REN - Redes Energéticas Nacionais has developed an innovative project that enables strengthening the safety of workers exposed to potential electrical risk in very high-voltage facilities. The 'Digital Substation Protection' project uses augmented reality (the overlay of virtual images onto reality) as well as a real-time location system to prevent teams operating at substations from entering unsafe areas, thus reducing the risk of accidents.
When REN's operational teams access the system to carry out work on electrical facilities, they activate augmented reality, i.e., the appearance of virtual images showing the vertical and horizontal limits of that area using the tablets, mobile phones, or computers they are working on.
Another safety mechanism included in the project is the monitoring of workers through the real-time localisation system, which makes it possible to determine the worker's position in real time and with a high level of accuracy and speed. Whenever the worker crosses the safe zone, the system activates an alert which results in a vibration signal for the worker and an alarm for a central system.
'Digital Substation Protection' is part of REN's innovation strategy, which focuses on the creation and development of solutions that contribute to REN's operational performance as regards safety and quality of energy supply. It also falls within the scope of REN's sustainability strategy, namely in safety and work.
The pilot project was installed in the Palmela substation and will now be replicated in other facilities of the Portuguese National Electricity Grid.