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Siemens Smart Infrastructure is supplying RWE with its new Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system (SCADA) to manage renewables assets in Europe.

The new SCADA system, Optime, will be used in the RWE Supply & Trading Dispatch Centre in Essen, Germany, to optimise monitoring of wind and solar energy farms.

RWE had two separate systems to monitor renewable assets in Germany, in the Netherlands, and Belgium. The two systems will be integrated into a single platform using the new SCADA.

Optime can also be used to integrate distributed energy resources such as battery storage and diesel-powered backup generators.

The development is part of efforts by RWE to invest in new technologies and business models that would accelerate and simplify the energy transition.

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The new SCADA consist of a wall of monitors several metres high and wide showing in real time which RWE power stations are feeding power into the grid, the feed-in levels, and which plants are being ramped up or down.

The new system will enable RWE to create a new virtual power plant and allow the utility to control its distributed assets in real time.

The RWE control team keeps constant watch over developments as they unfold because power supply and demand can deviate from projections, for example in the event of unusual weather conditions or major events. In such cases, the engineers working in the Dispatch Centre must respond quickly.

Up to 500 optimisation runs are performed every day using the power plant dispatch optimisation programme developed specifically for this purpose by experts at RWE. This program determines the most economical use of all power plant units and machines and uses that data to create current target schedules. These are then transmitted via Optime as a target figure to the corresponding unit or machine control system of each power plant location.

Guido Hommelsheim, Head of Dispatch at RWE Supply & Trading, is pleased: “Optime gives us automatic control in real time as well as improved control performance. In addition, it allows us to better coordinate our portfolio, which consists of renewable energy plants, the existing flexibilities of our industrial customers, and conventional power stations. In view of the expansion of renewable energy, this is becoming increasingly important.”

Sabine Erlinghagen, CEO of Siemens Digital Grid, says: “The success of this project hinged on the close cooperation between RWE and Siemens. The new control technology for Europe’s largest trading floor enables Siemens to combine state-of-the-art control software and SCADA tools on a single platform. This helps RWE to better coordinate generation capacities in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. At the same time, high-quality, virtually disruption-free system services can be provided. In the future, it will be possible to optimise the integration of fluctuating levels of renewables-based energy. This holistic approach to power plant management will make a contribution to accelerating the energy transition in Europe and the world.”