Optimize Fleet and Grid Assets with Digital Transformation & Asset Performance Management

Posted: October 19, 2018

Power and Utilities

Optimize Fleet and Grid Assets with Digital Transformation & Asset Performance Management

Power_Campaign_Hero_2000x712_TransmissionLinesFluctuating market demands are facilitating the adoption of innovative technology that results in the digital transformation of current business models and operations. Green energy production, shifting regulatory requirements, and aging infrastructure require new tool sets to enable power industry stakeholders to maximize return on capital and improve profitability.

And yet as critical as the electrical grid and all its supporting assets and operations are, it’s an increasingly complex system under constant threat from cyberattack and equipment failures in need of improved resiliency. One solution that can help prevent equipment failure is a well-designed asset performance management strategy that leverages tools like predictive asset analytics to catch equipment failure before it occurs and digital workforce enablement to augment traditional operations with enhanced situational awareness as well as real time access to grid and asset health information.

New Challenges of a Changing Landscape

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In the power generation market, increasing demand for environmental sustainability and lowered greenhouse gas emissions has resulted in a positive shift toward green energy production and supporting infrastructure. However varying power output levels of green energy sources such as wind turbines and solar panels results in increased complexity for central station control power grids as they attempt to adjust power generators to meet the load (demand) of electricity on the grid. Staying on top of maintenance activities to ensure generation assets are in top operating condition is critical to maintaining the health of a power generation fleet.

The distributed nature of these green energy sources adds to the cost and complexity of asset management and maintenance. While at the same time smart utilities must navigate new and changing regulatory requirements and effectively manage geographically dispersed remote assets. Digital transformation in power generation helps utilities drive cost out of their operations and lower total cost of ownership of assets. While at the same time providing solutions that can help companies stay on top of regulatory and safety compliance. Asset Performance Management technologies like mobile operator rounds enable smart utilities to improve operator safety and increase plant performance.

Grid Modernization

Much of the power generation assets we rely on today have been in use for decades. Often only brought to public awareness during large scale failures such as rolling blackouts, traditional grid transmission operations are under pressure from distributed generation models. Many power transmission and distribution companies have aging infrastructure and assets (lines, transformers, motors, etc.) in need of major and expensive upgrades. While demand for the grid is decreasing in some areas, in others the grid is struggling to keep up with peak demand as city populations continue to grow. With insufficient transmission capacity to accommodate peak loads, massive spikes in demand lead to unpredictable grid asset failures. As part of an overall asset performance management or APM strategy, one solution that can help prevent these asset failures is predictive asset analytics for grid assets. Predictive asset analytics can identify and alert operators of anomalous behavior in assets days, weeks and even months before asset failure.

Further complicating grid transmission management is the old age of the operations technology (OT) equipment used to manage grid transmission. Most OT equipment used in the management of grid transmission operations such as PLCs, IEDs and RTUs was designed and deployed decades before digital technology such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) , cloud computing and advanced data analytics were developed. 

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This leads to a communication disconnect between legacy transmission and distribution assets and modern information and operations technology tools such as predictive analytics, centralized data warehousing (historians) and cybersecurity standardization at the substation level.

Digital transformation and the convergence of operations technology and information technology is the key for power industry stakeholders to maximize revenue, reduce operating costs, and successfully transition to a modern grid architecture capable of managing different energy sources in real time while meeting peak customer demand.

Learn more about Asset Performance Management and Digital Transformation in the power industry in the upcoming webinar How AVEVA Enables Digital Transformation in the Power Industry. In this webinar, we discuss digital transformation in the power industry from conceptual design to commissioning, and from operations & maintenance, to optimization.

author
Written By
Matt Newton | Senior Portfolio Marketing Manager

Matt is a Senior Portfolio Marketing Manager at AVEVA. With over 15 years of experience in the technology sector as an applications and systems engineer, Matt has extensive experience in supporting embedded platforms, automation systems, wired and wireless networking, network security technologies, and the Industrial Internet of Things.

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