Our today’s interviewees are responsible managers for our region of the Siemens company, which is proud of its 175-year history. Siemens in Azerbaijan has found its place in the group of countries led by Siemens Austria. Those countries include the region of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as well as Israel and countries from Central Asia. Being one of the first in the history of energy resources, especially the oil industry, Azerbaijan is also proud of its industrial history. Already in the 19th century geographical location and industrial potential attracted Siemens to Azerbaijan. I would like to introduce today’s interviewees to get information about the company’s current position and activities in Azerbaijan. Mr. Edward Strasser – Head of Channel Partners, and Mr. Hannes Rothwangl – Head of Branches Smart Infrastructure Electrification & Automation (both from Siemens Austria, Smart Infrastructure). We direct our first question to Mr. Strasser.
AT: Mr. Strasser, in the modern world, smart technologies are actively expanding their influence everywhere. The name of your division is Smart Infrastructure. Can you please tell us about the Smart Infrastructure division?
E.S. Thank you for your question. In general, Siemens Smart Infrastructure addresses the challenges of urbanization and climate change by connecting energy systems, buildings and industries. As Head of Channel Partners in the field of Electrification and Automation, I can mainly inform you about these activities. We cover a very broad portfolio of devices and solutions. In detail it will be quite a long list, which we can summarize to say that these are medium and low voltage equipment, as well as all necessary automation devices and automation solutions for power transmission and distribution facilities at power utilities, energy-intensive industries and essential infrastructure, like hospitals, seaports, airports, and such. However, our portfolio is not limited to the above-mentioned range of equipment. Our department also offers solutions for effective design development in networks, keeping in mind the digitization of networks. Here, I would like to mention the Smart Grid Compass solution. This is a very interesting methodology for jointly determining of roadmap and setting priorities for digitalization of power grid, together with our customers, and Smart Grid Compass can play a very effective role in distribution networks. This benefit is especially notable in countries that are developing rapidly from the point of view of economy and industry, such as Azerbaijan. We have provided presentations and necessary information about Smart Grid Compass for AZERISHIQ distribution network, who is strongly focusing on showcasing the best Smart Grid solutions in their current project in the liberated territories. Also, our department is leading the markets with dedicated solutions to implement Microgrids, SICAM Navigator, SICAM Localizer, Grid Diagnostic Suite and many other cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT) platforms in Azerbaijan.
AT: Can you tell us about some of your important references in Azerbaijan?
E.S. We have truly achieved considerable progress in technology partnerships in Azerbaijan during the last two years. In today’s world, to be competitive, it is necessary to focus strongly on value-added offerings of skilled partners in our local markets, and the most important references we have obtained in recent years have been implemented together with these local partners. As very important projects I would make a point of protection and control systems for 220/110/10kV Khirdalan and Gala substations. These stations we have successfully equipped with the new generation of SIPROTEC 5 protection and control equipment. The intensive participation of a local VAR (Value Added Reseller) partner, as well as a local cabinet manufacturer in these projects makes it particularly successful for the supplier, for the direct customer and end user, as well. Optimizing the local value add also means that end customers then have engineering and technical support for their specific projects available locally.
AT: We know Siemens supports training centers and educational institutions. What is your approach and your plans in this area in Azerbaijan?
E.S. Siemens is strongly focusing its efforts in Azerbaijan in this direction. In recent years, we have delivered SIPROTEC 5 and Reyrolle protection relays, as well as SICAM A8000 RTUs and automation devices for the training center at Azerishiq OJSC and Bakimetropilteni CJSC, and we are preparing to hold regular trainings with their technical teams. I’m proud to note that we have also supplied SIPROTEC 5 relays and SICAM A8000 automation equipment for Azerbaijan State Oil and Industry University (ASOIU) as well. This will enable ASOIU to expose an entire generation of upcoming protection and automation engineers to leading, state-of-the-art technology. Our SIPROTEC and SICAM devices for ASOIU were installed in panels by our local partner and placed at the disposal of ASOIU teachers and students. Following indoctrination with key professors, the university intends to start classes on the equipped panel soon.
AT: Thank you Mr. Strasser. We would like to ask our next question to Mr. Hannes Rothwangl. Mr. Rothwangl, it would be very interesting for us if you could inform us about the projects you have implemented in Azerbaijan in the last period.
H.R. Thank you. Our Team implemented various projects in Azerbaijan in recent years. I want to highlight the projects we have realized together with the Bakimetropoliteni CJSC, an organization which plays a major role in the city’s infrastructure. Together we installed and put into operation Siemens equipment like medium voltage switchgears NXAIR and NXPLUS, low voltage panels SIVACON S8, as well as other equipment used for subway power supply. That includes 220V charging rectifier including battery system, telemetry and compensation panels. The SITRAS DC equipment from Siemens Mobility is part of our deliveries to Bakimetropoliteni CJSC to operate the metro.
AT: On which project are you currently working with Bakimetropoliteni CJSC?
H.R. Our latest order contains the power supply and distribution systems for the “28 May” Metro station, which is named after Azerbaijan’s Independence Day. Next year Azerbaijan will celebrate the 105th anniversary of independence and it is very symbolic that putting into operation of the modernized “28 May” substation is scheduled that year. Within the specified delivery period of 12 months – including supervising of commissioning – our colleagues will correspondingly deliver 18 medium voltage switchgear panels (NXAIR), as well as 18 low voltage switchgear panels (SIVACON S8) and a total of six GEAFOL transformers.
AT: How long is your experience with Azerbaijan and what can you say about our country?
H.R. My close acquaintance with Azerbaijan started in 2016. The people here are very hospitable. For me, Baku is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. As most big cities, Baku has a problem with traffic jams. We hope that the conceptual development plan of the subway, approved by the state, will be successfully implemented, and this in turn will lead to freeing of roads in your city. Of course, we will be very happy to support Azerbaijan with all our technologies and engineering resources.