Genesis Energy’s Huntly Power Station uses water from the Waikato River to cool four of its thermal units. The temperature of the river below the discharge point is closely monitored to ensure it remains within the limits of Genesis Energy’s resource consents.
The river temperature is influenced by a number of factors, including the river flow, humidity, ambient temperature, wind direction, cloud cover and the temperature and volume of water being discharged from the power station.
River Watch collects near real-time data from the Waikato River, Genesis Energy’s plant systems and external data providers such as MetService.
This data is then modelled against historical environmental and generation data to create a range of predicted generating capacity scenarios. These scenarios are then used by the Genesis Energy Trading team to assess the amount of available generation capacity that can be offered into the market under current and predicted environmental conditions.
The outcome is an excellent example of how innovative software solutions can be applied to achieve commercially efficient electricity generation outcomes in an environmentally sound manner.
Peter Osborne, Trading Manager – Real Time Markets, comments –
“River Watch provides a robust and reliable analysis and information framework onto which the traders can overlay their skills and knowledge to optimise generation. By standardising our approach and streamlining the process we are getting much more consistent and predictable outcomes which has great benefits for Genesis Energy’s commercial and environmental performance.”
Gary Pemberton, Wholesale Market Manager, comments –
“We’re extremely happy with how the project has gone. The Genesis Energy and Theta teams have an excellent working relationship and have readily overcome many hurdles and challenges in developing and deploying this project.”
More detail on the project
Paul Casey and his Theta Energy Market Software Development team used a mix of package, integration and bespoke software for the development.
They started the design by analysing an Excel model previously developed by Genesis Energy Trading. Where the source data was available in existing systems, such as the plant historian, they implemented a fully automated, self recovering custom interface to gather this data every 10 minutes. This included temperature and flow data from the river upstream from the power station. From there they included other information, including air temperature, humidity and solar radiation, from external data feeds provided by MetService. This data is fed into a rich user interface, developed in Java, which is used by the Genesis Energy Traders. Because this application is used 24/7 we also implemented a disaster recovery (DR) system, which allows the trader to access data from either the primary or DR database sites.
The model has the flexibility to accommodate the sort of changes that can be expected in complex power stations and the ever changing energy market. The recent addition of a helper cooling tower for the original thermal generators at Huntly is an example of this. The cooling effect of the tower is a function of a number of ambient conditions such as air temperature and humidity. These needed to be taken account of in the River Watch application and required additional feeds and business logic to be added to the River Watch. The cooling tower installation was only completed shortly before the commencement of the new River Watch “season” requiring an accelerated development and implementation cycle - which was successfully achieved.
About Genesis Energy
Genesis Energy is a New Zealand-owned energy company. This state owned enterprise is both an electricity generator that supplies up to 19 per cent of New Zealand’s electricity, and a significant energy retailer supplying electricity, gas and LPG to more than 660,000 customers across the country.