Developing the Hydroelectric Plants of the Future at Power Operations

Since 2019, Power Operations has actively collaborated with the operations support teams on 20 or so technology and improvement projects, all of which are completed or nearing completion. The purpose of these projects is to develop infrastructure based on industry standards to operate the “hydroelectric plants of the future,” initially at the sister plants of Chute-du-Diable (CCD) and Chute-à-la-Savane (CCS). The objective is to make the health of the Power Operations assets integral to maintenance decisions and, to this end, leverage the expertise of employees at all the hydroelectric plants in the region.

The technology will also allow employees to be safer, more productive and more efficient. Additionally, their skills and competencies will play an even greater role.

“The work of our employees goes beyond maintenance,” said Marc-André Gagné, Manager, Production at Power Operations. “We need them; we need their skills and ideas. As managers, we want to involve them in this development.”

The hydroelectric plants and the employees will be given the equipment and tools to improve safety, flexibility, energy efficiency and operational availability. “For example, maintenance technicians will be able to check the condition of the plant’s equipment from their desks,” said Daniel Boily, Superintendent at CCD and CCS. “They will be able to make a diagnosis using information from various sensors and determine the next maintenance date. We will no longer be doing preventive maintenance, but rather predictive maintenance.”

Marc-André Lavoie, Analyst Engineer at Power Operations, stated, “Adding instrumentation and improving our communication infrastructure gives us access to more data than ever before for improving our maintenance practices at CCD and CCS. This will allow us to perform the right interventions on the right equipment at the right time.” A maintenance energy centre, currently operating remotely, allows us to process this additional data.

“Participating in the engineering, preparation and integration of new technologies for all these innovative projects is very stimulating for our team,” said Martin Gamache, Manager, Operational Excellence and Integrated Operations.

With the growing demand for its renewable energy, Power Operations is a critical and trusted partner in the region and in the low-carbon aluminium production value chain. According to Stéphane Larouche, Operations Manager at Power Operations, “Power Operations is reinventing itself; it aspires to become a maintenance leader and to position itself as one of the most efficient hydroelectric networks in the world.”