Largest Public Power Provider in the United States Hires LSI for Critical Control System Upgrade


The Situation

Western North Carolina – Courtesy of TVA

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) generates electricity from 29 power-generating dams scattered throughout the Tennessee River watershed.  The 29 dams are critical infrastructure that allows TVA to manage water levels and river flows throughout the region and generate power. These dams are operated remotely from the Hydro Dispatch Control Center (HDCC) through the Integrated River Operations Control System (IROCS).

TVA issued an RFQ to update the IROCS system, including replacing all obsolete hardware and updating the software.  After detailed discussions with TVA, LSI learned that the remote operation via HDCC needed to be possible from multiple locations.

The solution

To improve remote operations, LSI worked closely with TVA personnel and the company that originally installed the IROCS system.  The entire system architecture for 29 sites and the HDCC was re-designed, making use of technology that was not available during the original installation.  The end result provided TVA with flexible remote operations.

To update obsolete hardware and software, LSI developed detailed design packages for each site and hosted Factory Acceptance Tests to fully test each site’s controls before installation.  LSI then installed and commissioned each new site, moving each site to the new IROCS system while maintaining the operation of the existing IROCS system concurrently.  This installation approach minimized IROCS system downtime and required close coordination between LSI, TVA Hydro Generation, TVA River Forecast Center, and TVA Power System Operations.

The Results

hydroelectric generator
Hydroelectric generators

Upgrading a distributed control system (DCS) that controls critical infrastructure is an absolute necessity to maintain a reliable and secure operation. It’s also an excellent opportunity to address other areas that are providing benefits to TVA.
As a result of this project, TVA received an upgraded DCS with manufacturer support for a minimum of 10 years – complemented by modern industrial networking equipment and architecture with a robust design and diagnostics to help ensure uptime while combating increasing cybersecurity demands. TVA has also reduced operations and maintenance costs thanks to a standardized network structure and the replacement of PC hardware with virtualization technology.

Finally, TVA is benefiting from an improved strategy for managing security, which enables them to more effectively allocate resources and assets to operations while also improving cybersecurity protections.

About TVA

Headquartered in beautiful Knoxville, TN, and serving over 10 million people in Tennessee and parts of six surrounding states, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) fulfills a crucial three-part mission: affordable energy, environmental stewardship, and economic development. TVA is the largest public power provider and third-largest electricity generator in the United States, providing electricity for 153 local power companies, 57 large industrial customers, and federal installations. In addition to operating multiple wind/solar sites, fossil plants, and three nuclear power facilities, TVA generates electricity from 29 power-generating dams scattered throughout the Tennessee River watershed.

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