Connecting up the farms

Emerson Process Management has been awarded a contract by npower renewables to provide a data gathering system to connect nineteen wind farms to their corporate HQ.


Emerson Process Management has been awarded a contract by npower renewables, a UK’s renewable energy company, to provide a wide-area data gathering system to connect nineteen active wind farms to their corporate headquarters, operations centre, and regional centres – all in various locations within the UK.


The wide-area data gathering solution will use Emerson’s Bristol OpenEnterprise software to provide operator access to real-time operational data and historical information for all of the turbines throughout the network. The npower operations personnel and asset management and corporate users will all be connected through this wide area network.


The system will also provide cost savings by replacing labour-intensive site visits, since it will include the ability to remotely start/stop and reset turbines, as well as remote security features such as security cameras and access monitoring.


Preserving npower renewables’ investment in existing assets, OpenEnterprise uses open-architecture technologies to communicate with multiple brands of controllers and remote systems.


The wide area network (WAN), which links the wind farms to the operational and corporate data centres, will use a combination of technologies that range from 64K ISDN to 2MB ADSL communication networks.


Redundant servers will be installed at the npower IT centre at Kingswinford. This data centre will provide real time and historical data to the corporate headquarters at Swindon, the operations centre at Dolgarrog, and regional centres in Wales and Scotland.


Using a variety of open communications, web servers, and technologies including ActiveX, JDBC, OLEDB, .Net, ODBC, OPC, OPC XML, and SQL, corporate users will be kept fully appraised of operations.


Installation and commissioning will be completed August 2008.