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Executive View

IBM Discusses How Boston Dynamic's Robot, Spot, Can Do the Boring and Dangerous Jobs for Utilities

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Nancy Greco

Director, DE Research Cognitive IoT solutions (Spot), Research - IBM

Nancy Greco is a Distinguished Engineer, Technical Executive, in IBM Research in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. She leads global teams to create AI and edge computing to address clients’ pressing problems in data collection, data movement, security while getting insight and ROI from the data. Read the full bio here.

Kay Murphy

Global Partner, Robotics Solutions - IBM

Kay Murphy has over 25 years of business experience serving both the public and private sectors. She has delivered solutions in the aerospace, defense, manufacturing, education, general government and energy sectors. She currently leads IBM’s Global Asset Optimization Services. Read the full bio here.

With advancements in AI, edge computing, and robotics, there have been breakthroughs that are improving worker safety and enabling robots, like Spot, to perform tasks that human beings do not want to do in difficult or dangerous situations. Not only does this advanced technology protect humans from such jobs, but also improves efficiency and consistency in the results. Certrec was able to hold a discussion and get insights from IBM executives, Kay Murphy and Nancy Greco, who have had a hand in the development of such technology.

Question: What are your thoughts on how IBM and Spot can help a power plant or utility today?

Kay Murphy: Talking specifically about power generation, first of all, there is the safety factor. Power generation has plenty of hazardous areas where you want to use a robot instead of a human. There is a great safety factor around that.

The second important factor mentioned by Kay was regulatory compliance.

Kay Murphy: Consider having a person doing inspections in an area using a written checklist or even a mobile device. They are just checking the boxes repeatedly. As things become repetitive, humans pay less attention. Their attention wanders and they are just checking the boxes after a while. It is kind of a dull job. Read Kay’s complete answer here.

Nancy Greco: Yeah, and I’d like to add to that too. Many of the clients and viewers reading this will think, “but what’s really changed? Robotics has been around for a long time. Has anything changed in the past few years that makes it a very compelling case to adopt robotics?” The short answer is: absolutely! A lot has changed. Just in the past few years, you have seen the emergence of something called edge computing. Read Nancy’s complete answer here.

Certrec would like to thank Kay and Nancy for their insightful perspectives.

Pro tip here…

Expert View

Weatherization Tip

Chris Davenport - Certrec

Chris Davenport

NERC Compliance Analyst at Certrec

When dealing with severe weather conditions, plants must understand the hazards that can lead to disruptions to service. Freezes in equipment can cause losses in generating capacity, trips, or downtime. Ventilation and cooling water systems are two areas where plants must remain vigilant. For example, if cooling lines are not drained prior to a severe weather event, these lines could freeze and burst. Additionally, if ventilation systems are not winterized, issues with boilers can cause false reads. False reads often cause maintenance personnel to fail to notice damages to equipment or incorrectly assess damages.

If plants do not take precautions, a facility will not be prepared to meet severe weather challenges. When preparing for extreme weather conditions, plants should run through a checklist to prevent disruptions.

  • Plants must be knowledgeable of forecasted weather conditions.
  • Plants must prepare equipment in cases of potential freezing.
  • Plants must use data from prior winter experiences to inform decision-making.
  • Plants must train personnel through dry runs and class discussions to ensure staff preparedness.
Takeaway: Plan ahead for severe weather events to mitigate the risk of equipment damage.

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December Poll Insights

Predictive analytics market research - Certrec Newsletter

According to our market research, 87 percent of respondents believe that equipment failures could be prevented by a rate of 30 percent or greater using predictive analytics at a power plant. Research shows that the use of predictive analytics can have a positive effect in preventing unplanned downtime. Research from GE shows that unplanned downtime was reduced by 45 percent at Russia’s largest integrated gas processing and petrochemical company, Sibur. This project included the integration of GE Digital’s predictive analytics software and APM Classic integration for business sub-processes automation for risk management and maintenance strategy development/optimization. While the use of predictive analytics is just starting to take hold in the industry, preliminary data of predictive analytics usage is promising.

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December Industry Updates

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Certrec News

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Modernize Your Power Plant and Cut Costs Through AI and Machine Learning

An Industry First — Last month, Certrec hosted a free webinar with Fischer Block’s CEO, Greg Wolfe. In this webinar, Greg presented how Fischer Block’s SMART Block® solution is helping utilities increase their ROI, improve efficiency, and mitigate disruptions to service through digitization. In addition, Certrec’s Director of NERC Compliance, Evans Heacock, also explained how Certrec will help plants interpret the data gathered from these devices.
Click here to watch the full webinar
Click here for more information on how predictive analytics can help your plant

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Certrec Recognized as One of the Top Power Plant Tech Solutions Providers of 2022

Industry Recognized — Certrec and its Executive Director of NERC Compliance, Evans Heacock, have recently been profiled by Energy Tech Review in their 2022 Power Plant Edition. In addition, Energy Tech Review has awarded Certrec as one of the Top Ten Most Promising Compliance Technology Solutions Provider in 2022…
Click here to see the award and full article

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Users Praise Certrec’s RegSource® in 2022 Customer Survey

User Feedback — Certrec is pleased to announce the 2022 customer survey results for its daily energy news notification service, RegSource®. Results show that customers value RegSource’s organized, up-to-date, and important industry news. In the poll, more than 50% of users said they trust RegSource® as a method for saving them time and encouraging productivity…
Click here to read more

Certrec White Papers

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Fundamentals of the NERC MOD-25 Standard

New White Paper — Accurate generator capability for supplying Real and Reactive Power is essential for system planning purposes. The NERC MOD-25 Standard helps to ensure that accurate information on generator gross and net Real and Reactive Power capability, and synchronous condenser Reactive Power capability, is available for planning models used to assess Bulk Electric System (BES) reliability.

Click here to download our white paper to understand the compatibility and compliance requirements for the NERC MOD-25 Standard

The importance of Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) in the energy sector

New White Paper — The NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection standards ensure that the necessary security controls are in place to protect your facility and its cyber systems, thereby, protecting the Bulk Electric System and its users from unwanted interruptions.

Click here to download our white paper to understand what these standards are and how they are applicable to your utility

Upcoming Industry Events

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