The spending that Romanian power distribution operators will have to make under the framework of the energy transition will amount to about 7 billion euros by 2033, but investments in networks will have to be balanced with those in digitalization.
“The green energy transition costs, and we all have to be realistic about that. According to our calculations, for operators in Romania alone, to ensure the targets until 2033, we need investments somewhere around 6-7 billion euros. That’s if we’re going to spend smart, because the simplest solution is to build the network so that it supports all the things we’re talking about. But the costs of such a network cannot be sustained. Network investments are necessary, but a balance needs to be found between these and digital solutions, which we will have to see how we license. For some of them, we don’t have an answer on how they can be implemented”, said Cosmin Ghiță, Director of the Digitization and Innovation Department of Distribuție Oltenia, during the DigitALL 2023 conference, organized by Energynomics.
The company is considering the development of pilot projects aimed at the use of energy storage batteries within the energy distribution activity, although this field is not yet regulated in Romania.
One of the pillars of the company’s development is the transfer to a smart grid network and the automation of processes, and in the future the company will focus more on the digitalization of the network with customers.
The introduction of smart meters is a priority, although this year the company had to slow down the expansion of this project due to a lack of components and an unexpected increase in the number of prosumers. For next year, the company planned to increase the number of smart meters, with the support systems already operational for a year.
“Regulation does not allow us to use batteries in energy distribution, but we are already building pilot projects. We have already discussed with two battery suppliers, one of which is from Romania. Even if we will not use them in the future, we must understand the technology”, added Ghiță.
The company started the digitization process as early as 2015 because it anticipated the development of trends such as the prosumer or the expansion of the number of electric vehicles. From this point of view, the year 2023 marks the end of a cycle, when Distribuție Oltenia puts into production the last systems it had previously planned.
Some of the forecasts made in 2015 have already been exceeded, stimulated by the political context and the war in Ukraine. “Almost 90% of the high voltage stations are SCADA and we have over 1,400 remote controlled equipment. This year, together with Siemens, we are upgrading the SCADA system with the integrated AMDS platform to help us shape the network considering the challenges related to prosumers and electric cars”, continued Ghiță.
Moreover, the company is in the final phase of implementing a project for which EU funds of 6.7 million euros were also used.
The DigitALL 2023 conference was organized by Energynomics, in partnership with the CIO Council and with the support of our partners Eaton Electric, Huawei, NextGen, Schneider Electric, Siemens.