By Joacim Sundqvist, Plant development and long-term strategist for energy systems, Mälarenergi AB
formed a team with ABB with its ABB Ability™ Collaborative Operations and Microsoft with its Azure cloud infrastructure.
The heating and cooling infrastructure in Västerås, Sweden, is a complex operation managed by utility company Mälarenergi, which lacked the visibility required for effective control. A collaboration between Mälarenergi and ABB allowed the collection of data that could be integrated into a common platform providing real-time visualization of the network enabling the development of smart solutions for their customers. Sweden’s fifth largest city, Västerås, has embarked on an ambitious digitalization strategy to develop smart city solutions. The aim is to use data that can be made available in society and make it work for society to make the city more attractive as a community for citizens and industry. The project is being led by Mälarenergi. We provide a broad range of essential services for the city’s 150,000 residents and its businesses – operating hydropower plants, the local power grid, a waste-to-energy plant, heating and cooling networks, water and wastewater treatment plants, a water distribution network and a fiber-optic network. In their everyday lives for tasks such as banking, shopping and communications consumers are well versed with digital solutions that provide real-time results. It is no surprise, therefore, that they are demanding these same solutions from their energy company. However, as a utility company we believed that to achieve the quality of product and service that our clients were accustomed to we needed to collaborate with other companies that have the digital expertise. We therefore
One of the early objectives of this digital collaboration was to integrate the control rooms of the many automation systems that manage our distributed operations to create one unified operating environment. This solution will integrate the new technologies and services with our existing operational expertise. Applied to the district heating network, for example, which serves 98 % of the city’s buildings, the digital transformation will optimize operational performance and reduce energy consumption. The use of advanced data analytics will make it easier for operators to identify, categorize and prioritize potential issues with assets, processes and risk areas, so they can increase efficiency and reduce costs.
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