Duke Energy’s Renewable Control Center monitors wind and solar facilities nationwide.

Control Center Helps Grow Renewable Energy

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Duke Energy Renewables, the company’s unregulated renewables business unit, not only produces wind, solar and battery storage power, it also keeps an eye on it, too.

Its Renewable Control Center (RCC) in Charlotte, North Carolina, uses technology and data to monitor and control energy across the United States.

A total of 30 employees monitor wind, solar and battery storage facilities all day and all night, from coast to coast, and direct 5,000 megawatts of energy to light cities and towns from North Carolina to California.

Some of that energy comes from power plants and facilities owned by other companies. That includes the nation’s first offshore wind farm 3 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. Overall, the center oversees enough power to provide electricity to 1 million homes.

The center started in 2009 with a manager and one operator per shift. Ten years later, employees monitor more than 90 wind, solar and battery sites. For smaller companies, hiring Duke Energy Renewables allows them to afford more renewable energy without investing in a high-tech facility of their own.

The RCC uses weather data from Duke Energy meteorologists to predict how much renewable energy can be produced each hour and potentially in the days ahead. The more accurate their predictions are, the more valuable the forecast is for energy buyers. Here are some of the ways the center uses technology to increase renewable energy production and keep employees safe.

  • It starts, stops and resets wind turbines and solar inverters to maximize availability and keep technicians safe. The center also adjusts solar panels to reduce damage during high winds and severe weather. In addition to monitoring individual plant components, operators look at the plant’s performance and output to make sure it is producing as much power as possible.
  • The technology alerts operators to equipment malfunctions, which in some cases can be repaired remotely in minutes. When repairs require in-person assistance, employees in Charlotte will dispatch the nearest technician.
  • In addition to the six monitors at their desks, employees use eight television-size screens mounted on the wall to watch more systems – including weather, site cameras and substation components.
Constant monitoring icon
CONSTANT MONITORING

Employees monitor more than 90 wind, solar and battery sites all day and all night.