From the National Control Center (NCC) in Portland, Avangrid Renewables — the Iberdrola group’s subsidiary in the USA — controls and operates more than 55 wind farms and photovoltaic plants spread across the entire country in real time. Kit Blair, the centre’s director, tells us about the daily operation of the most advanced renewable energy facilities in the nation.
RENEWABLE ENERGY OPERATION CENTER (CORE) OF USA
National Control Center: the most advanced renewable energy control center in the United States
From the National Control Center (NCC) in Portland, Avangrid Renewables — the Iberdrola group's subsidiary in the USA — controls and operates more than 55 wind farms and photovoltaic plants spread across the entire country in real time. Kit Blair, the centre's director, tells us about the daily operation of the most advanced renewable energy facilities in the nation.
The National Control Center in Portland was opened in September 2010 to optimise the control and financial performance of Iberdrola's wind farms in the United States. The purpose of this meticulous control of the wind energy generated by the company is to improve the way the energy supplied is managed and to provide greater stability to the country's electricity network.
The centre not only monitors and operates the renewable energy production facilities centrally and remotely 24 hours a day 365 days a year, but also stores the data it receives from the plants for subsequent analysis. It does this via Iberdrola's CORE platform, which connects it to all of the group's renewable energy operation centres and allows it to receive information from all of the facilities of this type run by the company worldwide.
When it was commissioned, the NCC managed 41 wind farms, generating a combined power of 3,900 MW. Today, following the incorporation of the photovoltaic plants, the centre oversees the operation of more than 55 facilities, supervising over 1,500,000 data items in real time and managing almost 7 GW of renewable energy active power.
HOW DOES THE NCC WORK?
The NCC controls and operates the facilities in the following way:
Information on the facilities
Every wind farm and photovoltaic plant is equipped with a local control and information system that records the performance of the machines and the electricity substation. This system is connected remotely to the operation centre.
Analysis of the information
The CORE platform receives the information from the generating plants. This is then presented to the operators in an organised and simplified format, enabling them to swiftly detect and analyse any breakdowns or stoppages, and to undertake a remote analysis.
The operators — highly qualified in fields such as renewable energies, IT and telecommunications — take the appropriate decisions for solving the problem, be it from the NCC itself or via local operational or maintenance agents with whom Avangrid Renewables has an agreement in every plant. This helps limit breakdown stoppage times and increases the availability of each facility.
Surveillance of the facilities
The NCC also supervises the security of the facilities through a video surveillance system installed in the plants.
The CORE platform deployed in Portland meets the security and reliability standards required in the United States. Its design and development was inspired by Iberdrola's CORE in Toledo (Spain), which has been operational since 2003 and is the first of its kind anywhere in the world.