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SA Instrumentation & Control Buyers' Guide


Wonderware turns wind into megawatts
July 2017, System Integration & Control Systems Design

South Africa’s chronic shortage of electrical energy has prompted the private sector to participate, especially in the areas of solar- and wind-based power generation. With an annualised average wind speed of 18 km/h, Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape is known as South Africa’s windy city. So, when it came to transforming all that energy into megawatts, independent power producer, Cennergi chose the nearby sites of Tsitsikama and Amakhala Emoyeni to contribute 230 mW to the national grid.

Cennergi has plans to contribute in the order of 2000 mW to the national grid by 2020. This is significantly more than two of Medupi power station’s six 800 mW generators, which will be due to come online at about the same time. Efficiency is the key to meeting this goal and Cennergi needed a centralised information system at its Centurion head office that would help the company to optimise generation capacity at its remote sites. Centralised and detailed information regarding the performance of each facility would allow Cennergi’s technical team to evaluate the need for upgrades more effectively, while minimising its presence on site.

Project scope

It was decided that a reporting solution should be implemented to analyse and report on the power collection and generation aspects of both wind farms. This led to the following requirements for each site:

• Real-time data collection facilities that must cope with disparate systems and sources. The wind farms were erected and are managed by different companies with different systems (i.e. Nordex and Vestas).

• Forwarding of data to a central repository at head office securely while catering for a

possible loss of connection.

• Consolidation of all data and maintaining its integrity.

• Data aggregation, calculation and provision for manual data entry.

• Customisable and user-driven real-time textual and graphical reports that are available to all shareholders.

• Delivery of reports to multiple platforms and devices.

• Exchange of data with other applications.

• Provision of notifications on underperforming or failed assets.

Solution selection and implementation

Cennergi selected system integrator, Control Systems Integration (CSI) for the project. CSI, in turn, chose a suite of Wonderware solutions for the implementation.

“Wonderware’s System Platform provides a global solution where functions such as development and the deployment of changes and updates can be managed centrally,” says CSI systems engineer, Jos Peters. “System Platform also allows for the modelling of the entire system within the organisational structure, while at the same time facilitating integration with the various wind farm control systems with the help of Wonderware Device Integration and Top Server from Software Toolbox.”

The loss of data between the remote sites and head office was also a consideration, but the store-forward capability of Wonderware’s Historian ensured data integrity and availability – if a little delayed in the event of connection failure. Win-911’s default System Platform connection ensured that important notifications such as turbine failure would be delivered without delay.

One of the major components of the new system was the inclusion of Flow Software which would allow for the aggregation of data into ‘time buckets’, the validation of manually-entered data and user-defined reports.

“The reports provide all the key information for all 87 turbines and their 14 collectors across both sites,” says Peters. “They are in three categories, namely the production reports which compare actual to projected targets, the performance reports which illustrate the up and down times of all turbines and the wind reports which show wind speed and direction. We provide for tabular and time-series reports as well as the automatic updating of composite dashboards. Lastly, the e-mail functionality of Win-911 is used to notify relevant personnel of problems on any turbine.”


The Wonderware suite of solutions offers the following benefits:

• Ease of data analysis.

• Reporting from a central point.

• Business requirements are met with an out-of-the-box solution that also includes software maintenance and upgrades.

• Configuration over customisation – the client-driven tool eliminates tedious and time-consuming report development.

• The system’s versatility and scalability caters for changes to the company’s business model, expansion to the wind farms as well as the gathering and integration of any additional information.

For more information contact Jaco Markwat, Wonderware Southern Africa, +27 (0)11 607 8100,

Supplied By: Wonderware Southern Africa
Tel: +27 11 607 8100
Fax: +27 11 607 8478
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