Power Gen 2006: Electric utilities go digital in new construction


Pittsburgh, PA and Orlando, FL —Growing popularity of digital plant architecture is reflected in contracts announced by Emerson Process Management last week for seven such systems slated for installation at new U.S. coal-fired power plants. The information was released at Power Gen 2006 held Nov. 28-30, 2006, in Orlando. The show and conference cover trends and technologies impacting power generation, including operation, maintenance, construction, upgrading, and design of natural gas and coal plants, and renewable energy alternatives.

The plants, all expected to go into commercial operation within five years, represent an additional 5,505 MW of new generating capacity that will help U.S. utilities satisfy growing electricity demand. The new units will include Emerson's PlantWeb digital plant architecture with the Ovation expert control system. Emerson also said it anticipates receiving additional new plant awards before the end of the year.

PlantWeb incorporates high-speed communication networks, intelligent field devices, asset management software, and bus I/O technologies to control critical plant processes, increase plant efficiencies and megawatt production, and achieve long-term operation and maintenance savings. The Ovation system is designed especially for power generation applications. It is said to incorporate embedded advanced control algorithms; a mission critical, Fast Ethernet network (100 Mb/s) for high-speed communication of plant information; a controller with reportedly the fastest duty cycle available; and a line of analog, digital, and special-purpose turbine and boiler I/O modules.

According to Emerson, the system helps new plants lower wiring costs and streamline device installation, communications verification, and troubleshooting, thereby reducing startup and commissioning costs. Said Bob Yeager, president of Emerson's Power & Water Solutions Div., 'Laying the right foundation is crucial for utilities navigating this ever-changing landscape. More and more, we are working upfront in a collaborative environment with utilities and their architect-engineering firms as they move toward implementing a flexible, long-term automation strategy that offers operational and economic advantages while helping meet the country's growing demand for efficient, reliable, and affordable electricity well into the future.'

Watch for details about one of these new installations, the Plum Point Energy Station, in tomorrow's Process and Advanced Control Monthly e-newsletter. If you do not receive that e-newsletter and would like to, click newsletters atop www.controleng.com and modify your profile and selection of newsletters appropriately. That newsletter also is archived at www.controleng.com/process , right column.

—Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jeanine Katzel , senior editor

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