CT’s Remote Control and SCADA Testing Lab in Madrid supports more than 400 renewable energy facilities in Europe and the United States

“The Remote Control and SCADA Testing Lab located in Madrid is a vital asset for clients like Iberdrola and Gamesa”. An interview with Francisco Javier González, Head of SCADA Area

Insights

21 Feb 2023

The Remote Control and SCADA Department opened its Testing Lab at CT’s headquarters in Madrid back in 2019. The Lab’s goal is to replicate the Renewable Energies Operations Centre (CORE, in Spanish) of Iberdrola in isolation for when we develop and implement projects for them, including wind farms, substations, and solar plants. More than 400 renewable energy facilities across Spain are operated, monitored, and serviced from the Operations Center.

Over time our testing facilities have also been utilized by other clients, like GAMESA—for which we do substation integration work—, as well as by the remaining part of Iberdrola’s CORE in the United Kingdom (Glasgow), the United States (Portland), and Brazil (Rio de Janeiro).

Iberdrola also carried out interoperability tests for the new data acquisition equipment that various manufacturers intended to integrate into the Substations, since the right environment was available.

•         What is the purpose of having a lab such as this?

First of all, having our own Remote Control Lab allows us to work in an environment that is as closely comparable as possible to how projects will be developed in the field. In this case, it is about knowing how data will be transmitted between the turbines of a wind farm and the control centre. The Lab also allows us to test new substation equipment before installation takes place, which is something our clients increasingly demand.

•         What kind of tasks do you undertake in the lab?

We currently undertake three types of tasks: functionality tests for Hydraulic Generation with three teams composed of two people each; development of new farms for Iberdrola; and configuration of servers for Iberdrola Renovables. We are the main developers of PCVUE for both Iberdrola and Gamesa. This SCADA solution is available at their control centres and makes it possible to manage hundreds of generation facilities at the same time. We also use the tools supported by that system (SQL, OPC Servers, IEC101 and IEC104 communication simulators) in Windows.

•         For what projects or what type of projects?

Our ongoing projects include:

IBERDROLA

Wind farms in Greece and Poland: Development and installation of the SCADA System for three new wind farms: Mikronoros, Askio, and Korytnica (Poland)

Port Augusta: Development of a hybrid regulator for the integration of a photovoltaic plant and a wind farm in Australia

Támega Project: Development and installation of the SCADA System for the Alto Támega and Gouvaes stations. These two stations, together with Daevoes, make up the 3-station Támega project (1158 MW installed and 1760 MWh).

Saint Brieuc offshore wind farm: Development and installation of the SCADA System for this farm located 16 km off the French coast. It has 62 wind turbines and an installed capacity of 500 MW, in addition to a substation and ancillary services.

CORE: Provision of support for the integration of new facilities into the Operations Centre (Substations, solar and wind farms), and SCADA development at the new farms, around 20-24 per year

Hydropower: Functionality tests for new Hydropower dispatch (COHI) at the 4 basins covered: Douro, Tagus, Sil, and Mediterranean

Integration testing for data acquisition systems (Ingeteam, ZIV…) for Substations/Wind/Solar Farms

ISOTROL

Development and commissioning of SCADA systems in more than a dozen photovoltaic plants with a generation capacity of 1.6 GW

Projects we have completed:

GAMESA

Integration of Substations in the Sarriguren control centre

COMBINED CYCLES

Bizkaia Energía: Provision of support and maintenance for the power regulation system of the Amorebieta plant

ENGIE: Provision of support and maintenance for the power regulation system of the Cartagena plant

•         What is the added value of having a Remote Control-SCADA Lab for your clients?

Not all companies have a specific testing environment, but this is vital for clients like Iberdrola or Gamesa when they are trying to decide whether or not to integrate an element into the Production environment. Making sure that the gate controls of a dam work as they should, that a farm is able to halt operations as soon as Red Eléctrica (REE) so demands, or that a generator produces as many megawatts as REE indicates to avoid overload is key. That is why having this type of environments adds great value to the Department, and also serves as a test bed and learning tool for all.

•         How does remote operation make customer processes more efficient and sustainable?

Having a monitoring and remote control system in place helps visualize variables and energy indicators in real time at power facilities, immediately detecting incidents and making their resolution more efficient. For instance, wind farms tend to be located in inaccessible areas, where it is quite impossible to conduct operations on site 24/7/365; or more specifically, offshore wind farms, whose generation capacity is larger, but which are located at ever greater distances from the shore.

Remote operations allow us to help our clients reach their goals in terms of sustainability. For instance, we are helping DATA4 improve energy efficiency at their data center in Madrid by providing maintenance to their Building Monitoring System (BMS). More and more companies are implementing monitoring and remote control systems, and this is something we are pursuing at our own offices, both in Spain and the rest of the countries where we operate.  

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