Break Away from Suboptimal Turbine Control

by , | Feb 29, 2024 | Control & Safety Systems, Sustainable Energy

Todd Walden

Todd Walden

Public Relations, Advertising & Social Media Consultant

The days of wind energy as a niche market are long behind us. Today, wind power makes up a growing share of the energy marketplace as corporate, government, and societal pressures for reducing carbon emissions continue to increase. However, meeting the needs of the world in today’s economy can be complicated. Personnel shortages leave wind farm operators severely short staffed, and aging equipment makes it difficult to maintain efficiency.

In his recent article in Wind Systems magazine, Thomas Andersen tackles this issue, sharing a two-pronged approach to meeting the modern challenges of wind power generation. The best performing organizations, Thomas explains, are retrofitting legacy turbine controls while simultaneously improving visibility, maintenance, and control with green asset management software.

The benefits of a retrofit

It’s easy to understand how a turbine’s mechanical components would degrade over time due to continuous use and exposure to the elements. However, those same issues also contribute to degradation of the control system in the turbine. Often, repairing those systems isn’t the best option,

“Replacement parts for legacy control systems can be complicated to specify and costly to source, if they are available at all. And even if replacement parts and service knowledge are available, many legacy control systems are incapable of handling the complex logic necessary to perform advanced control techniques and connect to modern automation platforms and smart grid systems. As a result, in some cases helping an old turbine limp along can be even more expensive than simply leaving it dormant.”

Instead of a replacement, Thomas explains, a retrofit is often the best option. In a retrofit, a modern, plug-and-play control system is connected to the legacy connections in the turbine. In fact, Emerson can retrofit nearly any turbine—legacy or brand new—with modern controls that provide access to far more data than OEM systems. When the retrofit is complete, the organization has a new control system with access to improved logic and more turbine operational data. Teams not only have a turbine that works better, but also have access to the operational data that will help them track, trend, and improve performance.

Bringing it all together

More data is great, but only if it is easily accessible. If personnel must travel to many different turbines and learn and navigate a wide variety of OEM control systems, they won’t have time to improve operations to drive peak efficiency. This is why highly effective wind power generators are turning to green asset management software like Emerson’s Ovation Green SCADA. Thomas explains,

“Using these green energy solutions, producers can look at their complete portfolio of power generating assets—regardless of control system— and see how they can most cost-effectively operate, maintain, and control a wide variety of assets from a single pane of glass. Operators no longer need to log into and navigate a wide variety of disparate OEM control systems. Instead, they control everything in the organization through a single SCADA interface.”

When teams can see all their assets from a single pane of glass, they can more easily make important decisions. Rather than spending their time navigating a complex web of disparate systems, they instead focus on tuning and refining control for the most flexible, efficient performance.

The results of this trend have been stunning. Many organizations are insisting on shorter contracts with their OEMs to gain the benefits of retrofits and Ovation Green SCADA as early as possible.

Thomas goes deeper into the benefits of control system retrofits and green asset management in the full article over at Wind Systems. Give it a read to learn more specifics about the ways operators are using modern control to tune their systems for improved performance and more.

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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.

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