Lighting control at Santander’s harbour

Santander Port Authority has assigned to TST the development of a solution for the remote wireless control of 25 electric towers at Santander harbour.

The Port Authority is looking for a solution to reduce the energy consumption of the electric towers, because each tower has 8 KW of installed power and every single one of them consumes 35 MWh yearly. The towers are connected in series in a line, thus the Port Authority must turn on a whole line to switch on a single tower. By turning a whole line at once, a power peak is generated in the electricity network and the Port Authority demands for a short time more power than is contracted with the utility company. Due to this fact and according to the contract between the Port Authority and the utility, the price for the kWh jumps to the next level (not just for the time with a higher power demand, but for energy consumed during the whole invoice period, normally a month!).

TST will develop for the Santander Port Authority a wireless control system based on ZigBee technology. On each electric tower an AleHop node will be installed. This node consists basically on a microcontroller with a ZigBee radio and some relais. According to remote commands from the control room, the lights controlled by the relais will switch on or off.

With our solution the Port Authority can turn every single electric tower on and off, illuminating the harbor with the appropriate light level only when it is necessary. Thus, if a ship docks on a pier at night to load or unload the merchandise, instead of lighting up the whole pier, the Port Authority can turn on those lights needed at the right time and at the right intensity level. By doing so, the Port Authority drastically reduces the energy consumption on their facilities, and therefore it also reduces the electric invoice from the utility company. By eliminating the power peaks, the price for the kWh stays down.

The wireless network is controlled through a web application that can be accessed from any computer at the Port Authority’s intranet. The authorized users can control from this application every single electric tower and perform advanced tasks such as programming when the lights automatically turn on or off, adjust the light level and program a serialized process of turning the towers on to avoid power peaks.