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“Digital is at the heart of our operations”

Heavy industry is witnessing wide-scale technological change and digitalisation is firmly at the heart of any modernisation strategy.  Asset-centric businesses are increasingly turning to new technology and solutions to meet their requirements. Martin Daronnat, speaker at the Plant Management Forum, is talking about the need to leverage new technology and solutions in industrial plant operations, as well as his experiences in connecting, monitoring and steering multiple decentralised assets as VPP (Virtual Power Plant) at E.ON.

by Thomas Chapell

As companies get to grips with the fourth industrial revolution and the variety of digital enablers that are helping to create a more productive future, the questions of adoption and implementation have changed from “what technology is out there?” to “how can such technology boost our business?”   With digitalisation, the virtual plant has been developed and now integrated into a wide variety of industrial operations over the last few years. Moving well beyond the concept stage, time has allowed for a full analysis of the benefits and has provided the opportunity for organisations to successfully adopt this way of working.

Martin Daronnat, Virtual Power Plants (VPP) Senior Operations and Delivery Manager at E.ON, will be talking about the virtual plant at the Plant Management Forum.  He will be presenting on the need to leverage new technology and solutions in industrial operations, as well as his experiences in connecting, monitoring and steering multiple decentralised assets for the energy company E.ON.

We reached out to him prior to the conference to get his thoughts on some of the key areas around the subject of digitalisation and the virtual plant and what he found to be the most important factors and actions when moving towards a more digital way of operating. “When implementing IT solutions for the operations of our platform we are obviously taking special interest in the technology stack that we are looking to implement, to create the leanest and most efficient operations both for us and our customers.”

Martin emphasised how important it is to have a strong handle on the available solutions and which ones would best suit your requirements. The research phase of any digital project is essential once the right solution and strategy has been selected by the project team. “For us the biggest challenge is having the proper technology and IT architecture in place that will enable us to scale our business and connect a wider portfolio of assets, but also roll it out to new locations and markets.

“We are connecting, monitoring and controlling thousands of decentralised assets all over Europe, which is only possible thanks to our digital VPP solution.”

“Data management is also a big challenge to improve the quality of our operations. It is no longer the case to simply collect data, operations teams must be asking the right questions of their data that bring about tangible business benefits. Our virtual power plant system is a unique approach enabling both end users and the market players to benefit from each other. The end users being sometimes too small or unable to participate within the flexibility markets on their own, are profiting from a unique opportunity to participate and earn money with it. The markets are from their side benefiting from untapped flexibilities that are lying on our grids, and help us all to better manage the decentralization of the energy world.”

The virtual plant brings decentralized asset portfolios closer together. This sort of insight is revolutionising asset management and maintenance programmes, critical in ensuring you stay ahead of the curve. With the right framework put in place, any asset-centric business can reap the rewards.

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