditions.