By: Juan Gamarra and Mike Bernard, Specific Energy
Water utilities in Texas went to war with mother nature to keep pumps running through blackouts to maintain water to customers in January 2021.
Peak energy demand outstripped supply as power generation was crippled by record low temperatures, resulting in state-wide rolling blackouts for days. Water/wastewater personnel used real-time performance dashboards to effectively monitor and operate pumping systems under highly abnormal operating conditions.
A digital twin, such as Specific Energy’s Dynamic Pump Optimizer (DPO), allowed for informed, quick, and creative solutions. Due to the digital twin’s ability to handle What-If scenarios and provide real-time insights via cellular SCADA, the DPO proved invaluable under extreme Texas utility conditions during the deep freeze.
This presentation will illustrate how utilities in Texas used digital twin technology to navigate extreme weather events successfully. Utilities with DPO systems operate pump stations to minimize energy usage and maintain pumps within the preferred operating range (POR), optimizing pump lifespan. DPO enables utilities to tackle challenges like hydraulic transient control and to predict suction-side plugging using edge analytics coupled with dashboards and text message alerts.
Utilities make informed decisions to repair or replace pumps when (NPV) becomes positive, based on calculated pump health, which considers wasted energy due to degradation. By incorporating edge analytics, end-users can leverage instantaneous data processing to make informed decisions saving time, energy, and money. By eliminating the steps of manually gathering data and post-processing, Specific Energy’s DPO serves up real-time performance dashboards and alerts operations via text message.
DPO reads data directly from the PLC, performs analytics at the edge, and maintains a constant cellular data connection to the cloud server proving a reliable remote monitoring and control solution. Reliability and flexibility are paramount during times of crisis.
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