Advanced Alarm Notification Improves Hydro Operations

Building on 100 years of experience as an owner and operator, Brookfield Renewable Energy is a leading global developer and producer of clean and environmentally-preferred energy from primarily waterpower.  Brookfield's Canadian Operations include Sault Hydro Operations on the Montreal River and the St. Mary's River in northwest Ontario, encompassing 11 generating units at five separate generating stations producing 203 MW and embracing a watershed of 2900 km².  

Brookfield Renewable Energy's Hydro OperationsThe five generating stations that make up Sault Hydro Operations are supported by Brookfield's Canadian System Control Centre in Gatineau, Quebec.  In the event of an alarm condition, the Control Center notifies Sault Hydro Operations, which then takes corrective action or dispatches technicians to an affected site.

Taking Preventative Measures

Previously, Sault Hydro Operations had experienced a number of challenges in waiting until an alarm condition was reported prior to mobilizing a response, not the least of which was the possibility of power generation being tripped off for a period of time.  As a result, Sault Hydro Operations implemented an advanced warning system to provide notification of potential alarm conditions, installing Exele Information Systems' TopView Alarm Notification software to monitor values in the data historian.  TopView enables the operations group to set values for pre-alarm conditions which then sends email notifications to the appropriate personnel on specifics about a pending issue.

Maintenance

Sault Hydro Operations encompasses a vast geographic area, and technician travel times to sites can be long. Early indications of a potential issue can mean the difference between preventing a problem and reacting to one.  The TopView system monitors every aspect of the generation process ranging from the temperature of a generator's stator and bearings to whether oil filters need to be replaced. 

"TopView provides information that helps us make decision based on the alarm type and values," says Thomas Corbett, Electronic Technologist with Sault Hydro Operations.  "This gives us the option to respond immediately or to wait to address the cause during the next scheduled maintenance.  This has resulted in a better use of personnel, reduced downtime and fewer callouts for maintenance." 

TopView allows users to send emails to the entire maintenance team, and whoever is on the schedule for that time period will respond and acknowledge the alarm message.  

Water Resource Management

Brookfield Renewable Energy manages the natural resources entrusted to its operations in ways to ensure sustainable development.  As a result, the company takes great care to meet water resource management guidelines that dictate required reservoir elevations and acceptable flow rates.  "Our alarm notification preset levels provide us with a response buffer so that we keep within regulation guidelines," says Gilles Labelle, Water Resource Manager with Sault Hydro Operations. 

Summary

Having the tools to successfully address conditions early by notifying the appropriate personnel and empowering them to respond accordingly can save a tremendous amount of time and money, and ensure undisrupted power generation.  Brookfield Renewable Energy has implemented EXELE TopView, a comprehensive monitoring and notification system. TopView provides advanced warnings of potential issues resulting in more efficient and reliable production of renewable energy.

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