© Lodestone Energy
Kaitaia solar farm site; the first large-scale photovoltaic solar power project in New Zealand.

Emerson Selected to Automate New Zealand’s First Large-Scale Solar Farm

April 7, 2023
Emerson’s renewable power generation expertise will help solar energy company Lodestone Energy complete its two 23-megawatt sites in New Zealand—an important step in supporting the country's ambitious goals of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Emerson has been tasked to help Lodestone Energy, a renewable energy provider in New Zealand, complete its 23-megawatt sites at Kaitaia and Edgecumbe through its expertise in renewable power generation and automation.

The large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power project is a first for New Zealand which is aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

While solar energy is quickly becoming one of the fastest renewable energy sources, it's not without its challenges. To achieve a truly successful solar PV plant, the energy needs to be efficiently generated and delivered through the means of precise orchestration, integrating a variety of third-party systems, automation, and controls so operators have intuitive functionality and comprehensive visibility. To help pull this off, Emerson's advanced automation architecture combines the control software and technologies with enterprise data solutions for a fully integrated and scalable solution—maximizing output and profitability while continuing to stabilize the grid.

“New Zealand’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 is an ambitious endeavor that will require many renewable power generation sources to be safely and rapidly brought online,” said Peter Apperley, general manager of engineering at Lodestone Energy.

“Emerson’s expertise in automation software for power generation and sustainability will help us more quickly build a world-class facility, while also more seamlessly integrating with the national grid to drive successful, efficient operation over the lifecycle of the plant.”

Lodestone has chosen Emerson's Ovation DCS as well as its new OCR3000 controller which are designed to provide control while minimizing the impact of variability and intermittency in power generation. These same technologies will also make it easier for operators to respond quickly to grid frequency events. Ovation enterprise data solutions will provide secure monitoring of solar PV operations from the control room or mobile devices, measuring, monitoring,  and reporting key performance indicators to increase the visibility of plant operations.

"Meeting New Zealand’s renewable energy goals will require power generation companies to rethink the way they operate, democratizing data and increasing visibility for everyone across the enterprise,” said Bob Yeager, president of Emerson’s power and water business.

“Lodestone’s strategy perfectly aligns with Emerson’s boundless automation vision of an advanced technology stack leveraging integrated, scalable control to provide access to critical data not only across the plant and industrial edge but also throughout the enterprise.”

Lodestone’s solar PV project requires multiple interfaces to third-party systems, including inverters, high-voltage switchboards, weather stations, site security systems,  and grid authority remote terminal units. Ovation will act as a process orchestration tool to seamlessly connect these devices to provide fast and intuitive visibility for operators.

In addition to providing flexibility and visibility of operations, Emerson’s Ovation platform is ideally suited to support compliance with New Zealand’s energy participation code.

Emerson is a global technology and software company providing innovative solutions for the world’s essential industries. Through its leading automation portfolio, Emerson helps hybrid, process, and discrete manufacturers optimize operations, protect personnel, reduce emissions, and achieve their sustainability goals. For more information, visit Emerson.com.