A 25MW shortfall that could have been prevented – a nightmare only power generators can fully appreciate. When a 600 MW combined cycle (CC) power plant experienced this operational shortfall, the impact was substantial. With seasonal demand changes and more renewable assets coming online, CC power plants find they’re operating more frequently below baseload. When operating at part load, it can be very difficult to detect performance degradation.
In this case, with no alerts in place for part load performance losses, the site did not detect the equipment degradation occurring. When summer rolled around and they were dispatched to baseload, they were unable to make their commitment to the grid, falling short by 25MW. This shortfall wasn’t detected at part load because the plant could burn more fuel and still meet demand. In addition to the significant cost of the 25MW shortfall, they lost approximately $1 million in operational efficiency while they had operated in an undetected degraded state at part load.
Urgent action needed to reliably meet energy commitments
Around the globe we see ambitious goals to increase use of renewable energy by 2030. Energy transition renewable targets vary by country. For example, by 2030 the European Union has a goal of 42.5% of electricity from renewable energy sources, the United States 80%, and India 50%.
Why it matters
When renewable energy sources are not producing enough electricity, fast-reacting fossil fuel plants can fill the renewable supply and electricity demand gap. Without advanced digital technology to detect the impact of flexible operations on performance and reliability, power utilities likely will experience more unplanned outages, along with increased fuel consumption and therefore, emissions.
“Energy must be produced in the most efficient process possible, but that cannot be achieved without tools that provide real-time visibility into asset degradation and possess the analytics and intelligence to make the necessary improvements that ensure the most optimized asset performance,” said Craig Resnick, Vice President, ARC Advisory in a press release for Performance Intelligence new Carbon Advice & Insights feature.
Power utilities that leverage technology to improve performance and reliability will reduce unplanned downtime, fuel, and emissions. Additionally, they increase chances of remaining competitive.