A salute to Microsoft partner Alstom for its success in gaining the South African utility Eskom as a customer, to provide an instrumentation and control system for Medupi, the world’s largest coal plant now under construction.

Since January 2008, when South African President Thabo Mbeki admitted the nation did not pay attention to warnings years before about coming generation shortages, the country and the company has focused on shoring up its electricity production and distribution. Eskom has launched a massive infrastructure investment program that will double the country’s electricity sector over the next 10 years, including the construction of two plants that will produce 4,800 megawatts.

Alstom will engineer, supply and install ALSPA Series 6, its state-of-the-art distributed control system and all related instrumentation, to provide Eskom’s Medupi plant with an open, secure IT platform from which it can optimize its operating costs.

The press release announcing the deal said the ALSPA Series 6 “will ensure safe, efficient monitoring and control of the plant’s critical equipment while easing Medupi’s integration into Eskom’s existing fleet of power plants.”

These new ALSPA Series 6 applications leverage Enterprise Service Bus technologies and web services to facilitate integration with back enterprise applications. The newest release of ALSPA also features a new single window human machine interface (HMI) framework, enabling operators to see large amounts of data in an easily to consume format.

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The ALSPA Series 6 is the first major product resulting from the Microsoft – Alstom collaboration to address the new "smart grid" challenges that we announced in February.

– Larry Kuhl, Worldwide Utilities Business Development and Alliance Manager