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Natural Power is a renewable energy consultancy managing more than 175 assets in the UK, Ireland and the United States. The company monitors and controls clients’ assets from a command center in its Scottish headquarters. The company had outgrown its original small control room and decided on an ambitious expansion plan to support a fast growing client base.
As part of the plan, Natural Power wanted to create an improved working environment for operators who were often working long hours under stressful conditions. This would enable it to meet requirements for 24x7 monitoring and a more flexible, responsive service. Electrosonic worked closely with design and build consultants Space Solutions to provide audiovisual design, installation, programming and commissioning for the biggest, independently operated 24/7 control room in the UK.
At the heart of the Control Center is a custom LED video wall and video wall processor linked to four banks of operator desks and three supervisors’ desks. Each supervisor has an iPad running customized Crestron applications to control the operator workstation monitors in their section as well as the main video wall.
Electrosonic also installed a 65-inch monitor and touch panel control in an adjacent meeting room. Staff can call up any input source from the Control Center’s video wall for discussion.
While automation plays an important role in asset management in the control center, the human factor plays an equally vital role. Electrosonic helped create an ergonomic environment where improved sound, lighting and room layout mean that the operational controllers are comfortable and safe to support clients 24x7.
The new control center enables Natural Power to run its business more efficiently and more inclusively with operators collaborating around their workstations and their areas of the video wall.
The new facility has been designed to scale for Natural Power’s next decade of growth, with the flexibility to add new services where required, to upgrade software that will improve service delivery and to accommodate work with specialist suppliers whenever necessary – vitally important in an ever-changing industry.
The company recognized that cutting-edge audiovisual and collaboration technology would be essential for making and sharing mission-critical decisions about real-time data. The aim was to make better operational decisions as a basis for controlling operations more efficiently, maximizing clients’ assets and meeting ever-increasing regulations.
Scalability was also essential to keep pace with Natural Power’s growing international business in the rapidly expanding renewables sector.
The new center features real-time data provision and advanced security features to deliver 24x7 intelligent management of assets that brings clients higher returns. A custom video wall linked to operator consoles maximizes situational awareness. Human factors are prioritized in an ergonomic environment with improved sound, lighting and room layout. The solution will scale for growth with the flexibility to add new services and collaborate with specialist suppliers.
The new center is the biggest, independently operated 24/7 control room in the UK. Natural Power can run its business more efficiently and provide clients with a new generation of services.
With renewable technology advancing, the company can now support more sophisticated interactions between generators, system and network operators. As the renewable energy industry continues to grow, National Power can easily scale up the control facility.