When Genesis Energy needed to replace the control system of a hydro electric power network covering five power stations in remote locations around New Zealand’s North Island, ABB delivered an advanced 800xA control system including multisystem integration to take this crucial electricity generator into the future.
Large energy retailer with five isolated hydro power stations
Genesis Energy owns and operates 1,996 MW of electricity generation. They are New Zealand’s largest energy retailer, supplying 19 percent of the nation’s electricity.
A key part of their overall generation capacity is supplied by their renewable energy group consisting of Tongariro and Waikaremoana hydro electric power schemes. These two schemes consist of a total of five power stations – two in the Tongariro scheme and three in the Waikaremoana scheme – with a total capacity of just over 500 MW.
To add to the challenges that this upgrade presented, the upgrade work and system implementation would have to carried out over a wide geographical area. The Tongariro and Waikaremoana schemes are situated approximately 330 km apart. Within each scheme, the power plants are positioned in isolated and sometimes difficult locations.
In the Tongariro scheme, the Tokaanu Power Station, with its four 60 MW turbines, is located on the slopes of Mount Tihia, near Turangi, in the central North Island. The Rangipo Power Station, with two 60 MW turbines, is situated underground in the Kaimanawa Forest Park. Meanwhile, the Waikaremoana scheme is located between one of New Zealand’s most inaccessible areas, Te Urewera National Park, and Wairoa.
The three stations in this scheme, the Tuai Power Station (three 20 MW turbines), the Kaitawa Power Station (two 21 MW turbines) and the Piripaua Station (two 22 MW turbines), are located along the Waikaretaheke River.
Perfect results testing low bandwidth modem with 800xA
ABB were responsible for upgrade project that lasted three years and comprised system design, electrical design, panel build, installation and commissioning.
Prior to the commencement of the project, Genesis Energy were invited to visit the ABB research centre in Västerås, Sweden, to see ABB’s feeder factory and the facilities there. Genesis brought with them a very low bandwidth modem that they were planning to utilise in the control system upgrade. The technicians at the research centre tested the modem with the 800xA system, achieving perfect results. During the visit, the client also saw the ergonomically-designed EOW control console for the first time, and the advantages of the unit quickly became clear.