Emerson to automate NZ’s first large-scale solar project

Aerial image of a solar PV project set in lush green fields (emerson)
Image: Emerson

Global technology company 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’s renewable power generation expertise will help solar energy company Lodestone Energy quickly and safely complete its two 23MW sites at Kaitaia and Edgecumbe—an important step in supporting New Zealand’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.    

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Emerson’s advanced automation architecture will combine powerful control software and technologies with enterprise data solutions to create an integrated, scalable control solution to maximize 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. Ovation enterprise data solutions will provide secure monitoring of solar PV operations from the control room or mobile devices, measuring, monitoring and reporting key performance indicators to increase visibility of plant operations.

Emerson’s power and water business president Bob Yeager said, “Meeting New Zealand’s renewable energy goals will require power generation companies to rethink the way they operate, democratising data and increasing visibility for everyone across the enterprise.

“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.”

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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. Ovation will act as a process orchestration tool to seamlessly connect these devices to provide fast and intuitive visibility for operators. In addition to providing flexibility and visibility of operations, Emerson’s Ovation platform is ideally suited to support compliance with New Zealand’s energy participation code.

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