Trimark Associates, Inc. announces the deployment of an Aggregating Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) as a solution for remote, real-time telemetry with Independent System Operators (ISOs) and electric utilities. A milestone collaborative effort, the Aggregating RTU allows site owners to report operational data to ISOs and utilities, without installing dedicated on-site hardware.
A bit of background: Trimark has a partnership with AES Distributed Energy to function as their primary technology platform provider for their portfolio of new generating facilities. AES DE is developing a number of sites in the northeastern United States ; significant portions of this region's electrical grid are operated by ISO New England (ISO-NE), while National Grid serves as the primary utility in Massachusetts , Rhode Island , and large portions of New York State .
Similar to CAISO and IOUs in California , these entities have unique requirements regarding the collection of on-site data. Specifically, ISO-NE and National Grid both require that new generating facilities provide real-time telemetry to their Master Control Centers (MCCs) and Manager Control Centers (also 'MCCs'), respectively. Both ISO-NE and National Grid informed AES of this mandate, and AES tasked Trimark with providing a solution.
Because of the large number of sites, this revelation made for an interesting challenge. While Trimark's field techs routinely install gateways at utility-scale sites for telemetry and SCADA/DAS, the logistics of doing so for dozens of sites – including travel, setup, and testing – would have been tedious for everyone involved.
However, after a number of collaborative discussions, a promising solution emerged. Through discussions with the New York ISO (NYISO) and AES DE, Trimark learned of an alternate approach, aptly referred to by the ISO as a "Remote RTU." This is a single RTU at a location remote from the site, which collects data from multiple sites. This eliminates the need for physical boxes at each site. Appreciating the flexibility it afforded, Trimark explored this option in earnest.
Soon thereafter, Trimark began developing our version of a Remote RTU, referring to it as an "Aggregating RTU" (ARTU). Essentially, the ARTU is a data gateway in the server room at Trimark's Folsom, California headquarters. Managed by Trimark's IT experts, the ARTU hosts multiple virtual machines for AES DE's site data, which is reported to the ARTU via ISP connections. The ARTU sports a single, dedicated high-speed ISO connection for both the ISO and National Grid. The high-speed link is hardwired, but a secondary wireless connection serves as a backup.
Trimark tested this setup with NYISO, and it yielded stellar results. AES DE requested permission to use this approach with National Grid soon thereafter. Both companies, as well as ISO-NE, gave Trimark the green light to utilize the Aggregating RTU at AES DE's New England-based sites. The first of these sites to employ this solution was AES DE's PV installation at the University of Rhode Island , where a Trimark Data Acquisition System (DAS) was already installed. The integration went smoothly; since then, Trimark has expanded the Aggregating RTU's capability, including implementing additional virtual machines for National Grid.
Given the successful application and tests of the Aggregating RTU, Trimark is excited to make wider use of the technology. The Trimark team believes it will prove popular with customers, particularly from a cost perspective. It eliminates the need for additional hardware, as well as an installation trip; thus, the Aggregating option saves customers thousands of dollars per site. Moreover, because there is one less device to worry about, customers will also see reduced maintenance costs over the lifetime of their site—and fewer headaches.
On top of that, the Aggregating RTU will also streamline the process of achieving Commercial Operation. From a scheduling perspective, eliminating the need to coordinate a site visit, install the appropriate telemetry hardware, and perform on-site testing significantly reduces any road bumps on the way to reaching COD. This helps ensure that customer sites are up and running when they need to be, without any loss of functionality or reliability.
"With the Aggregating RTU, there's so much potential for cost savings and added efficiency," says Jae Kim , Vice President of Operations at Trimark. "We can't wait to leverage it in more projects, for more clients."
Trimark Associates, Inc. (Trimark) delivers industry-leading solutions to allow real-time operational control, enable informed management of power production operations, and ensure regulatory compliance. Trimark's turnkey products, engineering, and customer support services control, measure, and manage all aspects of power production that utility-scale power producers require to maintain peak business performance.
About AES Distributed Energy
As a wholly owned subsidiary of the AES Corporation , a Fortune 500 company that operates on several continents, AES Distributed Energy (AES DE) is a staple of the energy industry, delivering reliable and affordable solar PV projects on a stand-alone basis or paired with storage. Consisting of developers, engineers, and project managers, AES Distributed Energy is dedicated to delivering solar PV and energy storage facilities to customers in the United States .
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