Hydroelectric

NYPA adding Digital Video Walls to two Power Plants

Two hydropower plants in upstate New York are getting wall-sized video displays in their control rooms as part of the move to become an end-to-end digital utility statewide.

The New York Power Authority is upgrading the control rooms at the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project in Massena and the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project in Schoharie Country. The 81-foot CineMassive video wall systems will allow control room operators to easily view and rapidly assess data on how the plants are running, according to the release.

“Updating and standardizing our control rooms is part of NYPA’s Smart Generation and Transmission initiative,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO, in a statement. “By improving data visibility and control room efficiencies, operators can assess and respond faster, ultimately boosting power reliability for NYPA customers across the state.”

The Blenheim-Gilboa upgrade should be completed later this year and St. Lawrence in 2019, according to the release. NYPA already has installed the CineMassive system at its Integrated Smart Operations Center (iSOC) at the company headquarters in White Plains.

The iSOC was opened in 2017 and touted as the new digital command center. The site oversees operations and outputs from NYPA’s 16 power plants and more than 1,400 miles of transmission lines.

Data is collected at the iSCO from more than 24,000 strategically deployed sensors embedded in equipment and analyzed for signs of normal aging. Data highlights are displayed in real time on an 81-foot video wall, where more than a dozen data screens draw attention to significant deviations. NYPA engineers can then promptly address potential issues with plant operations managers.

Quiniones has often talk of his goal to make NYPA the nation’s first completely digital utility. The transition is crucial, he said, considering the main disruptors hitting the grid: decentralization in the form of distributed renewable energy, electrification of every process in the grid operational chain and, last but not least, digitalization of those tools and processes.

“These three trends are really pushing and accelerating the transformation and disruption of the utility sector,” the NYPA CEO at the time of the iSOC opening. “To become an end-to-end digital utility, every sector of the value chain must be digitalized.”