Emerson’s Ovation Technology Optimizes Solar Operation in California

The Ovation system will play a key supervisory role in controlling the output of Catalina Solar and Pacific Wind renewable energy projects as directed by the regional ISO.

Emerson Process Management has been selected to apply its Ovation control and SCADA technology for the Catalina Solar and Pacific Wind renewable energy projects. The contract was awarded by global engineering, project management and construction company Bechtel.

The 110 megawatt (MW) Catalina Solar Project, located in Kern County, Calif., is the largest utility-scale solar project developed by EDF Renewable Energy, the U.S. unit of French energy company EDF Energies Nouvelles. The solar photovoltaic plant is located near the company’s 140 MW Pacific Wind project, which was commissioned in September of this year.

The first 50 MW of the solar plant are scheduled to be operational by the end of 2012, with the remaining 60 MW to go online by mid-2013. Both installations will share a transmission tie line to the new Whirlwind substation, built as part of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project that interconnects renewable wind energy to the existing electric system to help meet the goals of California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard.

Emerson’s Ovation technology will directly control real and reactive power at the solar plant, where it will contribute to grid stability by controlling inverters that convert DC power from solar arrays into AC power for the electric grid. Ovation will also control the plant’s interconnection breakers and interface to meteorological instruments and other vital equipment.

The Ovation system will take a supervisory role in controlling (reducing and/or increasing) the output of the plant as directed by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO). It will interface and transmit plant data to CAISO through a Remote Intelligent Gateway.

Economic optimization technology embedded in the Ovation system will help ensure EDF Renewable Energy dispatches the solar plant in the most efficient and economical manner possible, in accordance with the provisions of its Power Purchase Agreements with San Diego Gas & Electric.

For example, if CAISO needs to curtail the output of the renewable energy resource in order to maintain grid stability, the Ovation system will calculate the most economical way to adjust each plant’s output to achieve the new megawatt target. This capability requires a sophisticated control strategy and single control architecture, something Emerson was able to provide through its Ovation system.

“Emerson has a wealth of utility scale experience monitoring and controlling renewable facilities,” said Bob Yeager, president of Emerson Process Management’s Power & Water Solutions. “Now, we are proud to count EDF Renewable Energy among the companies relying on Ovation technology for their expanding renewable energy portfolios.”

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