Operations Performance Management for Power Generation
E.ON is one of the UK’s leading power and gas companies—generating electricity, and retailing power and gas.
Many gas-fired combined cycle power plants in Europe are unable to be economically dispatched due to high gas prices, low power demand, and low power sale prices.
Plants that ran 4,000+ hours per year, now see fewer than 1,000 hours of profitable operation. Even that is often only possible in real-time power markets and only when spark spreads are high, such as when intermittent renewable power (wind, for example) needs to be quickly replaced).
Successful operation in this time-sensitive environment requires combined cycle plant starts that are fast, reliable, and low-cost, similar to what is possible with simple cycle plants.
GE, in partnership with E.ON, developed an advanced controls technology retrofit package that enables agile and robust combined cycle starts. This package consists of GE’s Variable Load Path (VLP) solution, which enables GT load and exhaust conditions to be customized to best match bottoming cycle needs, plus GE AutoTune MX solution, which provides fully automated combustor tuning to ensure robust GT operation across the full load range and whole VLP operating space.
With Variable Load Path and AutoTune MX, E.ON demonstrated 40% faster and 50% less costly combined cycle plant starts, resulting in up to 60% more operating hours and starts compared to non-upgraded plants.
The solution has been proven in operation on more than 10 units at 5 different sites since 2013, with more than 20,000 cumulative hours and 1,000 starts through December 2015.