Digitally transformed power generation: Smarter power plants for a more sustainable future
Written by Douglas Nunez, Sr. Infrastructure and Utilities Marketing Manager, AVEVA
Today, the power generation industry finds itself navigating multiple ongoing, transformational changes. Not surprisingly, the most pressing of these changes is the increasingly urgent need to shift away from traditional, fossil fuel-powered plants toward more sustainable energy sources.
Accelerating the net-zero future would be challenging enough on its own, but, at the same time, power generation companies around the world must also contend with rising capital budget constraints as well as the need to train a new generation of employees to avoid labor disruptions. To raise the stakes even higher, power producers must manage these challenges all while maximizing the output of their fleets to keep up with growing demands for electrification.
The good news, for all of us, is that these mounting pressures are inspiring innovation throughout the industry. Leading companies are turning to new digital technologies, working together in collaborative cloud environments, to pioneer more agile, resilient, and sustainable power generation. To overcome the industry’s biggest obstacles, power producers are adopting new digital solutions to address five key strategic objectives:
Build an industrial information infrastructure
Foster a data-driven decision-making culture by integrating and contextualizing all sources of engineering and operations data into a single platform that improves data security, availability, and accessibility.
Reduce the emissions of existing fossil fuel-powered plants
To extract the maximum value from their existing fleets, power producers are increasingly adopting AI-enriched analytics, process optimization solutions, and other digital technologies, which empower them to improve process efficiency without the need to extensively replace hardware or software. When you can do more with less, you increase your profit margin and decrease your carbon footprint at the same time.
Improve the efficiency of capital expenditures
With advanced engineering and simulation tools, engineers can collaborate on design at the same time, which promotes efficiency, reduces engineering errors, and shortens engineering cycles so that power producers can complete new capital projects faster and with fewer risks and budget overruns.
Build agility and resilience
Asset management and process control solutions are helping power producers create more proactive maintenance practices to achieve the resilience and agility they need to mitigate disruptions of service and supply.
Upskill, reskill, and empower workers
Whether the trigger is an aging workforce or turnover in a competitive labor market, reducing new operators’ time-to-competency has become a major factor in sustaining productivity. Comprehensive training is key to workforce empowerment, retention, and to achieving a continuous improvement process. AVEVA™ Dynamic Simulation for the power industry creates flexible, dynamic simulation models that can be used for engineering validation, control system checkout, and operator training.