Incauca S.A. has put into operation the electric energy cogeneration project it had been working on since the 80s, increasing from a production of 8 megawatts that were consumed by its own processes to an installed capacity of 36 megawatts. It was the first private cogeneration project in Colombia to provide electric energy to the public grid, using the combustion of bagasse from the sugar cane mill for this purpose.
With this installed capacity, Incauca produces an average generation of 21.8 megawatts, with 10 megawatts being consumed by Incauca and the rest being distributed to the Sistema Interconectado Nacional, SIN (National Interconnected System). The total annual generation is 176 gigawatt hours and the total annual sale of energy by the Company is 93 gigawatt hours.
Bagasse is obtained from the milling process, which consists of separating the sugar cane juice, which then goes to the production process, from the fiber, which is carried on conveyor belts to the boilers. Remaining bagasse from the production process is no longer considered a process waste product but is now an important energy product from the industry, whose advantage lies in the fact that it is ecologically clean. At the boilers, the bagasse from the mills is used to heat water and obtain steam. This is carried through pipes called "live steam" pipes to the turbines, which convert the thermal energy into kinetic or motion energy, which then moves the generators to produce electric energy.
The electric energy must be distributed to the different users and to do this, internal transforming substations are used that are made up of equipment that allows the generation and energy transmission voltage to be reduced or increased to levels that are suitable to operate the Plant’s equipment. The substations feed the different processes at Incauca S.A. while external transforming substations are also used to supply electric energy to the deep wells, the housing development, the Agricultural Workshop, the Service Station and the administrative offices. There is also an external transforming substation to inject electric energy into the Sistema Interconectado Nacional, SIN, in compliance with power purchase agreements.
Quality of the energy
In order to check the quality of the energy dispatched, control, supervise and record electric variables, the company has a modern supervisory control and data acquisition system known as SCADA.
This can check, in real time, fundamental information from the generators in operation, energy consumptions and the behavior of the electric variables of the sections of Incauca S.A. and its clients.
As part of the power purchase agreement between EPSA E.S.P. and Incauca S.A., there is a Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) that allows electric information required by the Regional Dispatch Center to be collected and then sent via a microwave system located at the external transforming substation that connects Incauca to the SIN.