Unmanned Power Plants?

unmanned power plant

The notion of unmanned power plants seems like something you might find in some futuristic society, but the truth is that it’s not all that far-fetched.

The constant evolution of technology is creating automation in an increasing number of areas.  We now have cars that can parallel park themselves, home leak detection devices that can automatically detect micro-leaks based on changes in water flow, and voice-controlled devices like Alexa that can instantly accomplish a desired task.  The possibilities seem endless, so, why not unmanned power plants too?

Unmanned Power Plants and Emergency Preparedness

The reason this matters for emergency preparedness is because, in theory, unmanned power plants will be able operate more efficiently, which will increase plant resilience and lead to fewer and shorter unplanned outages.

Here is a list of some of the characteristics of an unmanned plant that should increase the effectiveness of maintenance activities as well as operating efficiency:

  • Real-time sensors will be used to execute predictive maintenance, as opposed to using calendar-based maintenance tactics, so that components can be repaired or replaced before they start to fail.
  • Each plant will develop a virtual baseline, which will be compared to a continuously-evolving model that simulates how the plant should operate under optimal conditions, to help the plant fine-tune its operational efficiency over time.
  • Plants will utilize automated data harnessing to order spare parts on demand, accelerating the completion of any needed repairs.

The bottom line is that unmanned power plants are coming.  It is not a question of “if,” but rather of “when.”  And as these plants start coming online, we all will likely benefit by experiencing fewer and shorter power outages.

For more technical details on this concept, check out this comprehensive article that focuses on the automation of solar plants. Enjoy!

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