By Myrna M. Velasco
Beijing, China – Being the region’s first-mover, the “digital twins” of the gas-fired power facilities of First Gen Corporation of the Lopez Group has been stamped with the ‘gold standard’ and is being elevated as a “showcase to the Asian market’ when it comes to digitalization of energy projects.
In an interview on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) International Summit at the World China Hotel here, Dr. Armin Bruck, regional chief executive officer (CEO) of German conglomerate Siemens AG, has indicated that the Philippines is the first among the Southeast Asian countries to have ‘digital twins’ on power plant operations – even ahead of its Singaporean counterparts.
Siemens is the turbines supplier as well as the operations and maintenance (O&M) service provider of the First Gen plants in Batangas – namely the 1,000-megawatt Santa Rita, 500MW San Lorenzo and 414MW San Gabriel plants.
“First Gen has two digital plants. So we install the digital tools and applications that we have. And at the end of the day, they have shown improvements in operations and they have been much more efficient…so it’s a showcase for our customers,” he said.
Bruck expounded that the First Gen plants’ digital twins have been engendering “further improvements in the power plants’ operations on a daily basis, so we want them to be a showcase for Asia.”
The digital twins of power plants refer to the “virtual replication” of the physical electric generating assets – wherein big data on the facets of everyday operations are being stored in the ‘Mindsphere’ cloud-based and open internet of things (IoT) system of Siemens; and algorithms are subsequently analyzed so they can aid in improving the generating facilities’ operations, extend their maintenance cycle as well as pare their carbon emissions.
“This can also be done in other parts of Southeast Asia and this will further bring our countries in competencies together,” he said, referring to near-term targets in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Beyond power plants, digitalization has also grown to be an emerging trend for buildings as well as industries in the Philippines; while Siemens had also cemented deals for such for a Petronas refinery in Malaysia; as well as a tunnel — being a mobility solution for Singapore.
On the First Gen plants, Bruck noted that Philippines and Singapore have agreed on synergies to collaborate on having the Lopez gas-fired power plants be the ‘business model” it can show as proof-of-concept to all of its customers in the region.