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First of all, I want to thank you, Huawei, for your commitment for the realization of this successful project. Huawei support before and during the project was determinant to finalize it in the best way. OST is National Power Transmission System Operator of the Albanian Electricity Network and the implementation of the DWDM project was very important for our network. For us it is important to have a modern network with the best technologies that provides very good performance and in the same time a secure and reliable network. Thank you again to Huawei and we hope to continue our collaboration for future successful projects.
In the Western part of the Balkans in Europe, there is a 285 kilometer-long river, the Drin River, which flows westwards through northern Albania and directly into the Adriatic Sea, with a catchment area of 14,173 square kilometers. Thanks to a steep riverbed slope and abundant water resources, Albania has built three cascade hydroelectric power stations on the Drin River, namely, Fierza, Koman, and Vau i Dejës. The total installed capacity of the three power stations approaches 1,400 MW, accounting for 70.6 percent of Albania’s total capacity of nationwide hydroelectric power stations. They form the largest hydroelectric power station group in the entire Balkan region in terms of both installed capacity and reservoir capacity.
Water and Bits Together Drive Watts
Albania is one of the European countries that has the most abundant water resources. According to the data released by the Energy Regulatory Authority (ERE), in 2016, Albania generated 7.136 billion kWh of electricity and consumed 7.094 billion kWh, but power grid losses reached 1.986 billion kWh, accounting for 28 percent of the total generated capacity. The Albanian electric power system mainly consists of four parts: Power supervision; power generation; power transmission and transformation; and power distribution and sales. ERE, Albanian Power Corporation (KESH), Transmission System Operator (OST), and Electric Power Distribution Operator (OSHEE), respectively, are responsible for these four parts.
The OST is responsible for the construction, operations, and maintenance of the national transmission network. It is also responsible for promoting and coordinating interconnection with the power grids in neighboring countries. Responsibilities include:
Power production in Albania can meet the basic needs of the country’s industrial and agricultural production. However, because they depend entirely on hydroelectric power, climate can greatly affect power generation. During droughts, the country is more likely to suffer from power shortages and frequent power outages. Albania wants to ensure national energy security; achieve long-term, secure, and reliable supplies of electricity; and improve the country’s influence in the regional energy market. As a result, the Albanian government is attempting to develop the electric power industry in four ways:
These four development directions have brought enormous challenges to the transmission system, not only in Albania, but also the entire Balkan region.
The original network had low capacity (only 20 Mbit/s) and urgently needed to expand. In addition, new services such as power automation, video surveillance, automatic Operations and Maintenance (O&M), and bandwidth leasing require high bandwidth. The operations company’s utilization rate of Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) — a standard technology for transmitting data on optical media — also is low. As a result, OST cannot provide external leasing services for other enterprises. In addition, OST is not ready to deal with Big Data, data center interconnection, or cloud technologies.
Network Capacity Expansion: A Leap from 20 Mbit/s to 10 Gbit/s
The Huawei Universal Transport Solution uses innovative ‘zone-specific, multi-level, and layered’ concepts, and takes into consideration the power grid’s structure, voltage levels, and regional interconnections. The solution helps build a converged power communication network for power transmission and transformation that best suits power grids. A single network can carry both production dispatching and office management services and flexibly expand capacity in anticipation of future service changes.
The intelligent optical transport platform used as part of the Huawei Universal Transport Solution integrates Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexers (ROADMs), terabit electrical cross-connections, full-granularity grooming ranging from 100 Mbit/s to 100 Gbit/s, optical-electrical synergy, and 10G/40G/100G. This solution also provides rich management and protection functions based on large-capacity Optical Transport Network (OTN) grooming and long-haul Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (WDM). Empowered by these features, the platform provides end-to-end OTN/WDM backbone transport solutions so that customers can implement multiple-service, large-capacity, and fully transparent transmission. These highlighted features convinced OST to use Huawei’s solution to help resolve issues in Albania’s current transmission network, and to lay a foundation for future development.
Huawei’s intelligent optical transport platform uses innovative technologies to provide the following features and benefits:
Full Upgrade of the Power Transmission Network in Albania
With the gradual development of IP services (such as integrated information platform, telepresence conference, and video surveillance) and IP transformation of traditional key services (such as dispatching telephone and SCADA), IP transformation of electric power services has become an inevitable trend. We believe that with this evolution, Albania will have more in-depth cooperation with Huawei and together light up the road of electric power industry transformation in the Balkans.