Reliable communications for thermal power generation
The performance of thermal power generation plants depends on communications
Modern thermal power generation plants are essential for the global energy mix despite the growing volume of renewable generation. Siemens provides reliable and rugged communications solutions that ensure their safe operation.
Entering a new era of modern thermal power generation plantsEnergy consumption will continue to grow, so extra-efficient power generation will be an even more vital component of reliable energy systems. Now more than ever, power generators need to rely on optimal plant performance. This means dependable and predictable operation, which relies on rugged and reliable communications networks.
For plant operators it is crucial to minimize outages and be able to react fast in critical situations. The ultimate goal is to keep power plants operating reliably throughout their lifespan. Industrial networking components provide highly available communications that support mission-critical processes in power plants and enable optimal operation. Redundancy mechanisms increase system reliability by ensuring that the network architecture is resilient to faults. Deterministic communication is supported by protocols like PROFIBUS and PROFINET.
Power plants are critical infrastructures with a strong potential for being targeted by cybercriminals. Unauthorized access and malicious actions can cause DCS and SCADA systems to lose their control and monitoring capabilities, leading to disruptions in energy production, damage to costly equipment, and even blackouts. Cybersecurity systems are crucial for protecting thermal power plants, and they should be implemented using the Defense in Depth concept and follow international standards like IEC 62443. The solution can include a secure remote access control system like RUGGEDCOM CROSSBOW or SINEMA Remote Connect.
A comprehensive cybersecurity solution for a thermal power plant can be built on SCALANCE S industrial security appliances and RUGGEDCOM RX1500 utility-grade network components hosting best-in-class industrial cybersecurity software. Using Siemens cybersecurity solutions, power plant operators can create flexible security zones and establish an electronic cybersecurity perimeter around their critical infrastructure to prevent the disruption of energy production by accidental or malicious acts. Following the Defense in Depth concept, SCALANCE S can be used to provide network segmentation and cell protection. Additional intrusion detection mechanisms and next-generation firewall solutions from the RUGGEDCOM product line increase the security level even more.
Learn more about cybersecurity for utilities
A power plant’s output is facilitated by thousands of sensors and signals, motors, pumps, boilers, drives, and fans. Successful plant operation is the result of all of these signals being available at the various systems used by plant operators. High-bandwidth, high-speed networking creates a scalable communications infrastructure that leverages the data in critical processes. Using Layer-3 Ethernet switches and routers is especially useful for precise network segmentation and enhancing data flow management.
Power providers are under constant pressure to enhance efficiency and optimize plant operations. Sensors, programmable logic controllers, and digital monitoring and control systems are key elements in efficient plant control. Industrial networks enable these components to exchange critical data in real time. With its integration capabilities, comprehensive network management systems like SINEC NMS and cloud-based operating system like MindSphere greatly enhance monitoring and diagnostics, leading to faster detection of components that need maintenance before failures occur. Maintenance costs can also be minimized by using products with a long lifespan and the long-term availability of spare parts.