SERHY: managing a hydroelectric plant remotely, using satellite communication


SERHY is a French company specialised in the development, construction, operation and maintenance of hydroelectric plants. The company, based in Sisteron, in the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, operates hydroelectric power plants in France, with an annual production of more than 230 million KWh. SERHY provides services aiming at achieving the best balance between environmental protection and production optimisation.

The challenge

SERHY needs to monitor the smooth functioning of a micro hydro-electric site in Vielle Grange, in the Hautes -Alpes. Located in a mountainous area that is difficult to access, the plant is not reached by traditional means of communication such as telephone or GSM. Therefore, to control the site without sending people in the field, SERHY needed to find an innovative solution to monitor energy production, and to perform maintenance of the site.

“Member States shall ensure that transmission system operators and distribution system operators in their territory guarantee the transmission and distribution of electricity produced from renewable energy sources” EU Directive on the Promotion of the Use of Energy from Renewable Sources 2009/28/EC

The satellite solution

To ensure reliable and continuous communication between the hydro-electric site and the teleprocessing centre, SERHY decided to develop, in partnership with SATMOS®, a system relying on bidirectional satellite communication to control and manage remotely the regulating equipment of the plant, as well as the electromechanical equipment of the water crane. The satellite link permits to optimise the operation of the two Pelton turbines according to the water level at the dam, and to monitor the electrical parameters of the two alternators. In addition, in case of alarm or malfunctioning, an e-mail is automatically sent to the control centre.

The result

SATMOS’ solution enables SERHY’s staff not only to monitor parameters and alarms in real time, but also to regulate the equipment remotely. Operators in the teleprocessing centre receive the operating parameters of the plant twice a day, and can intervene at any time in case of malfunctioning. In addition, the solution allows SERHY to remotely monitor environmental parameters related to energy production.