SCADA: Geminis backbone

‘40.000 sensors help

picture Gemini’

 Gemini Wind Park is connected to the mainland via two large export cables. All sorts of information about the performance of the park is also received through these cables. The task now for Peter Huiberts, as a SCADA engineer, is to manage this well. “We have no less than 40,000 sensors in the park and they each measure something.”

It is quite a mouthful, the meaning of SCADA: Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition. In other words: the managing, collecting, forwarding, processing and visualising of measurement and control signals of machinery in large systems. Peter Huiberts previously gained experience at Vattenfall, until Gemini crossed his path in 2015. He started at Gemini in January 2016, in the last phase of the construction of the park. He immediately clarifies the importance of SCADA in a project like this one: “The park is much more than steel, cables and turbines. SCADA is, in fact, the backbone for the park’s performance. You could also call it technical automation.” All kinds of information comes in from the park 24/7. “‘We have two control centres – one at energy provider EWE in Oldenburg, which is mainly used for the operation & maintenance for the electrical infrastructure, and one at OutSmart in Emden, where the marine and air coordination takes place, among other things.”


Custom made

This structure was devised before and during the construction of the park, says Peter. “You have to know ahead of time how you want to set up SCADA. Then you provide these requirements to the builders in the requirements specification.” He encountered all of this when he started working at Gemini. “Everything has been custom made for Gemini. Everything is redundant, so we can always switch over to a second system.” Over the course of time, new topics continually arise, such as cybersecurity – protection against external malicious figures. “But we are also already thinking about the replacement of the first systems, for example.”



Besides the two control centres, a massive amount of data is also received each day at Gemini’s data warehouse in Amsterdam. “There we extrapolate important information for our package employees and for our management team. Live displays of how the park is functioning appear on six screens in the office, which is very good for team building. We also use it as new product introduction (NPI) to advise our shareholders on how they can use SCADA in their new projects. And the data are also used by outside researchers, such as for monitoring the fauna in the area.”


Thousands of sensors

Because Peter Huiberts already had experience with other wind parks and joined Gemini in the construction phase, he can precisely explain the difference between ‘builders’ and ‘managers’. “We are calmer, and not continuously busy with deadlines, contracts and other commotion. Our task is clear: keep the flow of electricity going. We use all sorts of sensors for that, which are on the park but also, for instance, in the export cables. We can continuously monitor the temperature in the cables, if the park is supplying 600 MW, for example. With some 40,000 points of measurement, we can monitor what is going on almost 100 km off the coast.”



‘The park is much more than steel,

cables and turbines. SCADA is the backbone for the functioning of the park


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