The power market has been subject to rapid changes over the last decade. Renewable generation capacity is contributing a measurable amount of power to the US grid and the growth rate of wind and solar installed capacity has increased by 11% annually from 2015-2018. Despite this growth, dispatchable power cannot be retired but needs to increase as well to support the intermittent nature of renewables. This is especially critical during the warm summer months where power grids are most at risk of not having capacity as a result of higher demand, and experience reduced production from combustion turbines. By making one key change, significant additional dispatchable capacity is available from the existing US combustion turbine fleet without installing more turbines.
Every component of your control system – from controllers, I/O cards and network equipment to computers and software – has an expectant lifecycle. If any component of the control system is at or near its end-of-life phase, the potential risk for production shut-down is significantly increased. Therefore, it is critical to know the age of all components of your control system, whether your system hardware and software are still supported by the manufacturer and the availability of spare parts so that you can avoid costly unplanned downtime.
Chilled water plants are sophisticated assets comprised of mechanical and electrical systems controlled by programmable logic controllers (PLCs). They play a critical role in the operation of a wide range of facilities, including power plants, industrial facilities and data centers, and are often designed to function with minimal operator interaction. However, even the most intelligent systems degrade over time and require some amount of service and tuning to maintain optimal performance.
“Sure, we have plenty of space….”
Often times that is the response we receive when we have to add equipment to an existing, or nearly complete design. While there may be physical space for the equipment in question, the space requirements imposed by the National Electrical Code or other regulations around electrical equipment often make a seemingly ample-sized space just too small. Some reasons for regulatory requirements for space around electrical and other equipment include: means of egress from an enclosed space in the event of a fire, door swing clearance for protection of personnel, electrical working clearances for the protection of electrical workers, fire safety equipment access (such as fire extinguishers), and equipment operational space where manual manipulation of equipment is necessary for operations personnel.
Not Just More Megawatts, Better Megawatts: The Case for Combined Cycle Output Augmentation in a Low Power Price Environment
Currently, the fragmented U.S. wholesale power markets do not face a scarcity of megawatts, as evidenced by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) recent Summer Reliability Assessment and reported by Public Power Daily here.
However, this does not suggest turbine inlet air chilling (TIAC) is not a valuable resource for U.S. power generators. TIAC quickly elevates a combined cycle unit’s productive capacity during challenging ambient conditions. The benefits of the additional megawatts produced from low-heat rate/low-cost generation resources may be evaluated on a relative (better) or absolute (more) basis.
More than 10 years ago, power plants were traditionally stick-built, with each building custom designed and made for that particular plant. The major benefits of this approach were maintenance access and lowest equipment pricing, since a substantial portion of the work was being completed in the field.
The changes in U.S. electricity supply and usage levels are rapidly reshaping utility load profiles and thus generation and transmission requirements for both new and existing resources.
The recent discovery of relatively cheap natural gas in the U.S. and growing use of the fuel as a baseload power generation source has also coincided with the rapid adoption of renewable resources in many parts of the U.S. These new components of the electricity supply stack continue to displace more traditional and older forms of baseload power generation, coal and nuclear units, for both economic and public policy motivations. Unfortunately, these growing pieces of the U.S. generation supply side all are subject to weather related intermittency.