June 2010 Project: Image 1
June 2010 Project: Image 2

JUNE 30, 2003


During the period of November 2001 through June 2003, principals of Northwest Electrical Services LLC, conceptualized, designed and commissioned an Integrated Operations Center for the island of Bermuda’s sole electric utility, Bermuda Electric Light Company (BELCO). The purpose of the Operations Center was to combine three functionally and physically separated control rooms into a single facility thereby increasing situational awareness of both Generation and Grid conditions and establish the infrastructure needed for future distributed generation including renewable technologies.

To accomplish the above, the Operations Center base design criteria developed by Northwest Electrical Services LLC principals included:

  • Integration of existing Generator and balance of plant control systems into a common user interface.
  • Increase operational awareness and monitoring of plant and grid status through the use of real time integration of critical operating data, and data warehousing and retrieval of historical data.
  • Installation and integration of intelligent electronic metering devices.
  • Provide for redundant communications, networking, server infrastructure and power.
  • Be housed in a structure to withstand class 4 hurricane force winds complete with HVAC, security and fire alarm and suppression systems.
  • Allow for uninterrupted control of plant and grid in the event the facility is compromised or evacuated.
  • Provide a return on investment strategy by reducing manpower previously located in separate control rooms, decrease outage durations through the use of enhanced intelligent dispatch.

The detailed design, construction and commissioning of the operations center incorporated the following key operational elements and disciplines.

  • Application development and integration of Invensys Archestra suite of products to provide for a consistent operator interface system, not only in the operations center, but also on the plant floor so that at all times the plant floor and operations center are reviewing and responding to the same information. This work involved graphic designs as modifications to existing disparate control system hardware and software. The systems allow for local control only for some aspects of operation, and both local and remote control for other functions based on login and/or location.
  • In addition to the operator interface application, the Invensys Archestra suite of products was developed to provide a data historian platform from which data from many disparate sources was integrated into a singular data warehouse. The data retrieval was both real time and batch and included sources such as existing SCADA Oracle databases, Intelligent electrical devices, manual data entry and real time data from control systems.
  • Installation and networking of generator and transmission systems Schneider Electric intelligent ION meters used for both logging of data both within the meter and remotely, as well as transducer outputs for a non-networked interface with critical control and protection systems or legacy systems.
  • A major design challenge was to replace the legacy hardwired generator controls separated by two different physical control rooms into a single facility and allow for redundancy in the event the primary operations center was compromised or evacuated. Due to the time frame for completion of the project, and the need for a system that would support both legacy controls and newer or future systems,¬† a mission critical control system was configured installed and commissioned. The system installed, Triconex, is a triple redundant system listed for use in safety sensitive applications. The system not only provided triple redundant hardware, but also hot swap capability of all hardware components, diagnostic open circuit and short circuit monitoring of all connected inputs and outputs, and ability to communicate over triple redundant fiber optics to all nodes. The redundancy and distributed control features of the Triconex system also provided the means and capability to expand the control functions in the future or replicate the control functions in multiple locations without the complexity of aging hardwired conductors.
  • Specification and development of a 10 ft. X 20 ft. Christie display wall system complete with RAID level 5 controller and capable of delivering data from SCADA, Control Systems, Surveillance Cameras, Fire systems, television and internet media.

To facilitate the key operational elements above infrastructure design or project management functions were performed by Northwest Electrical Services LLC principals.

  • Redundant fault tolerant fiber optic ring specification and design for mission critical control system communications isolated from all other networks encompassing the entire generating plant.
  • Redundant fault tolerant fiber optic ring, managed TCP/IP switches and router specification and design for control system, electronic devices, video and security system, server farm communications.
  • Redundant servers, SAN’s, management appliances to host applications and data.
  • Secure power system for the Integrated operations center including connection to the existing 4.16KV station power supply, ASCO automatic transfer switch, CAT generators. In addition, APC UPS power supply installed for critical systems including the Triconex system, server and network switches and routers.
  • Installed backup handheld radio system for secure communications with both plant and remote authorized staff.
  • Specified and managed the installation of a 2 X 100% HVAC system.
  • Specified and managed the installation of a Honeywell EBC system for all fire alarm and suppression systems, security and HVAC control systems.
  • Specified Building design and floor plans, project managed all construction works
  • Specified¬† lighting, ergonomic 24X7 furniture, acoustical trim and electrical distribution within the operations center.
  • Specified all computer equipment, plotters and printers.

Construction of the facility commenced in July of 2002, with a schedule to fully commission the integrated Operations Center in June of 2003. Northwest Electrical Services principals managed the entire construction and commissioning of the center. Commissioning was complex, as BELCO is the sole supplier of electricity to the island, all systems had to be fully commissioned without interruption to the supply of electricity.

The center was fully staffed and operational in May of 2003. On September 5th, 2003 the island was struck by a category 4 hurricane, Fabian, which decimated the islands overhead distribution system and left 75% of the utility’s customers without power. The operations center performed as designed, all systems and facilities not only withstood the hurricane forces, but the center’s monitoring systems and facility played a crucial role supporting the incredible efforts of BELCO staff with the record restoration of all power to customers within three weeks following the storm.