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The energy transition, a revolution, is shaping the electricity market at a frantic pace. The game's rules are changing, and new resources, marketplaces, services, and actors exist. In the past, electricity producers anticipated electricity demand and price levels based on their solid experience and planned electricity production accordingly. This is changing and has already changed. The electricity supply from renewable sources varies regardless of demand, increasing price volatility in the electricity market. Price spikes tend to pass through the entire electricity supply chain over time, which is apt to encourage end users to plan their consumption. With more adaptively planned consumption, factories can significantly reduce the average price of purchased electricity already - and this development is getting stronger.
Daily operations management and MES The daily operations management - from herein daily management, process of a production facility ensures distribution of important information to every employee. Production processes are often very complex, and the ability to react quickly is essential. Decisions must be made quickly based on facts. The MES system (Manufacturing Execution System) is well suited to support daily management because it deals with issues related to business process management and measured real time process information. The MES system often has relevant KPI figures ready to monitor the progress of production. The observations collected from the operators, combined with electronically collected information, enable monitoring of the efficiency of the measures taken in production and provide a basis for continuous improvement. MES brings many benefits to the daily management of a production facility. By utilizing available data correctly, it enables cost savings, improved quality, identification of bottlenecks, prediction of maintenance needs, avoidance of unexpected production interruptions, rapid response to alarms, and continuous development of production processes.
Wind power on the rise Wind power is being built in Finland at an accelerating pace. According to the Finnish Wind Power Association's statistics, there are over 50,000 megawatts worth of wind power projects at various stages in Finland. As wind power increases rapidly, it occasionally covers a significant part of the electricity system's production. However, the production and consumption of the electricity system must be constantly balanced. Such situations pose challenges for maintaining balance. Wind power can also be part of the solution to these challenges. At the same time, opportunities open up for more versatile use of wind power in the energy system, rather than just producing energy. Correspondingly, the economic potential for return on investment increases when wind turbines can be used for multiple purposes.
Until lately process industry has operated in an environment of reasonably predictable costs of energy. However, the recent turmoil in prices of natural gas and electricity is only adding to the impact of longer-term global trends in the energy markets, creating challenges to the industry.
At the moment, we are getting a lot of questions on this theme. How can the MES system improve the efficiency at the workstation under normal production conditions? How can the system support the employee during disruptions?
Wind farms are being built all over Finland, perhaps with the exception of the easternmost regions, and solar power is gaining popularity, both among private households and on an industrial scale. At the same time, Fingrid is building new connections and substations. Grid energy storage is increasing at an accelerating pace, especially in terms of capacity. These developments are somehow linked.
It is likely that everything in the universe fluctuates. Up and down, forward and back. This also applies to the pace of manufacturing of industrial products, the production rate. In all processes. At times, the process comes to a standstill, then it is re-started and accelerated, reaching top speed, then overspeed. The process is slowed down, fast and slow speed changes are made, it runs at a crawl and stops. The process is then started again and accelerated. Why?
At power plants, the process data generated by control automation is widely collected and stored, but is the collected data utilised to its full extent?
Surely, it would be easier to run the paper and pulp mills, which are so important to Finland, if all those involved in the work had a common picture of the current situation of the mill. Most of the time, however, there is no such common picture. Yet, we have the technology for it.