Remote Dam Monitoring Improves Decision-Making
GeoEngineers' streamlined solution replaces utility's labor-intensive, manual approach
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The Earth Analytics for Hydroelectric Dams application allows PGE to input instrument data and reporting requirements to quickly generate and export graphs on instrument performance
Expertise
  • Implementation Services/Software Development
  • Market Solutions

Market
  • Energy

Location
  • Northwest Oregon

Overview

Portland General Electric (PGE) operates seven hydroelectric facilities throughout Oregon that provide power to more than 1.7 million customers. To maintain its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license, PGE must meet stringent dam-safety requirements, but its existing data-gathering system required more than 200 man-hours to compile, analyze and generate the required annual reports.

PGE asked GeoEngineers to develop a new system that could enable the utility's engineering staff to focus more of their time on critical decision-making and analysis rather than data collection, thereby enhancing public safety and maximizing the utility's investment in critical infrastructure.

Approach

GeoEngineers' software and dam-safety specialists developed an enterprise system that combines remote instrumentation hardware and state of the art monitoring software to automatically gather and process water-pressure, volume and flow data at more than 200 locations in and around PGE's hydropower facilities. The solution provides PGE staff with real-time access to engineering data in ways that traditionally would have required a high degree of dam safety expertise. Project managers and operations staff can easily visualize the information in multiple formats, set alerts and notifications when data exceeds safety thresholds, and export engineering data and calculations into pre-formatted FERC reports—all in an intuitive web-based application.

Awards


  • Honored with a 2016 Bronze Best in State Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Washington Chapter.

Results

GeoEngineers replaced PGE's antiquated, manual approach with a new system that provides state of the art data collection, reporting and visualization features, enabling engineering staff to quickly access the data and make informed decisions. The team built a system with all of these functional requirements in just under six months. Now PGE has real-time access to data, alerts and notifications, data visualization in multiple formats and the ability to export data to pre-formatted FERC reports. The new system has saved PGE hundreds of hours of staff time, reduced risk of error, streamlined reporting and enabled staff to focus more of their time on critical safety and performance issues.