With a £14.95BN market cap and 20,000 employees, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) is UK’s broadest-based energy company. Its capabilities include power generation, transmission, distribution, supply, and services. It is also Ireland’s fastest growing energy company. The outturn availability of the thermal generation fleet was an area of improvement focus for SSE due to a number of specific technical power plant failures over the last several years. SSE identified the following objectives to help improve the maintenance profile:
- Detect potential power plant failures earlier and prevent past failures from reoccurring
- Increase power plant availability and reliability
- Manage and control CAPEX
- Reduce insurance cost
- Implement a power plant condition-based maintenance and monitoring system
With GE’s Asset Performance Management (APM) solution, SSE was able to turn data into actionable knowledge for the operating staff. SSE created an Equipment Performance Center (EPC) to continuously monitor asset health reliability for over 11 different locations. The asset health management system tracks factors such as combustion dynamics, turbine vibration analysis, boiler temperatures, creep analysis, and safety case management. Power plant predictive analytics drive model-based condition monitoring, allowing SSE to understand pending issues before they become production problems, allowing proactive action to avoid unplanned outages.
As part of the upgrade, OpFlex AutoTune DX and OpFlex Cold Day Performance were installed to obtain even more performance from the hardware, and to ensure robust turbine operation and emissions compliance at the increased output levels even as weather and fuel supplies varied.
SSE has experienced a significant reduction in plant failures since the introduction of GE’s APM solution, resulting in increased power plant availability, reliability and production. Early failure detection has resulted in savings of approximately £3MM per year. The EPC is now armed to monitor multiple power plant site operations efficiently with confidence to understand pending failures. Overall insurance costs have been reduced (£7.5MM per year) and with improved maintenance, SSE expects a greater control over CAPEX.