Siemens building remotely operated power plant

By Jack Burke10 June 2021

Plant will be operated entirely from Siemens Energy’s support center in Erlanger

Siemens Energy will build a remotely operated 300 MW gas-fired power plant to help ensure grid stability in southern Germany.

The plant in Leipheim, southwestern Bavaria, will be used by transmission grid operator Amprion exclusively to protect and ensure the reliability of the transmission grid. It’s therefore not available to the free energy market, according to the German Energy Industry Act (Energiewirtschaftsgesetz). The special grid-related equipment in Leipheim will be able to supply an electrical capacity of up to 300 MW in a maximum period of 30 minutes. Siemens Energy will also manage its operation and maintenance (O&M), initially for five years. The plant will be operated entirely from Siemens Energy’s ISO-certified Remote O&M Support Center (ROMSC) in Erlangen, Bavaria. This means that it will be one of the first power plants worldwide to be operated purely digitally from a remote location, the company said.

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The special grid-related equipment will be installed on the grounds of the former military airbase in Leipheim. Siemens Energy’s scope of supply includes turnkey construction and the O&M agreement as well as an SGT5-4000F gas turbine, an SGen-2000P generator, and the SPPA-T3000 control system. The company will also provide a system for cooling the intake air and a system for injecting fully desalinated water into the gas turbine. These systems are designed to ensure that the plant can generate up to 300 MW in as little as 30 minutes, even in hot weather.

Siemens Energy to build a remote-controlled gas fired power plant to help secure Germany’s power supply.

“Leipheim gas fired power plant is an important building-block in the energy transition of power generation” said Karim Amin, executive vice president Generation at Siemens Energy. “We’re very pleased that the project development of Leipheim was successful and that we’re able to help make the security of electricity supply in Germany more robust. An interesting aspect in this project is our digital solution for operating the facility entirely remotely, a real step towards unlocking the power of digitalization.”

Siemens Energy’s modern service center (ROMSC) has obtained the ISO certification 27001 and is able to operate power plants remotely. This permits the plant to be operated locally by a two-person team during the day shift, while control and monitoring are handled from Erlangen. To enable the optimal collaboration with the ROMSC, the local maintenance team is equipped with cutting-edge connected worker technology. Outfitted with a helmet-mounted camera, microphone, and headset, the connected worker can communicate with the remote control center over a secure Internet connection. Modern software solutions that employ speech recognition, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality functions provide additional support. This combination of on-site and remote specialists guarantees that the power plant remains available round the clock.

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Total project amount is approximately €1 billion