ENEL OPEN INNOVABILITY® CHALLENGE | Fiber optic cable installation within operational hydroelectric canals

03/05/2023 - Enel

Enel is seeking solutions to install a fiber optic cable inside hydroelectric plant canals in tunnel while in use and without removing water.

Expires: 29 May 2023

Reward: Collaboration with Enel Green Power

Meet the challenge!



Do you have a solution that can install cables in canals in hydroelectric plants during operation? The pipeline systems at these renewable plants can stretch to tens of kilometers, may be pressurized, and have limited access. Your system or solution for cable installation will preserve resources, reduce outages, and ensure continued generation of renewable energy.

We invite your proposals for effective and reusable methods of cable installation.

This is an electronic Request-for-Partners (eRFP) Challenge; the Solver will need to submit a written proposal to be evaluated by Enel Green Power with the goal of establishing a collaborative partnership.


To continue its work in renewable energy, Enel Green Power is looking to improve the efficiency and sustainability of cable installation, helping to interconnect the hydraulic plant parts and optimize its management. Enel is looking for proposals or solutions for installing fiber optic cables in waterways that are in tunnel and in-use, applicable across different pressures, canal shapes, and lengths.

The canals that interconnect a hydroelectric plant may span multiple kilometers, as well as being either pressurized or open-flow, and away from urban areas/in mountainous regions. Enel see these waterways as providing an opportunity for a connected solution – linking various parts of the plant through a fiber optic network that can be leveraged for monitoring, maintenance, and reporting.

However, currently these canals would need to be emptied of water to install cables and perform maintenance checks. Enel Green Power is therefore looking for proposals around the best available solutions to install cables within in-use canals in tunnel either pressurized or open-flow. In partnership with Enel, your approach will preserve resources, maintain a critical renewable source, and unlock greater sustainability in operation.


Hydroelectric plants and dams are a critical part of the future of renewable energy, representing an estimated 40% of total renewable capacity according to the World Economic Forum. These installations are often complex, covering great distances, and varying in sizes.

The canals that bring water to a plant differ in accessibility but are always accessible from the ends. Enel Green Power is looking for a system to unify and optimize cable installation across canal types by implementing a method to install fiber optic in canals in tunnel while plants are in-use.

These waterways present strategic value beyond their water-carrying, as they interconnect distant parts of a plant like a dam, water intake, and other civil infrastructures. The sprawl of these plants and installations mean that they are very difficult to interconnect through regular communication systems (DSL, Hyper LAN etc). Enel wants to use the large amounts of waterways and canals to create a fiber optic network between various parts of the plant, without the need for external infrastructure.

Installation of fiber optic cables normally requires many days of outage: operators need to overcome access issues, distance, and the limiting criteria of the canals themselves. It also results in a relative waste of water, lack of energy produced, and can mean the work itself is unsustainable.

Developments in this area will allow advanced communication of hydraulic parts (the intake, dam, etc) which will mean operating teams can better manage water resource and reduce manual inspection. The real-time data that this long-term solution can provide will enable swift action in the event of problems and continued smooth operation of this key part of renewable energy.



Enel Green Power is searching for proposals of innovative systems that can install a fiber optic cable inside the canals of hydroelectric plants, without removing the water or ceasing operations.

We are looking for new technologies, systems, and methods for installing these cables while the plant is in use. Improving the method for installation will not only save time and preserve resources, but this network of cables will provide fast and reliable communication across the plants. Being better connected to remote areas allows for greater remote-control systems and video streams, as well as potential development of damage monitoring and leakage detection.

While in use, the installed cable must not interfere or present a danger to the equipment of the plant, including if ‘detached’ and passing through a turbine. Your proposal, method, solution, or technology should address the solution requirements and provide the potential for development of a monitoring system for damage and leakages.

Enel Green Power is therefore looking for proposals around the best available solutions to install cables in in-use canals in tunnel either pressurized or open-flow.

More info at openinnovability.com, meet the challenge!

Tipologia: Challenge prize

Fonte: https://openinnovability.enel.com/challenges/call/2023/4/cable-installation-hydroelectric-plants

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