Emerson’s Simulator Boosts Plant Performance at Rawhide Energy Station

By Shruti Satyan

Project Success Story

Client Profile: As a not-for-profit and one of the highest performing coal units in the US, Platte River Power Authority generates and delivers safe, reliable, environmentally responsible, and competitively priced energy to the communities of Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont, and Loveland, USA. Its Rawhide Energy Station Unit 1 has Platte River’s largest sole source of system capacity, with lowest operating cost. The power station is used for baseload energy needs and accounts for over half of Platte River’s annual delivered energy.

Requirement: The Rawhide Energy Station Unit 1 is a 300 MW baseload unit. To monitor and control critical processes, it has relied on Emerson’s Ovation control system since November 2015. With a capacity factor of 91.57 percent in 2016, the third highest among comparably sized US coal plants, plant operators had little opportunity to gain the much-needed experience in efficiently executing startups and shutdowns and confidently managing upset conditions in the plant. So, they needed a safe environment in which they could train and become proficient in handling complex operating scenarios, including testing control logic changes without any risk to the actual plant, watching the outcomes as they play out in real time in the simulated environment, verifying patches prior to install, and continuously improving plant operating procedures.

Solution: Rawhide Unit 1’s management decided to incorporate Emerson’s Ovation embedded simulation technology. In this technology, high-fidelity plant models are built with and maintained using the same, familiar engineering tools as the Ovation control system. With the newly installed simulator, the engineering department at Rawhide was able to use it as a training tool for the operations staff and provide them with the safe environment they needed to handle complex operating scenarios.

Quantifiable Benefits: Incorporating the embedded simulation technology in Emerson’s Ovation control system has helped Rawhide power station enhance operator proficiency and plant performance significantly. In the first four months of its installation, operators have used the simulator to complete more than 400 man-hours of simulator training and experienced a 44 percent reduction in startup and shutdown time. With a well-trained operations staff, Rawhide was able to improve plant operating procedures significantly, thus boosting plant performance.


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