“These ideas, aligned with the Group’s Open Power philosophy and focused on innovation, productivity, responsibility and trust, reflect these two concepts of “hungry to improve,” and “mad about innovation.”
The winning proposal for this edition, “Optimisation of the mill and increased capacity in coal mills”, by Manuel Barro Franco, that seeks to improve the capacity of coal spraying mills was made with this entrepreneurial spirit. This initiative, which is already implanted in the As Pontes (A Coruña) thermal power station aims to be able to burn coals of inferior calorific power which are more economical and in turn can be offered to the market at a much more competitive price.
For the award winner, initiatives such as these “help people present their own improvements” and that they can "bring” their ideas to light, “carry them out and see the benefits we draw from them”, he assures.
“The existence of these awards helps people present their own improvements; their ideas are not a mere paper exercise and can be brought to light and carried out to see the benefit we draw from them.”
Since the very first edition of this initiative in 2015, a total of 811 proposals have been received from employees in 25 company production units, of which 306 have already been implemented. This participation is on the increase: this year, approximately 11% of station staff has presented a total of 311 ideas. Of these, 12 were recognised as the best proposals in terms of safety, efficiency, innovation, and as a novelty for this edition, the best sustainability plan and the best digitalisation proposal.
In the field of energy efficiency for example, the proposal made by Pablo Sánchez Lorenzo from the combined cycle station plant in As Pontes (A Coruña) won an award: his proposal to install speed controllers in power stations’ tower cooling engines enables these to vary their rotation speed and, therefore, their electrical consumption, according to environmental conditions.
The use of artificial intelligence to predict abnormal situations in the operation of equipment was also another initiative that won an award. Daniel González Calvo, from the Granadilla thermal power station (Santa Cruz de Tenerife) proposed using a neuronal network to simulate abnormal situations and make decisions without needing to undertake tests with the consequent saving of time and money.
This programme’s success, according to Manuel Morán, Director General of Generación, is because of the involvement of employees in seeking out “improvements that affect safety, but also facilities, equipment and maintenance of the environment and optimisation of resources”.
“This programme’s success lies in the involvement of all of you by always seeking out continuous improvement and excellence during your daily work with preferential attention to improvements that affect safety, but also facilities, equipment and preservation of the environment and optimisation of resources.”
Thanks to employee initiatives that are ultimately put into practice, we also make significant savings: we have saved €16 million just with the proposals implemented this year with an average investment of approximately €1 million. The savings made after implementation of the best proposals from the three editions of these awards also sums a total of €37 million, with an investment made of €5 million.
The good results obtained from this initiative have served to inspire the remainder of the Enel Group (Grupo Enel), which has created a similar programme for employees on traditional generation (thermal power plants for carbon, fuel and gas and combined cycles), in which 8 countries already take part: the Gxcellence Award.
The BYEM awards have turned into an essential tool to encourage continuous improvement, save on costs, seek out excellence and adapt to changes in the future. “The setting is changing fundamentally and we all need to make a contribution”, insisted José Bogas during the award presentation ceremony. For this reason we need there to be an increasing number of employees “hungry to improve” and “mad about innovation” that continue to work together to transform their ideas into actual solutions.