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As was promised in our last blog, here is the first blog of the series “How your industry can benefit from digitalized R&D and maintenance with SAP Enterprise Product Development (EPD)”. This blog addresses how utilities and energy industry can benefit from the use of SAP Enterprise Product Development (EPD). 


Utility and energy industry is undergoing a significant transition with a strong focus on digitalization and sustainability. Typically, utility companies own and operate many assets like solar and wind farms, electricity and water supply chain assets, water treatment plants, etc.   

Business Background:

Utility & energy companies are looking to maximize their revenue, satisfy the customer requirements, while reducing their CO2 footprint. Unbroken delivery of these utility services is crucial for any country and economy. Therefore, maintenance of these assets involved during different phases of service delivery is very important.  

SAP Enterprise Product Development (EPD) for Utilities and Energy:

If we take an example of energy supply, an uninterrupted operation of solar and wind farms during electricity generation, well maintained assets like transformers, switch gears, etc. during transmission and distribution phase are required. A continuous service delivery also requires operators to collaborate on different documents and procedures with 3rd parties. SAP Enterprise Product Development (EPD) Collaboration exactly enables that by leveraging its advanced workflow feature. 

Traditionally, maintenance of these assets is performed by either reactive or calendar-based maintenance. But, that may lead to both over-maintenance and under-maintenance. In order to address this, companies are looking to digitialize their maintenance process by switching to predictive and asset health-based maintenance. This is helping the utility companies in achieving their business and sustainability KPIs. SAP Enterprise Product Development (EPD) Connected Products based digital twins can support utility industry to drive asset health-based maintenance over traditional reactive or calendar-based maintenance. It enables you to monitor your assets with a minimal setup of physical sensors, unlike machine learning based models where a large amount of sensor data & historical information is required.

Once a maintenance activity has been identified, SAP Enterprise Product Development (EPD) Visualization can be used to create 3D visual instruction videos for their assets like transformers to address the language barriers for service technicians. They further lead to improved training, execution, service and first-time fix rates of critical assets. One can also integrate master data, maintenance data and spare parts information in visual 2D, 3D or panoramic views. 

Customer Success Story: 

One example was presented recently at SAP International Utility Conference in Munich in July this year. ENGIE, a multi-national French utility company, which is a global leader in energy and services has set it strategic priorities to accelerate its drive toward renewable energies and sustainability. Chilean entity of the company, ENGIE Energia Chile is operating key solar power plants. They were looking into innovative ways to digitialize the maintenance process and reduce their maintenance costs, production losses and CO2 footprint.

With these business objectives in mind, ENGIE Energia Chile decided to take an innovation project with SAP Enterprise Product Development (EPD) based digital twins and to explore predictive maintenance for their solar plant. The digital twin used the existing IoT sensor data like solar irradiance, temperature, etc. to calculate the best possible performance of the solar plant for the given operation conditions. This was only possible due to a precise engineering based digital twin. ENGIE Energia Chile was able to successfully determine the precise location of several broken fuses at the very moment of their failure while monitoring their solar plant remotely avoiding under-maintenance. As explained by the customer, it allowed them to reduce human time by 35%, reduce production losses by 11% due to prompt re-placement of remotely alerted broken fuses and reduce 10% CO2 emissions by avoiding unnecessary travel to the site. A detailed success story of ENGIE has also been covered by Forbes here. Furthermore, ENGIE also won prestigious SAP Innovation Award for 2022, an annual award that celebrates the efforts of forward-looking companies who have harnessed the power of the latest SAP technology. 

In words of COO of ENGIE Energia Chile “With our ambition of accelerating our transition to carbon neutrality, we believed in exploring the newest concepts to transform and optimize the way we were managing maintenance activities in our solar power plants: using a Digital Twin.The results were exciting and promising: 100% real and accurate remote recognition of production losses, but also a systematic evaluation of the impact of the executed maintenance activities on the plant performance. Our Digital Twin was able to give us useful insights about what to do to be more efficient”.  


Give this blog post a like if you found the blog informative. And let us know in the comments what you liked about it and what other topics you would like to hear in the future. Have a question, take a look at this Question section of the community. If you want to stay informed in the community, you can follow our tag on the SAP Community. 

About the Author: 

Dr. Ankit Aggarwal works as a Solution Advisor for SAP Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Cloud Customer Office and holds a PhD in offshore wind turbines. His main focus at SAP is to drive the cloud adoption and digitalization by supporting sales, pre-sales, consulting, development teams, partners and direct customer engagements for different industries. He focuses on the utility, energy and natural resources industry. 

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