Nova Scotia Power (NSP), a fully-integrated power utility serving 520,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers with $4.1 B worth of generation across Nova Scotia. NSP is a known early adopter of technology for reliability and maintenance.
The company leadership had set ambitious plans to shift to a 40% renewables energy product from wind, solar, and hydropower by late 2020. They also wanted to re-engineer and transform internal operating processes to leverage digital technologies for increased reliability of energy grids.
A key gap in achieving these goals is that operating data was still compartmentalized in line units. There were significant gaps in connecting systems capturing asset data that impacted data quality and reliability.
The NSP team had started as early as 2012 building a central enterprise asset management group with the “top guns” of engineers across the of the company. This team began to centrally manage assets across NSPs plants, transmission system, and residential delivery.
However, compartmentalized data puts limits on the ability of this central team of engineers, subject-matter experts, and data analysts to collaborate on fully optimizing the infrastructure.
Beginning in 2019, NSP began to implement an Accelerator program using Element Unify and an Element engineer to quickly train up the company's team on a packaged solution that combines Element’s PI Asset Framework using a proven industrial data methodology.
The starting point was the existing hierarchy for 5 multi-unit coal generation thermal plants was imported into Element Unify. Element made it possible to connect diverse data sets together into a common data model and build smarter, comprehensive Asset Frameworks representing the NSP data hierarchy.
From this beginning the central asset management team developed a central asset hierarchy so “all data matches up” enterprise wide.
The partnership with Element allowed the central asset management group to bring together 1000s of existing and new data tags into a single consolidated view of all assets via web portal.
The consolidated data model allowed the central group to manage data and business operations more strategically. NSP moved into the top tier of utilities in the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) index on the reliability and security of the electrical grid.
Anything better than 2 score on forced outage scores (or 2 outages experienced by an average customer) is considered an excellent score. NSP has consistently been at 2 or less and midway through 2022 had a forced outage score of 1.3 against a goal of 2.1.
NSP also has best practices processes and data models with other utilities, groups like Southern California Electric or TEPCO in Japan, some of whom have been “in awe” of the consolidated data model.