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The international standard ISO 50001:2011 offers companies a flexible framework for the implementation of sustainable energy management. For companies that work with automated production and for equipment manufacturers, the SCADA system used plays an important role from a long-term perspective. Its abilities can reinforce or hinder the sustainable success of energy management.
Supplying an Energy Management System with data: Integrated interaction
Plants generally comprise a heterogeneous mix of controllers, machines and software. A SCADA system that should support ISO 50001 must be able to integrate with as many interfaces as possible, with direct machine connections and other applications, such as ERP software. Only this way can data that is valid and as free of errors as possible be transferred from other systems.
Ideally, the SCADA software will provide support for international standards such as IEC 60870 or 61850 and can therefore communicate using proprietary protocols. SCADA systems that are fixed to a single hardware environment often reach their limits here.
This point of view is important for long-term success most of all. Parts of the equipment that are to be integrated years later must also be able to be integrated into the energy management without problems.
Historical data: An important basis for Energy Management
In order for an energy management system to be implemented successfully on a lasting basis, the energy management team must be able to rely on the quality of the data available. In doing so, it is not just a matter of current data, but most of all historic data.
Current data comes from different systems, often direct from the HMI. Historical data was already archived in the system. However it must remain available in the system for validation, aggregation and and analysis from different perspectives and allow comparisons with current data at any time. This means that data, sometimes very large amounts, must be able to be stored safely – including in external data carriers – and nevertheless be available immediately for analyses.
In addition, there is the ability to prepare information for energy management teams, decision makers and top management in such a way that that data can also be used meaningfully. This means producing reports in a clear and meaningful form and also automatically sending them to the right people and teams.
Reinforce the Energy Management System: Automated action
A future-orientated energy management system must determine not just the rules for electricity acquired, load peaks, consumption and so on, it should also prescribe rules for proactive action. This way, load peaks, for example, can be prevented and thus the expensive exceeding of fixed-cost energy allocations. Anyone who even want to optimize their future energy consumption is in a position to not just set up their energy management perfectly, but also to negotiate cheaper supply contracts. Proactive rules can only be reasonably implemented if the supporting SCADA system can be influenced by the energy management software.
This way, the energy management software can create forecasts for future energy consumption, for example the next 15 minutes, detect load peaks and propose action. Ideally, this would even lead to the necessary activations being carried out immediately and automatically; for example activating generators, disconnecting consuming devices from the main power supply or reducing power consumers. However with systems that act separately, there is a risk of incorrect activation.
In order for proactive action between the energy management system and SCADA to succeed without errors or problems, both should be closely interlinked. Ideally the energy management system is directly integrated into the SCADA software. This provides the advantage of very short distances when obtaining data and retaining data and guarantees, on the other side, fault-free interaction with proactive switching.
Energy Management needs powerful SCADA systems
Lasting energy management needs consistent support from a flexible and integrated SCADA system. The merging of energy management software and SCADA as seamlessly as possible provides energy management teams with the support they need for long-term success.