VIESGO – ZIGOR Case Study: energy storage to guarantee grid supply in isolated villages

  • Viesgo is an electricity company focused on the generation and distribution of electricity, with innovation being one of its core values.
  • Until now, whenever villages situated a long way from urban centres experienced an electricity infrastructure breakdown would have to endure significant delays in restoring supply.
  • Relying on ZIGOR’s state-of-the-art storage technology, Viesgo has eradicated these supply outage times.
  • This solution consists of a lithium battery storage system and a converter which controls the batteries.
  • ZIGOR has been in charge of designing the technological solution and installing the infrastructure required for the project, reducing its visual impact as much as possible.
  • The project’s success has resulted in Viesgo now planning to implement it in other locations that it covers.

A benchmark electricity company in energy transition

Viesgo is an electricity company focused on the generation and distribution of electricity. With approximately 695,000 customers in the north of Spain and a production of approximately 1,400 MW, Viesgo is a major operator and a benchmark with regards energy transition, driving renewable energies and digitalisation. Distribution is the backbone of Viesgo’s business, supplying energy to homes and businesses over an extensive grid spanning more than 31,000 km and which is characterised by its high reliability and quality.

Innovation is one of its core values, for which reason invests in state-of-the-art technology to drive digital transformation and modernisation.

A small village whose population grows in summer

San Vicente del Monte is a village with 35 houses, 200 inhabitants, two rural country inns and a summer bar located halfway up the Sierra del Escudo de Cabuérniga. Like many other villages in Spain, this one experiences a significant population increase during the summer season. Accordingly, its electricity consumption is irregular with consumption levels falling under 10 kW, a figure which can soar to peaks of up to 70 kW in summer.

Until now, villages, given their orography or distance from urban centres, that experienced electricity infrastructure breakdowns had to endure significant delays in restoring supply because of the time required to travel to and locate the breakdown.

Implementation of state-of-the-art storage technology

Using ZIGOR Corporación’s state-of-the-art storage technology and with the collaboration of local administration, Viesgo has prevented this outage time, offering an exceptional quality of service and exceptional convenience for the customer. This is achieved by means of a lithium battery storage system and a converter which controls the batteries.

The system constantly monitors the quality of the energy supplied by the grid so that. In the event of a breakdown or power cut, an automatic is sent to Viesgo’s control centre at the Cantabria Technology Park, which launches the appropriate operation to resolve the problem. At the same time, it also automatically starts to supply energy from the lithium batteries until the main supply is restored. It has also been designed to provide support to the conventional grid and prevent any incidents or faults as a result of a temporary excess energy demand.

The system is connected to the low voltage grid (400 V) on the San Vicente del Monte transformation centre and manages 250 kVA of power and 232 kWh of energy. This means that, for an average consumption of 50 kWh at San Vicente del Monte during the day, supply can be guaranteed there for approximately five hours.

ZIGOR as a technological supplier

ZIGOR Corporación has been in charge of designing the technological solution and installing the infrastructure required for the project. The storage system has been carefully designed to blend in with the green and mountainous surroundings in the area. It has been placed inside a container that has been treated on the outside to minimise its visual impact on the surrounding green area.

Technical characteristics of the system and advantages for the sector

Technical characteristics

  • Levelling of the demand on the village transformer. The consumed instant power remains stable, improving the performance of the transformer.
  • A shift in demand. When the village does not consume much power, the batteries are charged. When power demand is very high, the batteries are set into operation.
  • Voltage Regulation. If the voltage fluctuates due to excess line consumption, the system can consume or inject power to stabilise it.

Other advantages for the electricity sector

  • Solutions to system variability as a result of the increase in renewable energies.
  • Increased grid capacity to implement distributed generation systems.
  • Levelling of the demand peaks on the transformer it is connected to.
  • Increased grid efficiency.

A pilot project that will be implemented in other towns

This is the first energy storage project of these characteristics developed by Viesgo and, nationally speaking. In aditio, it is also one of the first to be connected to a distribution grid with private customers. With ZIGOR’s technological support, Viesgo has managed to cap project investment at 225,000 euros and has reduced implementation time to four months.

As a result, San Vicente del Monte has been able to consolidate its electricity grid infrastructure with a technological solution that, as well as being clean, sustainable and environmentally friendly, also guarantees the supply of electricity to its homes, should a grid fault occur. Accordingly, it has become a storage technology pioneer town in the north of Spain. The project’s success has resulted in Viesgo now planning to implement it in other locations that it covers, which spans Cantabria, Asturias, Lugo and the north of Castilla y León.

ZIGOR Corporación (“Your energy, our challenge”)

A company specialising in comprehensive and innovative products and solutions for electrical energy management. Optimizes value creation for customers such as Viesgo through design, engineering, manufacturing and technical services. In addition it also creates new business models. It operates in Spain, Mexico and Columbia, boasting an international network of partners. Since its inception in 1998, the company’s commitment to innovation, based on customer needs, has resulted in more than 1,000 projects being executed, with the common principle of close collaboration with leading companies such as Viesgo.