The past ten years has seen a massive step change in the renewable energy sector. It is becoming one of the most innovative industries, continually evolving to deliver greater value to wind farm owners and to provide a future-proof solution for our global energy demands.
With the demise of subsidy driven economics, the industry has focussed on becoming much more pro-active. Performance optimisation, continual data analysis and cost competitiveness are all essential in the effective management of renewable energy assets, and, at Natural Power, our cutting edge methods have been developed to ensure we match what the industry needs to keep pace.
Early last year, we decided to take our ‘ControlCentre’ to the next level. To ensure we were positioned at the forefront of asset management, real time data provision and security requirements, this investment is designed to deliver the next decade of services to a market where our clients demand more flexibility; where interaction between generators, system and network operators becomes more sophisticated; and where intelligent management of assets brings higher returns.
Located at our global headquarters in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland, we embarked on a market leading programme that included the design and build of a new control services facility incorporating a decade of experience in its design.
The new £540,000 state-of-the-art facility that has been created is the largest, independently operated 24/7 control room in the UK, managing more than 175 renewable energy assets which are located throughout the UK, Ireland, France and the US. The ControlCentre now employs 19 staff and manages 5 GW of renewable energy capacity comprising onshore and offshore wind, biomass, solar and hydro. This investment ensures the ControlCentre complies with all the new EU cybersecurity rules to protect clients’ assets and the grid, keeping them safe against potential cyber-attacks, as well as exploring new ways of increasing revenue for our clients.
So how does it work? Site data arrives at ControlCentre and is analysed by our state of the art software, utilising machine learning techniques, to ensure the turbines are operating at peak performance. Whilst automation plays an important role in modern asset management and the software required to deliver cutting edge services is continually improved, another more human factor, plays a vital role. An ergonomic environment, improved sound, lighting and room layout mean that the operational controllers are comfortable and safe to support our clients at any time of the day or night, whether that is site access, grid curtailment, emergency response, turbine control or any number of other services.