Enedis tackles evolving challenges
Despite being only a few cubic centimeters in size, the router designed via this co-innovation between the specialist partner Cisco and Orange Business will completely transform Enedis’ operations. The company is one of Europe’s largest electricity distributors, and it oversees 95% of France’s low- and mid-voltage networks. This means some 1.4 million kilometers of electrical lines – enough to circle the earth 35 times!
Managing these networks is a daily challenge, one made even more complex by the growth in electricity production from wind and solar. This proliferation in diverse energy sources creates an unprecedented challenge for the distributor, which has had to equip itself with new devices in order to optimize its network management and get the most from its resources, as it continues to pursue the energy transition as a top priority.
“Until recently, electricity was primarily distributed from highly centralized energy networks, which ran from production sites to consumption sites,” explains Emmanuel Villalta from the Telecom Unit at Enedis. “In recent years, the decentralized production of renewable energies has grown considerably, making our electrical systems increasingly complex. So we needed to make this network better-connected and more efficient.” Enter the router designed by Orange Business and Cisco.
A smart, easy-to-install box
What makes this router so special? While it may be small in size, it delivers a great number of functions and features that are crucial to the industrial sector. “Once installed and connected to the cellular networks and integrated into the Enedis information system, this router allows the company to collect more data on energy flows in the electrical network, to monitor transformer substations in real time, and to remotely manage the power grid’s maintenance and operation,” explains Emmanuel Routier, VP Smart Industries at Orange Business. Smart Industries is the strategic program supporting industrial groups in their digital transformation and helping them to rise to the challenges of operational performance, smart device management and energy sobriety.
The experts at Orange Business were quick to consider the needs of the Enedis teams in the field. “We implemented a process of automatic and secure configuration for each router, which takes place during the last stage of installation at the facility, so that technicians can fit them easily,” adds Emmanuel Routier.
This project is a resounding success. Our electricity distribution network will be more secure, flexible and accessible in the future, and it is our commitment to tackle the collective challenge of the energy transition.
Emmanuel Villalta, Telecom Unit, Enedis
Accounting for specific needs and constraints
The router is a small but robust device, capable of withstanding high temperatures and sea spray, which is highly corrosive to electrical equipment. It was designed to meet the specific operational needs and challenges faced by Enedis: “We have already successfully equipped 3,000 transformers, and we will continue to modernize and equip 10,000 transformers per year, thus helping to strike a balance between the production and consumption of energy, despite the growing number of energy sources,” concludes Emmanuel Villalta.
Of course, device security was a crucial consideration. “Another important requirement for Enedis was cybersecurity,” notes Thierry Rouquet, Director of Business Development in Cisco’s IOT Business Unit. “Each router has a digital certificate for individual identification. Once installed, it is recognized by the Orange telecoms network.”
A router with broad industry appeal
So that’s how a smart router, designed to be duplicated into several thousand units, makes an electrical network secure and communicative, in order to bring about a more virtuous and energy-conscious industry.
This is a feat that’s sure to interest a host of players facing similar challenges. “We can provide this industrial router to other customers, as it is modular and can be tailored to different types of industry,” explains Thierry Rouquet.
For now, the router has already been a hit with Enedis: “This project is a resounding success,” confirms Emmanuel Villalta. “Our electricity distribution network will be more secure, flexible and accessible in the future, and it is our commitment to tackle the collective challenge of the energy transition.”
Welcome to the era of smart industry.
transformer substations to be equipped with a Cisco-designed router each year, with support from Orange and taking into account Enedis’ specific infrastructural requirements