Cennergi turns wind into megawatts with help from Wonderware

POWER & GAS UTILITIES

Goals

  • Centralised but remote view into wind farms’ performance
  • User-driven and derived reports for a wide audience
  • Exchange of data with other applications
  • Ability to deliver reports to multiple devices
  • Provide notifications on underperforming or failed assets

Challenges

  • Coping with different systems and disparate sources of data
  • Ensuring the integrity of data links between the wind farms and head office

Results

  • Ease of data analyses
  • Reporting from a central point
  • “Out-of-the-box” solution ensures software longevity
  • Mayor benefit of configuration over customisation
  • System versatility and scalability will cope with future demands

“This new Production Information Management System gives us the insight and control we need to optimise production efficiency in real time from a central location where engineering expertise is available to deal with issues.”

Casper du Plessis – Electrical, Instrumentation and Automation Engineer, Cennergi

Centurion, Gauteng, South Africa

With an annualised average wind speed of 18 km/h, it’s no wonder that Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape is known as South Africa’s windy city. So, when it comes to transforming all that energy into megawatts, Cennergi chose the nearby sites of Tsitsikama and Amakhala Emoyeni to contribute 230 MW to the national grid.

South Africa’s chronic shortage of electrical energy has prompted the private sector to join this industry, especially in the areas of solar- and wind-based power generation.

Cennergi has plans to contribute in the order of 2000 MW to the national grid by 2020. This is significantly more than two of Medupi power station’s six 800MW generators which will be due to come on line at about the same time. Efficiency is the key to meeting this goal and so the company decided that they needed a centralised information system at their Centurion head office, between Johannesburg and Pretoria that would help them optimise generation capacity at their remote sites. Centralised and detailed information regarding the performance of each facility would allow Cennergi’s technical team to better evaluate the need for upgrades while minimising their presence on site.

Project scope

It was decided that a reporting solution should be implemented to analyse and report on the power collection and generation aspects of both wind farms. This led the following requirements for each site:

  • Real-time data collection facilities that must cope with disparate systems and sources. It should be noted that the wind farms were erected and are managed by different companies with different systems (i.e. Nordex and Vestas).
  • Forwarding of data to a central repository at head office securely while catering for a possible loss of connection.
  • Consolidate all data and maintain its integrity.
  • Data aggregation, calculation and provision for manual data entry must be provided.
  • Make provision for customisable and user-driven real-time textual and graphical reports that would be available to all shareholders.
  • Deliver reports to multiple platforms and devices.
  • The solution must be able to exchange data with other applications.
  • Provide notifications on underperforming or failed assets

Solution selection and implementation

Cennergi selected system integrator Control Systems Integration (CSI) for the project who, in turn, chose a suite of Wonderware solutions for the implementation.

“Wonderware’s System Platform provides a global solution where everything such as development and the deployment of changes and updates can be managed centrally,” says Jos Peters, Systems Engineer, CSI. “System Platform also allows for the modelling of the entire system within the organisational structure while at the same time facilitating integration with the various wind farm control systems with the help of Wonderware Device Integration and Top Server from Software Toolbox.”

The loss of data between the remote sites and head office was always going to be a consideration but the store-forward capability of Wonderware’s Historian ensured data integrity and availability – if a little delayed in the event of connection failure. Win-911’s default System Platform connection would ensure that important notifications such as turbine failure would be delivered without delay.

One of the major components of the new system was the inclusion of Flow Software which would allow for the aggregation of data into “time buckets”, the validation of manually-entered data and user-defined reports.

“The reports provide all the key information for all 87 turbines and their 14 collectors across both sites,” says Peters. “The reports are in three categories namely the production reports which compare actual to projected targets, the performance reports which illustrate the up and down times of all turbines and the wind reports which show wind speed and direction. We provide for tabular and time-series reports as well as the automatic updating of composite dashboards. Lastly, the e-mail functionality of Win-911 is used to notify relevant personnel of problems on any turbine.”

About Cennergi

Cennergi (Pty) Ltd is a Southern African-based diversified Independent Power Producer. The company’s shareholders are Exxaro Resources Ltd and The Tata Power Company Ltd, who are using Cennergi to combine local experience with international power project experience.

Cennergi’s vision is to become a diversified, profitable African energy business that owns and operates a balanced portfolio of energy assets throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, across the energy value chain thereby delivering reliable, affordable energy to its customers and acceptable returns to its shareholders.

The company is committed to generating cleaner energy through a mixed portfolio of generation assets including wind, solar, hydro, gas and coal.

One of Cennergi’s goals is to achieve an emissions factor of between 0.5 and 0.7 tons of CO2 per MWh – lower than the carbon footprint of the region.