The scope of modern power plant controls usually includes plant DCS, boiler control and protection, steam/gas turbine governor and protection, auxiliaries control, automatic voltage controller, automatic synchronizer and operator/engineering stations. Usually these control packages come from different manufacturers (OEM). They are typically based on various electronic hardware and software platforms. Different communication protocols often present problems during system integration; and maintenance costs of these various electronic hardware and software platforms are normally greater than that of a stand alone system. Advantages of an integrated, distributed, open architecture, digital system, (Fig. 1) which covers all the power plant needs are discussed in this paper. A common electronic hardware/ software platform allows optimization of the new constructions and upgrades, shorten delivery and commissioning time, and improve availability and safety of the new and upgraded power plants. Specific benefits of this concept are presented in the Mt. Poso controls upgrade Case Study. The common electronic hardware/ software platform installed at Mt. Poso allowed optimization of the upgrade, shortened commissioning time, improved availability, reliability and safety and reduced maintenance cost of the control systems.

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