How the TSO Elia optimizes outage planning with Constraint Programming | Webinar takeaway

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Optimize outage planning with advanced analytics


Outage Planning is becoming increasingly complex for System Operators

Anticipating the challenges that come along with the full transition of the energy landscape is becoming crucial for System Operators to continuously guarantee the security of supply for their millions of consumers. More specifically, Outage Planning is becoming increasingly complex for System Operators but at the same time, the rise of Advanced Analytics is bringing new opportunities.


Poll results showcase the challenges and expectations of other TSOs


Poll #1 What is the most painful point in your outage planning process?

49% Frequent external changes requiring re-planning

19% Teams coordination and process sequentiality

16% Reduced outage opportunities

8% Planning visualization

8% Others

Almost half of the attendees agreed together that frequent unexpected external changes in the power system requiring re-planning are the most painful point of their outage planning process. This vision is also the one shared by Elia. Teams coordination and sequentiality of the process as well as the re- duction in the number of outage opportunities are following in the list of challenges.


Poll #2 What is the main benefit you expect from using advanced analytics in your outage planning process?

39% Reducing your operational costs
33% Improving the stability of your planning
22% Increasing the complexity your team can handle

3% Realizing all your CAPEX objectives

3% Others

A very tight match between the reduction of the operational costs and the increased stability of the operational planning as the main benefits that come along with the use of advanced analytics in the outage planning process. Increasing the complexity that the teams can handle is completing the podium.


3 Key takeaways



[ED] OPSO Webinar constraint programming graphics


1. A modular solution implemented in operations

Advanced Analytics is currently being leveraged at Elia Transmission Belgium. A modular solution has been created, allowing an integrated outage planning with the consideration of fully customizable constraints and business objectives


2. Developed with the right technology

Constraint Programming has proven to be an efficient technique to solve the outage planning optimization problem. It allows more agile planning of grid interventions when possible but also more stable when necessary


3. Bringing value to the user

Key tangible results for Elia Transmission Belgium:

  • Reduction in the number and duration of outages, decreasing the overall stress on the grid
  • Reduction in the workload for the field and planning teams
  • An increase in the number of interventions realized each year and better use of the planned outages




Q1: The outage plan is first optimized on a yearly basis to create plans for the coming year. Is that outage plan fixed or do you have to move outages when new inputs are arriving? And is that acceptable in the maintenance department if you have to do that?

R1: In intra-year, a weekly re-optimization of the outage planning is performed. At that time, changes in the outage planning are allowed to keep the planning feasible even with changes in the expected operating conditions as well as to be able to plan newly identified interventions. The tradeoff between agility, optimality, and stability is achieved thanks to the “inertia to change” sub-objective function.


Q2: How do you do if the constraints require doing several jobs at the same time on the same loop of a network? Is this problematic?

R2: Sometimes, depending on the constraints defined as input of the optimization problem, the tool is not able to plan all the interventions on the grid. In that case, the tool has to arbitrate between the different interventions based on their priorities. The interventions which cannot be scheduled by the optimizer are identified and the list of constraints preventing these interventions to be planned can be retrieved by the user.



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Past Webinar co-organized with tso elia:

From Feasible to Optimized Outage Planning: Leveraging the Power of Advanced Analytics at Elia Transmission Belgium | 31/03/2021



Outage Planning Optimization Webinar N-SIDE speaker with Elia TSO speaker

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