Copperleaf Portfolio™ is now live at Viesgo, an electricity generation and distribution company that manages over 31,000 km of network in the north of Spain. Jorge Gonzalez Bastida, Head of Investment Planning at Viesgo, and Ibon Ruiz, Technical Sales Manager, Southern and Eastern Europe at Copperleaf, share their experience on the implementation and their thoughts on how Copperleaf will help Viesgo transform its portfolio planning process.
Can you share a little bit about your role at Viesgo?
Jorge: "I am responsible for investment planning at Viesgo, one of the largest electricity distribution companies in Spain, with more than 700,000 customers across five regions. The role of the investment planning department is to develop efficient investment plans that minimise technical risks and optimise the complete lifecycle of assets under various criteria, such as safety, quality of service, and availability of resources."
Ibon: "I lead Copperleaf’s technical sales team for Southern and Eastern Europe, working with organisations in various sectors to better understand their challenges in order to propose the best possible solutions to help them. I was the Copperleaf project manager for the implementation of Copperleaf Portfolio at Viesgo."
What were your main goals for this project?
Jorge: "Viesgo recently implemented an asset management system to help manage the lifecycle of assets, from investment needs to maintenance needs and decommissioning. Unfortunately, the investment selection process was still a manual process, based on multiple spreadsheets and manual tasks. Our main objectives in implementing the Copperleaf solution were to:
- automate the investment selection process to accelerate the generation of viable investment plans
- have the ability to select the highest-value investment portfolios while considering multiple constraints."
Ibon: "Viesgo is our first client in Spain and the first electricity distributor to implement a Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) solution for Asset Investment Planning and Management (AIPM) in Southern Europe. We wanted to ensure that the project would not only be successful but would also serve as a pioneering reference in the field of investment optimisation in the region. To achieve this, we had to fully understand Viesgo's planning and optimisation needs.
We wanted to add the concept of value to Veisgo’s decision-making processes. By introducing the Copperleaf Value Framework, Viesgo is able to assess the value of each investment on a common economic scale. Using Copperleaf’s advanced optimisation algorithm, they will be able to create and analyse an endless number of scenarios to help them quickly identify the highest-value investment plans that meet set constraints."
The implementation of Copperleaf Portfolio has allowed us to transition from a laborious manual prioritisation process to a fully automated optimisation process that identifies the highest-value plan within minutes. We now can perform sensitivity analysis and quickly respond to questions if anything changes.
Is there anything unique Viesgo is doing with the Copperleaf solution?
Jorge: "Viesgo is the first electricity distribution company in Spain to implement a portfolio optimisation solution such as Copperleaf Portfolio, therefore we had to ensure the value models we developed were aligned with the Spanish Investment Remuneration Regulation requirements."
Ibon: "We successfully introduced the ability to optimise with multiple constraints—not only in the main portfolio hierarchy, but also on two other ad-hoc portfolio hierarchies at the same time. The Copperleaf solution was tailored to Viesgo’s regulatory environment, including the development of complex cost, remuneration, and cash flow models. We also implemented a range of advanced financial requirements and constraints, such as the use of a minimum target Internal Rate of Return (IRR) constraint at certain levels of the portfolio during optimisation."
What were the key things you felt made the project successful?
Jorge: "The Copperleaf team understood our requirements perfectly from the moment the project started. The solutions they proposed to challenges that arose were innovative and effective. They were also flexible, adapting to changes as the project progressed."
Ibon: "We hosted several dynamic workshops and facilitated numerous demonstrations to ensure we had a thorough understanding of Viesgo’s needs. With their continuous feedback, and our flexible approach, we managed to work together to find the best solutions to even the most complex requirements."
Were there any lessons learned?
Jorge: "We learned the importance of getting expert advice, and being flexible in adapting our current thinking, methodologies, and procedures to the best practices that were suggested."
What are the key benefits you think you will get out of implementing the Copperleaf solution?
Jorge: "The implementation of Copperleaf Portfolio has allowed us to transition from a laborious manual prioritisation process to a fully automated optimisation process that identifies the highest-value plan within minutes. We now can perform sensitivity analysis and quickly respond to questions if anything changes."
Ibon: "Another important benefit is the ability to carry out analyses on different 'what-if' scenarios. This will empower Viesgo to compare the impact of different constraints on costs, cash flow, IRR, risk, and value."
Have there been any other added benefits?
Jorge: "Another added benefit has been collaborating with Copperleaf and drawing from their extensive experience with other companies in similar sectors. This has allowed us to expand our knowledge and shape ideas that can be transformed into best practices."
Ibon: "Viesgo will experience a considerable improvement in the time it takes to create their portfolio plans. It has also made it easier to detect and correct data quality issues."
I was surprised by the ease and efficiency with which we were able to implement this project remotely and commend the Viesgo team for being so adaptable. But hopefully we will be able to have a long overdue coffee very soon!
What’s next on your asset management journey?
Jorge: "We plan on further developing our value framework to consider aspects such as supply reliability, security, quality of service, asset condition, and other non-financial benefits such as the impact of decisions on our corporate social responsibility. We also plan on integrating Copperleaf Portfolio with Viesgo’s Asset Performance Management (APM) System to provide complete oversight of the trade-offs between investment needs and predictive maintenance of assets in the short, medium, and long term."
Ibon: "Through our collaboration with Viesgo on this project, we identified areas to further expand the Copperleaf Value Framework to align with regulatory requirements and best practices in the electricity distribution sector—for example, modeling safety, environmental, and compliance risks, as well as the impact on network reliability (SAIDI)."
How would you describe the experience you had working with Copperleaf?
Jorge: "From the moment we started working with the Copperleaf team, our experience has been very positive. It is worth highlighting the professionalism of the team and the extensive knowledge they have shown—not only of the solution but of its practical application to a client's needs. We have really enjoyed working on this project!"
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation had to be carried out remotely. What was it like implementing a software solution remotely?
Jorge: "This was one of the first projects we had to manage completely remotely due to the restrictions around COVID-19. Once we became accustomed to the dynamics of remote working, the development of the project and the results achieved were similar to what would be expected from a project developed under normal circumstances. It has gone very well, however, I would like to have been able to work together in person. I missed having that direct human contact!"
Ibon: "I was surprised by the ease and efficiency with which we were able to implement this project remotely and commend the Viesgo team for being so adaptable. But hopefully we will be able to have a long overdue coffee very soon!"
How would you describe your experience working with Copperleaf?
Jorge: "Working with Copperleaf has been an enriching and rewarding experience for me. The Copperleaf project team, in addition to being experts and delivering a highly professional service, has proven to be sensitive to the changing requirements on our side and worked closely with us to ensure the project was a success."
Learn more about how Copperleaf clients have been able to improve their business outcomes in our client success stories.
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