After three long years, the Ovation™ Users’ Group is back in person in Pittsburgh in 2023. Bob Yeager opened the conference with an expansive vision for the many ways Emerson will work together with its users to meet a changing future.
Change is a central theme in power generation today, so it is no surprise that it is also a central theme for #OvationUG. Bob explained that true change cannot happen without reinvention—the technologies, trends, and strategies that met industry needs two decades ago do not fully serve a more connected, expansive energy future. Today we’re seeing an increased need for technologies to support the many different solutions—wind, solar, batteries, hydrogen, and more—that will power the world alongside the traditional energy technologies that have sustained us for decades.
New partnerships, new dynamics
Like everyone, Emerson is changing and reinventing to meet the future of power generation. That change started in 2020 with the acquisition of American Governor to bring expanded hydro expertise. The acquisition brought Emerson’s total US hydro automation installations to over 3,000, further underscoring the importance of constant innovation in hydro plant control systems.
In addition, the 2021 acquisition of Mita-Teknik fully defined Emerson’s commitment to wind technologies. With the addition of expertise in over 400 turbine models and an install base of more than 60,000 systems around the globe, Emerson is now the world-leading supplier of wind turbine retrofits.
Technology for a new era
Emerson’s transition to a wider portfolio of renewable products also created a need for transitions in technology, Bob explained. That transition is exemplified in Emerson’s newest breakthrough technology in renewable software: Ovation Green. Ovation Green is a software suite that enables analytics from highly distributed renewable assets from a wide variety of OEMs. The software exposes asset insights that are often not available through OEM asset management applications, to bring all essential operation and reliability data into a single pane of glass for easier management.
Moreover, with access to more data through renewable energy asset management, teams can perform more effective condition monitoring to help predict failure and manage dynamic de-rating to drive longer lifecycles in their equipment.
More nimble control
Bob also delved into another shift in Emerson strategy that arrived with the release of a new standalone controller. While Ovation has always had impressive capabilities for scaling up, this new generation of control will better fit some renewables operations with a small solution that can be programmed with a laptop for increased flexibility.
Simulation drives success
To help teams better design, maintain, update, and manage their technology, Emerson’s digital twin solutions provide the world’s only high-fidelity, first principle models that can be created using the same engineering tools used to build the control system logic. Bob shared how using smart grid extensions—renewables models for hydro, solar, and battery power—empowers users to easily create exact replicas of their control architecture for testing and training. And as operations change, they can use new synchronization technology to ensure the live control system accurately represents the simulation and vice versa—quickly and easily.
A cybersecure approach
Nobody can fly under the radar for cybersecurity anymore, and recent headlines have shown the significant concerns cyber threats have created for power generators. Bob explained how Emerson is helping organizations meet this concern head on with Ovation’s certification as qualified anti-terrorism technology. When implemented as part of an organization’s defense-in-depth strategy, systems designated and certified as qualified anti-terrorism technology by the Department of Homeland Security provide significant legal protection in case of a cybersecurity incident.
Toward a new grid
Bob also explored how the power industry is moving away from a traditional centralized grid toward a more distributed grid system. The grid of the future will not have separate transmission, distribution, and generation. There will simply be a single cohesive grid. And the control centers operating on that grid will still play a role for visualization, operator situational awareness, and overall coordination, but the control function will need to be distributed. To meet that need, Bob shared, Emerson is developing software-defined grid edge controllers to begin distributing that high speed data sharing and control.
We’ll be covering the Ovation Users’ Group all week at the Emerson Automation Experts blog and across social media, so keep your eye on these pages for more insight into the innovations and strategies being discussed at the cutting edge of power and water solutions.