Networking Wind

Case Study
As the demand for new energy resources in North America increases, Wind Turbine production is at full scale. Each Wind Turbine is an expensive complex machine, robotic in nature, that either mechanically, or by means of a feedback control system, is designed to harvest as much energy from the wind as possible, reliably report its energy production and protect itself from erratic weather conditions.

A large amount of sensor and metered data is transmitted off each turbine, via the SCADA System to the Operation and Maintenance Centers where it is collected to fill a variety of reports and event logs. In a major effort to compete with conventional generation resources, an enormous R & D effort has gone into increasing plant efficiencies, which has led to implementing feedback control, between distribution and generation points, thus adding even more information flow to the equation and with a deterministic requirement. Loss of this data in either direction can result in a loss of energy production or incomplete reporting, ultimately reducing revenue.

The challenge here is to provide the uninterrupted near deterministic flow of large amounts of data between Turbines, Substations and Operation and Maintenance Centers. A network composed of the right kind of Managed Industrial Ethernet switches, featuring robust redundancy protocol, configured into the right physical geometry can do the job and be endlessly expandable as long as it is correctly applied.

Hirschmann Industrial Ethernet switches fulfill the redundancy requirement and are rich with features necessary to maximize the efficiency of the SCADA system. The redundancy methods Hirschmann has employed, HIPER Ring and Redundant Ring Coupling allow a 100MB or Gigabit Parent Ring, whose switches are located at substation or O & M facilities, which can redundantly couple to Sibling Rings composed of Turbine Strings.

A single pair of Hirschmann’s new MS4128-5 Gigabit switches can necessitate a Gigabit HIPER Ring between them and also provide redundant connections to 20 or more 100MB Sibling Turbine Rings. Each of the Rings whether Parent or Sibling can have up to 50 switches each.

Therefore you can build a very large network, supporting hundreds of Turbines. Hirschmann’s modular switches allow switch configurations of RJ45, Single and Multi-Mode Fiber Ports. This flexibility will save thousands of dollars in equipment costs; whereas Turbine Strings can be coupled by the less expensive Multi-mode Fiber and home runs over 5000 meters back to the O & M centers can be Single-Mode. An example of this architecture is shown in Figure 1.