Excitation and Governer Control System

Project ID: 19004
Principal Investigator: Kyle Clair
Research Topic: Improving Geotechnical Infrastructure Reliability
Funded Fiscal Years: 2019 and 2020
Keywords: None

Research Question

Reclamation is facing challenges regarding employee training and retention, equipment obsolescence, and budget
shortfalls. Specifically, maintaining and replacing digital excitation and speed governor controllers in Reclamation
power plants is prohibitively expensive. In comparison to the powertrain components, they have short life spans.
Training fragmentation issues occur when trying to maintain multiple vendor systems. Proprietary vendor computer
code cannot be modified and maintained by Reclamation. Can this issue be addressed by developing a reasonable
cost effective, flexible Excitation and Governor Control System Platform using Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS)
hardware and open source programming tools?

Need and Benefit

In the last 20 years, digital computer control for Reclamation's power plant generator control systems have evolved
with the integration of computer and software systems by industry. As a result of this continued evolution,
Reclamation has several vendor brands of control systems in its portfolio of power plants. These systems have a
useful life of approximately 15 years. This is in comparison to lifespans for generators, turbines and transformers of
25 to 60 years. In addition, these systems are evolving constantly and with multiple vendors, support is expensive
and, in some cases, non-existent. Replacing these controllers on a 15-year life cycle can cost millions of dollars per
facility; therefore, are often too expensive for the smaller power plants. In addition, Reclamation has long recognized
the value and cost savings of being able to train its employees on common systems.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Please contact research@usbr.gov about research products related to this project.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20