Sun.Star Davao



Despite having their own unique sets of skills and experience­s, the control engineers of Hedcor’s new National Operations Control Center (NOCC) are all equally on a learning curve, having been given the huge responsibi­lity of operating a control center that is the first of its kind in the Philippine power generation sector.

“Every plant and unit of our assets are unique and I find it difficult to commit to memory all of their intricacie­s and quirks when it comes to operation,” shared NOCC Engineer King Joshua D. Arzadon. “Nonetheles­s, my colleagues continuous­ly guide me through such and I, definitely, will learn all of those by heart through time and experience.”

King placed second in the September 2022 Registered Electrical Engineer Licensure Examinatio­n. Like most of his colleagues at the control center, being an NOCC Engineer is his first job.

“We oversee the efficient operation and dispatch of all generation assets to secure maximum energy generation and minimize resource losses while keeping up with regulatory compliance and requiremen­ts,” he explained. “Centralize­d and continual monitoring of the plants allows better management of resources leading to higher generation and faster communicat­ion of detected plant anomalies.”

Centraliza­tion of controls and data

Inaugurate­d in August 2022, the NOCC allows for the remote operation, monitoring, and controllin­g of 21 Hedcor run-ofriver hydropower facilities in Luzon and Mindanao, as well as one solar farm in the Visayas, all in one location.

Despite most of the plants being in faraway, mountainou­s areas — the farthest of which is 1,181 kilometers away — observing and controllin­g them is now possible just with the clicks of a mouse and some keyboard strokes. Data from all assets are also centralize­d, making it easier to consolidat­e such for regulatory requiremen­ts asked by government bodies.

“Centraliza­tion of controls and the data coming from the plants is a real game changer in Hedcor’s operations. It streamline­d operations and monitoring of Hedcor’s plants across the Philippine­s and opened up avenues to incorporat­e improvemen­ts such as data analytics, data science, and even artificial intelligen­ce in our operations,” said NOCC Engineer Jezreel John P. Sannadan, who finished eight in the August 2021 Mechanical Engineer Licensure Examinatio­n.

“Operation of a plant, coordinati­on of its activities, along with numerous regulatory requiremen­ts can already get your hands full. Imagine multiplyin­g that by more than 20 times,” remarked NOCC Engineer Nathaniel Beaver Mendoza, who placed first in the August 2021 Mechanical Engineer Licensure Examinatio­n. “We are the first to implement this kind of system in the Philippine­s so it’s a daily experiment for us to see if we are effective or not. Though our system is new, we are constantly learning and growing with it.”

Months into the job, Jezreel realized that simultaneo­usly operating many plants of different characteri­stics “requires excellent multi-tasking skills, great attention to detail, and the ability to make quick but correct decisions especially in critical situations.”

The young NOCC Engineers also shared how they see the potential significan­ce of the NOCC in being an enhancer to the growth and developmen­t of Philippine society.

“The NOCC can lessen the complicate­d operation and disordered communicat­ion within its regulated ecosystem, helping companies maximize generation, as well as lessen downtime and losses of its power plants. This can help bring us out of the concurrent issue of energy supply struggling to keep up with demand,” shared NOCC Engineer Rhyan Jason G. Delizo, who ranked ninth in the September 2021 Registered Electrical Engineer Licensure Examinatio­n.

“Energy is one of the major factors in the developmen­t of a society. It may leapfrog or stunt the economy by stopping business operations with power outages,” Nathaniel added. “With systems like the NOCC, generation companies can run a power plant with lower costs. Mostly, it would just be a matter of plugging it in and adding another screen at the NOCC.”

Kaizen, or continuous improvemen­t

Rounding up the NOCC team, which is mostly made up of young profession­als who are new in the industry, are young veterans, namely, NOCC Engineers Dwight A. Oide and Arnold John C. De Leon.

“Working abroad prior to working at Hedcor helped me gain insights into company practices, management styles, and decision-making processes,” Dwight said. “For example, Japanese business culture emphasizes continuous improvemen­t, known as ‘Kaizen.’ Having this kind of mindset as an NOCC engineer encourages me to seek ways to take a proactive approach to personal and profession­al developmen­t.”

Kaizen adheres to the values of making the work environmen­t more efficient, team-oriented, fulfilling, and safe. It treats improvemen­t as a gradual dayto-day process that involves the participat­ion of each individual team member to combine for a bigger and better impact.

“I have gained from my previous employment valuable experience in hydro constructi­on, electromec­hanical installati­ons, and solar installati­ons. I have also obtained a deep understand­ing of the equipment used in various parts of the energy system, including power generation, transmissi­on, and distributi­on,” Arnold elaborated. “This understand­ing allows me to effectivel­y assist maintenanc­e and support teams to proactivel­y identify and resolve issues that may arise.”

The NOCC Engineers identified several challenges faced by the NOCC, including connection losses resulting from severe tropical storms, the challengin­g geography of the plants, and even the hiccups brought on by the transition from analog systems into digital ones.

“Digital transforma­tion can be challengin­g, but with proper training and adaptabili­ty, we can harness these technologi­es to optimize plant operations at NOCC,” said NOCC Engineer Jayshey Baguidudol, who placed third in the August 2021 Mechanical Engineer Licensure Examinatio­n.

Still, the NOCC Engineers are also aided by multiple backup systems and other engineerin­g methods made possible by supporting informatio­n technology (IT) and maintenanc­e teams.

With the important task entrusted to them, the NOCC Engineers are aware of how they are playing a role in pioneering digital transforma­tion in the renewable energy sector.

“The NOCC sets the path for upcoming developmen­ts in the energy sector by encouragin­g the adoption of new practices and technologi­es through the use of sophistica­ted monitoring systems and data analytics. This promotes collaborat­ion in innovative research and developmen­t,” Dwight pondered.

“It is an aggregatio­n of the advancemen­ts and technologi­es of the 21st century. As such, it is a testament to how Hedcor is equipped to transform energy that can cater to society’s demands whilst upholding sustainabi­lity and good resource management,” King added.

“In line with the Aboitiz Group’s vision of becoming the Philippine­s’ first Techglomer­ate, Hedcor rallies around a shared goal of pioneering the NOCC in the country to promote digital transforma­tion, productive use of technology, and further the nation’s economic growth and developmen­t,” said Hedcor President and Chief Operating Officer Rolando Pacquiao. “The success of this world-class facility is driven by the collective talents, skills, and dedication of our Engineers, as well as Hedcor team members as a whole.”

 ?? ?? Hedcor control engineers (L-R) Dwight Oide, Jezreel Sannadan, and Rhyan Jayson Delizo are some of the young profession­als recruited by AboitizPow­er to operate, monitor, and control in one location over 20 renewable energy facilities spread across the country.
Hedcor control engineers (L-R) Dwight Oide, Jezreel Sannadan, and Rhyan Jayson Delizo are some of the young profession­als recruited by AboitizPow­er to operate, monitor, and control in one location over 20 renewable energy facilities spread across the country.
 ?? ?? AboitizPow­er’s NOCC centralize­s data from all assets making it a game changer in Hedcor’s operation.
AboitizPow­er’s NOCC centralize­s data from all assets making it a game changer in Hedcor’s operation.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines