Smart Grid News and Analysis

IoT World Forum 2018
IoT World Forum 2018

Greater cost-effectiveness in the manufacture and operation of wind turbines


At the WindEnergy Hamburg 2014 trade fair, Siemens will be showing wind turbine manufacturers its comprehensive portfolio of software and hardware products for more cost-effective production and more efficient operation of wind turbines. Siemens focus on a seamless interplay and end-to-end integration of components and systems, and can offer, for example, an integrated protection concept made up of many individual components to reduce the turbine’s downtimes and increases its availability. For the manufacture of wind turbines, Siemens already offers platform concepts that use software tools to accelerate the design process and reduce the number of system components. Manufacturers can thus lower their production costs, boost the energy yield of their power plants, and optimize operations.

The comprehensive Siemens portfolio covers the entire lifecycle of a wind turbine, including planning, engineering, production, and operation. It covers everything from automation, visualization, and control technologies to communications, control circuitry and power distribution for low- and medium voltages, as well as pitch and yaw drives plus generator systems for power generation. Various power storage solutions, such as the Siestorage battery storage system, are also part of the portfolio. To stabilize the grid, generated power that cannot flow into the grid can be stored using Siestorage and then fed into the grid when needed. The portfolio also comprises safety technology and fire protection. The offerings are rounded out by comprehensive service concepts that cover the entire lifecycle of a wind turbine. Thanks to the Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) and Totally Integrated Power (TIP) platform concepts, all products and systems work together perfectly, thus increasing system transparency and availability. All components are standardized and communicate seamlessly across all levels, from the individual terminal to the higher-level control room. In this way, every plant section can be seamlessly monitored and optimally controlled.

Customized system control increases efficiency

On the product side, Siemens offers tested and certified standardized components and software tools with TIA. During the manufacturing process, platform concepts provide order, structure, transparency, and clarity while reducing the number of system components, spare parts, and malfunctions that can occur.

An example of this comprehensive wind turbine management is the Simatic Wind Library. It consists of a complete basic operating system for wind energy system automation based on a software library with over 50 functional modules. About 80 percent of a wind turbine’s functions are stored here in a standard language code. These include pitch and yaw control, nacelle control, tower and system functions as well as status monitoring. The engineering software can be adapted to each individual turbine with no additional cost, greatly accelerating the project planning. All relevant communications-capable components are already integrated in the Simatic Wind Library, which reduces programming and commissioning costs, minimizes the risk of errors during commissioning, and lowers the hardware costs.

Another example of cost optimization is the system controller that can be individually adapted to on-site conditions. The more precisely the controller can address actual wind and operating conditions, the more the entire wind turbine design can be optimized. Siemens has now simplified this process by having the Soft-SPS Simatic WinAC RTX communicate directly and in real time with the MATLAB/Simulink created by MathWorks. MathWorks is one of the world’s leading developers and suppliers of technical software for mathematical calculations and model-based development. Using this software, wind turbine manufacturers can enhance their individual programs to operate with maximum efficiency and thus generate the highest possible energy yield, depending on the respective installation location and wind situation. All simulation results and control settings can now be transferred precisely over to the Simatic system controller.

End-to-end protection

As part of TIP, Siemens is introducing perfectly coordinated protection, switching, measurement, and monitoring devices from the Sentron family for safe and efficient distribution of low-voltage electricity in the wind turbine. One example is the open 3WL circuit breaker, which ensures reliable protection in the main power circuit. It protects generators and converters against short circuits and overloads. A particular highlight for feeding in a wind turbine’s secondary circuits is the new 3VA molded case circuit breaker. It reliably protects lines and electrical loads of secondary circuits against electrically caused damage and outages by reliably turns off the power during malfunctions such as short circuits and overloads. With its optimized selectivity characteristics, it ensures that a selective protection response is in place among protection devices and to other ones. The result is increased system availability, since it shuts down only system components that are actually affected by a malfunction.

A reliable connection to the grid

For reliable, efficient feed-in of wind power into the power supply grid, Siemens is exhibiting power distribution and energy automation solutions for wind turbines as well as all the way to the grid connection. Reliable, low-loss power transmission and distribution in the system is made possible by the Sivacon 8PS busbar trunking systems. The 8DJH 36 gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) ensures there is a reliable connection to typical grid configurations. Cables transmit the generated electricity to a transformer station, in which another GIS creates the connection to the high-voltage grid. Additional compensation systems are implemented for larger wind power plants, and they, too, operate in the medium-voltage range and are connected to the wind farm grid via a GIS. Energy automation solutions are based on the Sicam product family. A spectrum of solutions that covers everything from monitoring individual wind turbines to equipping offshore transformer platforms meets operators’ needs when it comes to energy automation. These solutions are built on wide-ranging experience gained from an extensive installed base. An intelligently designed system architecture and the functional integration of energy automation components allow for reliable operations as well as decreased maintenance and upkeep costs. Examples include system monitoring, feed-in management, as well as fault analysis that can be performed in land-based service centers for offshore platforms.