Manuel Fernández
Director General North America
Grupo Arteche
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View from the Top

Cutting Edge Technology to Counter Technical Losses

Wed, 02/24/2016 - 17:16

Q: How has your experience in Mexico helped open the doors to new business prospects in Latin America?

A: Grupo Arteche (Arteche) has been around for 65 years and for the past two decades the Americas have been a strategic region in our expansion goals. Our previous experience has proven to be useful, since Arteche was a key player in the construction of wind energy infrastructure during the renewable energy boom in Spain, as well as having been involved in more than 42% of the wind park projects in Brazil. In the case of Mexico, our experience opens up plenty of possibilities, particularly in the aftermath of the Energy Reform. Mexico has huge wind and solar power potential, and we want to be part of this sector’s development.

Q: Can you break down which business divisions provide the bulk of Arteche’s revenue and what are its new pillars of growth?

A: The most active division is our core business, Instrument Transformers. Arteche began operations with the transformer business line, and later, the company diversified through other product lines oriented towards Power Quality, Smart Grids, and Turnkey Solutions. Our main business in Mexico is related to transformers, but we are growing at an accelerated pace in the other three divisions. We are using our core business line as a foundation, although we see the largest potential in our other business units.

Arteche has traditionally been a manufacturer of primary equipment. Although this has been our strongest area, the company is increasingly adding value by supplying for the peripheral components of primary equipment, such as technological services and technical studies. Arteche does not focus on equipment or the construction of substations exclusively; we sell integrated solutions with technical value. The company is one of the few around the world that can perform analysis of phenomenon like ferroresonance, and also provide solutions in protections coordination, short circuit analysis, power quality, harmonic analysis, voltage stability studies, dynamic stability studies, transient stability studies, system impact studies, and field diagnostics for instrument transformers.

Q: How is Arteche working with CFE and CRE on reducing technical loses in the Mexican grid?

A: Mexico faces a great challenge regarding electricity loses, especially in Mexico City. In fact, energy loses in Mexico amount to more than 30%, more than three times the international standard. Arteche supplies products that can address this problem, like high accuracy and extended range instrument transformers and anti-theft solutions for metering systems.

One of CFE’s objectives is to reduce technical losses, although there is a lot of work to be done in terms of regulation and implementation. Arteche has always worked closely with CFE and the current relationship will change drastically due to the Reform. Regarding technical losses, we work with CFE to determine its needs, and then Arteche examines possible ways to address these needs. We have several pilot projects, many of which are in the transmission and distribution segments.

Q: What are the main priorities of the company’s R&D division at the moment?

A: R&D is an important part of our business strategy, with more than 3% of our revenue invested in innovation. Arteche has a global technological development center that traces the evolution of technologies and it performs studies and simulations. In Mexico we opened a local innovation center three years ago, and it has been a unique experience that has enabled us to form ties with other technology centers and universities. We are working in sustainability, asset management, protocol 61850, and network reliability. Arteche develops its future technologies according to these areas, and this approach goes hand in hand with the goals of the Energy Reform. Arteche has an engineering services division where it carries out studies in fields like ferroresonance, electrical interconnectivity, and energy quality, among others. One of the unique technologies that add value to our service is the PSS/E software used for grid interconnection. Often these innovations are part of the projects we deliver to our clients or they are a special service that our customers demand. We are expanding and exporting our measurements product line, mainly to the US and Canada.