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Guarantee the security of electricity supply for several million consumers is the daily challenge of the TSO. With the energy transition, new constraints are emerging in the energy landscape with a direct impact on the planning of grid activities requiring outages.
In such a context, Elia, one of the European TSO’s, has launched a new program called Synapse. The purpose of this program is to offer a more agile planning and a more stable execution of works. One key enabler to reach this ambitious target is the development of an innovative optimization tool, Opso.
Our data scientists have selected two technologies : Constraint Programming and Large Neighborhood Search in order to model such a complex optimization problem (e.g. hundreds/thousands of works/outages to be scheduled). The smart mix of those two technologies enables to reach a high degree of flexibility in the definition of non linear constraints while keeping reasonable execution time for the business.
The very first use of the optimization tool, as proof of the concept, shows the ability to increase the number of grid activities planned while significantly reducing the stress on the grid (reducing the number of outage days).
Beside the initial proof of concept, the tool was used in a field test during the summer 2020 to help the operational planning teams reschedule the works canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This illustrated one of the main benefits of the tool: being able to quickly reschedule activities affected by external factors.