In recent years, achieving full digital integration has been one of the key objectives in the energy sector. Digital transformation is an unstoppable fact for an industry that needs to keep moving towards intelligence, automation and maximum efficiency.
In this article, we tell you how information technologies (IT) and operating technologies (OT) are being integrated into centralised control systems for power plants, the result of a need – or several needs – such as the challenges faced by the sector.
Challenges of today’s energy production
Today, the environmental scenario and digital transformation present major challenges for the energy industry, among which are the following:
- Increasing renewable energy production. Developing capacities to harness available renewable energies is a necessity for the industry, which is supported by universal action plans such as Agenda 2030 (ODS).
- Plan the location of plants. The geographical location of energy plants is key to making the most of the elements of nature, but it brings with it geographical dispersion, which often poses a management and control problem.
- Optimising processes and increasing performance. To meet the sustainable development objective set by the UN, it is necessary to continue working on the optimisation of processes, how it is generated, stored and distributed, in a production chain that provides the greatest volume with the given resources.
Advantages of centralised management and control of power plants
Centralised control is advantageous both for the management of a single plant, or, in the case of having an integrated operations platform, it will have the capacity to bring together the management of several geographically dispersed production plants from a single tool.
This is where the centralised control of energy plants takes on special relevance, eliminating the barriers of geographical dispersion, optimising processes and efficiency in a transversal manner thanks to:
- Unified and standardised data. The data from the sensors installed in the assets are processed, unified and standardised, to be displayed in a visual layer that facilitates their management, providing value in decision-making.
- Knowledge of the level of individual and global plant production in real time. A power plant with centralised control can know in real time the production status of a plant located thousands of kilometres away from another, and even the global computation of all of them.
- Remote management and control of assets. Permanent monitoring of the operation of facilities is essential, and if you have a tool that allows you to do this through cloud technologies in the cloud, it is the perfect ally for the management of power plants.
With the arrival of IIoT and Artificial Intelligence (AI), we are entering an era in which the energy industry can progress towards a new paradigm where cutting-edge technologies such as Machine Learning or Cloud Monitoring play an essential role in the efficiency and productivity of plants.
Centralised management with an integrated operations platform
In order to reap the full benefits of centralised control, it is imperative that the systems already in place in the plants are integrated with an advanced operations platform that allows all geographically dispersed and interconnected assets to be managed in real time.
With an advanced operations platform you get:
- Advanced dashboards. To analyse all processes in an interactive and customisable way, allowing better decisions to be made thanks to the combination of information from different areas.
- Smart SCADAs. With an intuitive visual scenario, any type of installation is controlled, monitored and managed.
- Customisable alarm system. To link critical or out-of-range processes with platform users, according to established criteria.
- Real-time and historical reports. With a secure web service API that allows external applications to exchange information, historical data can be obtained based on MS Excel and PDF reports.
- Machine Learning. Taking advantage of Artificial Intelligence, an integrated operations platform allows for the analysis of production behaviour through specialised algorithms.
What types of power plants can be centrally controlled
Some examples are:
- Wind power plants
- Solar (photovoltaic and solar thermal)
Centralise your energy production plants with Nexus Integra
Nexus Integra is the open and standard industrial systems integration platform capable of generating a global operations and monitoring environment for the management of large-scale industrial assets.
It enables monitoring of all power plants from anywhere, at any time, on any device.
It is designed to integrate and process data from different languages and origins, which makes it a powerful tool for unification and standardisation, facilitating the 360º management of your organisation, both at a productive and administrative level, integrating existing applications already in the company.
Do you want to know more about the benefits of implementing Nexus Integra in a power plant? Contact our specialised team