Lodestone Energy picks Emerson to automate New Zealand’s solar power project

Mar 15, 2023 by Energy Connects
image is Emerson Lodestone News Release Image

Kaitaia site render, the first large scale Photovoltaic Solar Power Project in New Zealand. PC: Lodestone Energy

Emerson will provide advanced automation solutions to help ensure the safety and reliability of New Zealand’s first large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power project.

Emerson will help solar energy company Lodestone Energy quickly and safely complete its two 23-megawatt sites at Kaitaia and Edgecumbe— an important step in supporting New Zealand’s ambitious goals of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.    

Solar PV – which converts sunlight directly into electrical energy – has become one of the fastest growing renewable energy sources. But efficiently generating and delivering solar PV power requires precise orchestration, integrating a wide variety of third-party systems with automation and control technology to provide operators with intuitive functionality and comprehensive visibility. Emerson said that its advanced automation architecture will combine powerful control software and technologies with enterprise data solutions to create an integrated, scalable control solution to maximise output and profitability while simultaneously contributing to grid stability.

“New Zealand’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 is an ambitious endeavor that will require many renewable power generation sources to be safely and rapidly brought online,” said Peter Apperley, general manager of engineering at Lodestone Energy. “Emerson’s expertise in automation software for power generation and sustainability will help us more quickly build a world-class facility, while also more seamlessly integrating with the national grid to drive successful, efficient operation over the lifecycle of the plant.”

Lodestone will take advantage of Emerson’s Ovation distributed control system and new OCR3000 controller to provide comprehensive control to minimise the impact of variability and intermittency in solar PV power generation. The same technologies will also make it easier for operators to quickly respond to grid frequency events.

"Meeting New Zealand’s renewable energy goals will require power generation companies to rethink the way they operate, democratizing data and increasing visibility for everyone across the enterprise,” said Bob Yeager, president of Emerson’s power and water business. “Lodestone’s strategy perfectly aligns with Emerson’s boundless automation vision of an advanced technology stack leveraging integrated, scalable control to provide access to critical data not only across the plant and industrial edge, but also throughout the enterprise.”

Lodestone’s solar PV project requires multiple interfaces to third-party systems, including inverters, high voltage switchboards, weather stations, site security systems and grid authority remote terminal units. Emerson said that its Ovation will act as a process orchestration tool to seamlessly connect these devices to provide fast and intuitive visibility for operators. I

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