Neoenergia's increasing expansion in wind and solar generation required the development of a proprietary platform for managing renewable resources. Named 'Sofia – acronym for Software de Incidências Automáticas (Automatic Incidence Software), the program enables the monitoring of wind farms and solar generating plants, by using monitoring towers. With Sofia, it is possible to view information such as wind speed, temperature, humidity, and rainfall incidence automatically, with quick updates in the information from the towers, agility in the checking of occurrences and the need for any intervention.
"The solution applies intelligence to the process, reinforcing the reliability of the data collected and ensuring more agility in the identification of failures, optimized by visualization with graphics, maps, and notification alerts", says the project leader and analyst of Neoenergia's Renewable Resources management, Gabriela Joly. Currently, almost 40 monitoring towers are operated by Neoenergia in different locations in Ceará, Bahia, Piauí, Paraíba, and Minas Gerais.
The Sofía program manages the incidences on anemometric and solarimetric towers, necessary, for example, to study a region before wind and solar generation farms are installed, respectively. While in anemometric towers, the sensors capture data for three years such as wind speed and direction, humidity and temperature, in solarimetric towers information such as solar radiation incidence, soil and clouds, rainfall rate, as well as temperature and humidity are monitored for one year. In addition to the study prior to the project installation, Sofia monitors daily data provided by the towers installed in farms in operation, enabling real-time management of the operation.
The monitoring of wind and solar weather incidences is carried out on a daily basis, as this is the only way to obtain good consistency in the data. In addition, it is important that the collection has no failures for more than 30 consecutive days and is at least 90% available, in compliance with the requirements of the regulatory agencies that demand continuous monitoring of the sensors so that the project is eligible to participate in energy auctions.
"Therefore, data analysis must be very accurate and this is enabled by the management provided by Sofia, by making an automatic data analysis, with notifications of relevant events, resulting in agile actions by the team with the internal management of this information, in addition to time savings since the incidences can be quickly verified," informs the Renewable Resources Manager at Neoenergia, Adriano Gouveia.
The suggestion for Sofia's creation came from a hackathon carried out by Neoenergia's Innovation and Sustainability Superintendence in partnership with the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN). Since then, five months of development were spent before the product could start being used by the Renewable Resources sector in January 2021. Previously, data analysis was done manually, by analyzing each indicator to check for possible changes.
“Today, the entire process is automatic. In the event of any capture not in accordance with the solar or wind incidence parameters, Sofia detects it and sends us alerts", says Neoenergia's Renewable Resources engineer, João Paulo Cunha. This agility avoids periods of lack of communication with the tower and warns about failures requiring immediate attention. When an intervention is required, the towers' maintenance team steps in, identifying the reason for the event and changing equipment, when necessary.
In addition to the daily management of the towers, Sofia automates the data analysis process and produces reports and graphs, providing more communication agility in the renewable resources area. With the equipment, it is also possible to see the map with the geo-location of each tower, the installation date, compare the equipment's operation, and follow up requests and projects.
"All of this enhances the reliability of the information in a tool created with Neoenergia's growth in the renewable energy area in mind, in order to facilitate the scalability of the project. Thus, we created a platform following the agile model, with continuous improvements and protagonism of the benefited area in all stages", says Bruno Melchior, Neoenergia's Corporate Innovation manager.