OMICRON Magazine

ACINEL was founded in 2014 by four experienced engineers with a simple goal: to provide high-quality secondary system integration to customers in the industrial, power transmission, distribution and generation sectors. With the acquisition of DIVECO in 2018, ACINEL became an authorized distributor for the OMICRON test equipment portfolio and a certified OMICRON training partner in Slovenia. How is the Slovenian energy grid structured? David Bucaj: The Transmission System Operator (TSO) ELES operates the Slovenian energy transmission grid. It operates at 110 kV, 220 kV, and 400 kV and is connected with the neighboring electricity grids from Austria, Italy, and Croatia. The grid connects large power plants with the distribution grid or directly to large power consumers. 5 DSOs operate the distribution grid, connecting more than 900,000 consumers and small electricity producers with the transmission grid. What resources are being used to generate power? Hydro power plants produce 33% of the energy, 29% is produced by thermal power plants (coal, gas), and 36% is nuclear energy. Solar and other non-conventional power plants only produce 1%. What are the current hot topics for the energy supply market? › One major topic is decarbonization. Energy suppliers are searching for alternative ways to replace thermal power plants that burn fossil fuels. › The goal of digitalizing the energy sector is to identify who needs energy, how much they need, and when they need it. Then, that energy must be delivered to the right place at the right time and at the lowest possible cost. Accomplishing that is going to be a challenge. › DER (Distributed Energy resources), such as household solar PV panels and storage, must be integrated into the existing energy infrastructure. This will be achieved by creating better incentives that make it easier for producers to store and sell surplus electricity to the grid. David Bucaj, CEO, ACINEL What kind of challenges are your customers facing? › The digitalization process has its challenges. And while it will create many benefits, it can also make energy systems more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Until now, the disruptions caused by reported cyber-attacks on energy systems have been relatively small. However, cyber-attacks are becoming easier and cheaper to organize. Digitalized equipment and the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) are increasing the potential “cyber-attack surface” in energy systems. › The transition of the current power plant infrastructure to a large share of renewable energy production will also be challenging. A consequence of digitalization here could be the easier integration of renewables into the existing grid. › The impact of rapid e-mobility growth on the electricity grid must be considered when planning the future smart grid. When looking towards the future, where do you see the biggest challenges in the power sector and in general? The biggest challenges in the power sector are the transition to green energy, meeting all the commitments related to reducing the carbon footprint, transitioning to zero-carbon electricity, and the active role of electricity consumers in the electricity market. Thank you for the interview. ON SITE: OMICRON IN SLOVENIA David Bucaj from ACINEL gives us his insight into the power sector 38