Three innovations that will bring renewable energy into our lives

Published on Monday, 25 July 2022

ENEA electro-station

From the "pump" to the electro-station

What we typically refer to as "gasoline pumps" will morph into a new concept and perhaps even be given a new name as new forms of transport are introduced in the future. The first milestone in this new concept's evolution was reached in February 2022 when Enel X Way launched the first "Electro Service Station" in Latin America next to the Enea Business Park in Santiago's Pudahuel district.

As the first 100% electric multi-purpose service station for buses, trucks, last-mile vehicles, taxi fleets, and private electric cars, the service station was designed to suit the requirements of different types of vehicles used in Santiago. The center has 20 fast- and ultra-fast chargers with a capacity of 150 kW and 60 kW, enabling optimal and flexible charging of all vehicles. It also has three other 22 kW slow chargers designed for cars that require alternate charging and taxis that operate under the SE Agency's "My Electric Taxi" project. The project seeks to subsidize taxi drivers to swap their vehicles for an electric ones and install a charger in their homes. In addition, the center delivers an effortless and convenient service, offering more charging points than traditional "pumps" along with rest areas for customers.

“As our country moves towards generating more and more renewable energy, we are working to make electro-transport a reality. It is essential to offer the best technology available and develop networks and charging infrastructure in our cities and throughout the country. We aim to make electromobility a great experience for our customers and a real contribution to cleaning our cities.”

– Jean Paul Zalaquett, general manager of Enel X Way.

The JuicePass application, a digital platform that provides access to one of the largest public charging networks in Chile, enables management of the energy supply to electric vehicles and allows users to locate and reserve time at the nearest pump and to monitor charging levels in real-time. In addition, the equipment is compatible with the leading vehicle charging standards currently on the market.

The electrostatic belongs to the Enel X Way ElectroRoute, Latin America's most ambitious electromobility project. It contemplates installing 1,200 charging points throughout Chile, making it possible to travel more than 5,000 kilometers from North to South in an electric vehicle with guaranteed autonomy. During the first half of 2022, more than 450 charging points were in Santiago and different regions of the country operating under the Enel X Way program.


Renewable, safe and transportable energy

The country's largest concentration of renewable energy projects is in the Atacama Desert, between the regions of Atacama and Antofagasta. This region's intense solar radiation and winds are ideal for installing photovoltaic and wind power plants. Nevertheless, the territory also has its logistical challenges.

One of the biggest problems is energy supply during construction, as many sites are located in areas without access to the national electricity grid. The most common solution is to use diesel generation systems.

However, Enel Green Power's Sierra Gorda solar-wind hybrid project, located in the Antofagasta region, has implemented E-Box, an innovative and pioneering electrification solution. The device is a modular system that uses solar photovoltaic technology to generate and supply energy and lithium batteries to store it.

E-Box was built with Enel X technology and engineering know-how and is the first solution of its kind to be developed in Latin America. It consists of a standard container with a structure for mounting 18.2 kWp photovoltaic panels and 57 kWh lithium batteries to provide clean energy to project sites, even those unrelated to the energy sector.

“It is an alternative used to help decarbonize processes with high consumption levels of fossil fuels like diesel, making it particularly attractive for sectors like mining and real estate. It is a sustainable and environmentally friendly solution.”

– Claudio Candia, Enel X Business and Industry Manager.

The E-Box can operate in extreme conditions ranging from -10°C to 45°C and at altitudes that can reach over 2,000 meters above sea level. At the same time, its modular system enables companies to start site operations sustainably from day one.

“The idea for this project originated from our plant workers who identified a need that we, in turn, transformed into an improvement opportunity. Thanks to our joint work with Enel X, we created E-Box. This sustainable solution guarantees a continuous energy supply and replaces other polluting energy sources.”

– James Lee Stancampiano, head of Chile-Argentina Generation at Enel.

This innovative electrification technique allows for better logistics and improved safety by not having to transport fuel to the site. On the other hand, it fits with the circular economy concept by offering a 100% sustainable solution as it reuses its batteries.

Don Rafael Satellite Center

Satellite Centers: new technology to manage the electricity grid

As electricity increasingly replaces fossil fuels, the next step is to modernize electricity distribution infrastructure, moving it from a linear and mostly analog network to a more digitized, resilient, flexible, and secure one. One great example of this phenomenon is the so-called "Satellite Centers."

When a failure occurs in a feeder of the electrical distribution system, this affects the supply of thousands of customers who depend on energy delivered from that feeder. Satellite Centers are a new type of infrastructure that can significantly reduce the impact of a blackout.

How do they work? These facilities separate electricity consumption into small blocks. So, the large feeders are divided into secondary feeders, interconnected with other feeders in the sector, creating a network where energy can be transferred from one point to another in the event of a fault.

"Whenever an incident occurs, it is necessary to isolate the sector, that is, disconnect it from the power source to be able to carry out repair work. The outage can affect many customers when there is a problem with a traditional feeder. Because our Satellite Centers have subdivided the energy supply into smaller sectors, fewer clients are affected when there is a blackout, and they can quickly support sectors without power. In this way, service is restored to most customers in a shorter timeframe through remotely controlled maneuvers from the company's Control Center," said Víctor Balbontín, Operations and Maintenance Manager at Enel Distribución.

Enel Distribución is the only company in Chile with this technology and has two Satellite Centers operating in the Colina and Pudahuel districts. In addition, Enel plans to build a total of 10 Satellite Centers to cover its concession areas as part of a modernization and digitization plan.

"This is often a silent task, but it is essential to adequately deal with the growth in consumption of clean energy in our cities, industries, and homes in our distribution network," said Balbontín. The executive added that, as of June 2022, the company had also installed 2,659 remote control units throughout the city, allowing remote network management.

“Our job is to ensure that, for example, when a person chooses to use an electric-powered means of transport or some other electric device for a domestic chore, they can access that energy reliably and safely.”

– Víctor Balbontín, Operations and Maintenance Manager of Enel Distribución.