Resilient Utility Control Center BAW Architecture

Designing A Resilient Utility Control Center


Investing in your electric utility’s physical and cyber security can reduce the impact of a disturbance or outage.

In the U.S. and around the world, public and private electric utilities are investing in infrastructure to reduce the risk of major electric outages. Specifically, the objective is to improve the “resiliency” of the entire electric distribution system. Or more simply put, the goal is to make sure that if there is a disturbance or outage, the impact is minimized, and the system can be restored quickly. Contact us today to learn more.

This objective is fully aligned with BAW’s experience in other industries, where the operational strategies are intended to ensure that the operators in the control centers have the information they need, when they need it, to make decisions and take actions that will improve the resiliency of the overall system.

A BAW-designed control center can support the electric utility industries resiliency goals directly because the physical security and cybersecurity of the utilities facilities are typically monitored from a control room. BAW’s experience applying human factors engineering (HFE) is focused on visualization of the system and physical layout of the space to improve situational awareness in the control room. By using an operator-centric approach and best HFE practices, operators can quickly respond to any and all disturbances. That is what we have done for the past 30 years for clients around the globe in the utilities, oil and gas, chemicals, mining and transportation industries.

Align your human operator with your technology

Today’s technology gives us a lot information and can help us make simple decisions, but as the complexity of the electricity-related control systems increases, operators need more information from diverse software and devices at their fingertips to make decisions that will keep the transmission networks safe and reliable. Complicating this further, the timescales for getting the information needed to act continues to shorten, adding stress to the operators and increasing the risk of errors. Until technology advances to a point of replacing intelligent human decision making, BAW control center design can help align your human operator with your technology in a seamless fashion that will lead to reduced risk.

BAW has direct experience providing solutions to  utility Industry challenges through our process of control room and control building design. Our time-tested process for supporting clients with mission-critical control centers in energy industries around the world are known for improving the operator situational awareness and responsiveness to high-risk decision making. This results in reducing errors that could lead to larger, cascading outages. We know that maintaining physical and cyber situational awareness is key. Lack of situational awareness has been a contributing factor in a number of recent large-scale outages.

We also have 30 years of experience providing guidance on the human–computer interface and visualization that improves reliability and resilience.

A one-stop shop for NERC, CIP and HEMP compliance

The control center for any electric utility must be designed and operated in a way that allows it to tolerate both accidental faults (human errors), malicious attacks (physical or cyber) and acts of nature (such as a hurricane or fire). How the control center is designed must consider how the operators need to respond to such incidents. Furthermore, as part of the critical infrastructure, a utility’s control center needs to comply to national and local standards. BAW can also support control center design with associated NERC, CIP and HEMP expertise.

At BAW we can guide you through the process to understand the optimal control room layout, lighting, acoustics, and visualization tools to reduce your risk and improve the resiliency of the electric utility. Contact us today to learn more.

The BAW team will expertly guide your project, optimally integrating all facets of your new utilities facility across the full spectrum of multidisciplinary consultant specialties. We seamlessly integrate architecture, human factors engineering, ergonomics, console layout, interior design, acoustics, lighting, landscape architecture, civil, structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering, sustainability, low voltage wiring,  audio-visual, telecom, and security components, utilizing a team of subject matter experts unmatched in the industry.

This is a highly technical, challenging industry. The stakes are very high. We offer the necessary knowledge, expertise, endurance and tenacity to see your project through to completion and optimal functionality. Your new control center must function as a state-of-the-art facility— which is why we refer to these projects as a “once in a generation opportunity” to get it right.

Contact us today to learn more.

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