Todd Walden

Author and Blogger

Emerson’s 2021 virtual Ovation™ Users’ Group Conference opened with Bob Yeager, president of power & water solutions, and Rick Kephart, vice president of technology, sharing a glimpse into the expanding needs of the changing power and water industries.

Bob and Rick shared that modern automation systems are about more than just control. Today’s providers are looking for holistic software and technology that form a comprehensive portfolio of sustainable grid solutions, implemented on a common platform for an entire power or water network to provide asset and grid management, data analytics, digital twin simulation, cybersecurity, visualization, and more.

Much of this change stems from continued market deregulation that is fueling a shift in the grid. Bob shared that one key change– a result of the recently passed FERC 2222 order—is an increase in the bidirectional flow of electricity to accommodate the integration of renewable and distributed energy into the power network.

“Now with the two-way flow of electricity—basically behind-the-meter generation—managing the grid is much more complicated. That is what’s driving the need for not only new physical grid infrastructure, but the need for software.”

As the grid changes, so too must the technologies that maintain reliable and stable operations. Bob shared the exciting news that on October 1, 2020 Emerson acquired Open Systems International, Inc., a leading operations technology software provider. Emerson’s OSI digital grid solutions enable utilities to transform and digitize operations to more seamlessly incorporate renewable and distributed energy sources and improve energy efficiency and reliability.

Bob was joined by Al Eliasen, president of Emerson’s OSI digital grid solutions who expanded upon the benefits of the recent acquisition.

OSI digital grid solutions, based on the monarch™ platform and Chronus historian, complement Emerson’s power generation portfolio perfectly, unlocking the end-to-end ability to monitor, control, manage and optimize operations in real time across the enterprise to enable the rapid shift toward a smarter grid.

New Technologies for a New Future

The key to successfully navigating the smart grid transition is properly collecting and managing data. Providers are building systems with tight integration between system management functions and individual generating assets to unlock the ability to exchange rich data between them.

Andy Wang, vice president of global sales and marketing, joined Bob and Rick to share Emerson’s initiatives for building upon our renewable energy capabilities by expanding our comprehensive portfolio of software to help customers meet sustainability objectives.

Bob and Rick provided a glimpse into future innovations that will create a step change in control technology. Examples of new software and technology solutions that will enable utilities to increase security, efficiency, and flexibility to rapidly adjust to industry and market changes include:

  • Scalable and flexible controllers with software configurable I/O
  • Software applications for edge or cloud-based analytics
  • Common web-based platform for information exchange across the power network
  • Layered cybersecurity solutions
  • Integrated and live digital twin simulation

Visit the Process Control for Power & Water Industries section on Emerson.com for more on the technologies and solutions to drive improved performance in electrical power, water & wastewater.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.