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Thinking outside the box: acting fast for an effective solution

Prysmian responds swiftly to help resolve an emergency at the Guatapé Hydroelectric Plant.

FEBRUARY 2017

When disaster struck at Central Guatapé, Colombia’s largest hydroelectric dam, quick thinking and teamwork between Prysmian and our partners helped save the day.

Prysmian Mexico borrowed 30 km of 230 kV 1200 mm² XLPE cable that had been previously supplied to CFE, and was currently not in use and delivered it to EPM.

Designed and built in the 1960s, Central Guatapé is owned by our client Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) and boasts a generating capacity of 560 MW, courtesy of eight Pelton turbines, which deliver 70 MW each. It’s a significant asset in Colombia’s power-generation facilities.

Fire breaks out at the plant

A state of emergency was declared at the plant in February 2016 when technical failures caused fire to rip through the powerhouse (situated 400m underground) causing critical damage to the four oil-filled power cable circuits that convey generated power from the plant to the outside world.

We understood the severity of situation and were on-hand to help EPM, resolve the issue as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Acting quickly to minimise the impact

Finding four circuits-worth of 230 kV cable in a hurry is no simple task, but thanks to our extensive book of clients we quickly identified state-owned Mexican utility company, CFE.

CFE generously agreed, bringing closer the possibility of a swift resolution to the crisis.

Replacement cables were ordered immediately to ensure CFE were not adversely affected by the loan and their operations could still go ahead as planned.

An epic journey from source to installation

Under the circumstances, traditional shipping routes would have been too slow. EPM decided to think outside the box. The cables and all their requisite accessories and tools were loaded aboard two Russian-built Ukrainian Antonov 124-100 aircraft. It took eight round trips for everything to arrive safely at Colombia’s José María Córdova airport, ready for transportation to Guatapé.

Delivering results, ahead of schedule

Alongside 100 EPM staff, a team of 15 Prysmian specialists worked tirelessly and the project was completed a month ahead of schedule in June 2016. A truly remarkable achievement.

“For Prysmian it was a great honor to play a key role in a project of this magnitude, building on the brotherhood of two countries and helping to strengthen friendship ties between Mexico and Colombia.”

Jaouad Ben-Hamman

CCO of Prysmian Mexico

 

/ Project facts:

 

  • 57 reels of 230 kV power cable, totalling 30 km, found in record time
  • Two aircraft brought in to ensure the swiftest possible delivery
  • Finished one month ahead of schedule
  • The Colombian government were present to witness the resumption of operations at the plant
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