Economical control rooms for heat and power plants and supply utilities

Daily operation challenges

In the day-to-day operation of production and supply facilities many aspects must be  considered. Both external markets and taxes and internal considerations of operating finances and obligations. At the same time, the companies have a complex structure of production and supply facilities which must be exploited in the best possible way in the daily operation. On a daily basis, these questions must be adressed:

  • How do we ensure that the mandatory district heating supply is delivered and at the right quality?
  • How do we get the best possible power spot market earnings?
  • Which opportunities do we have to increase earnings on other power markets and how do we realise these earnings?
  • How are our marginal costs at present and in various operation scenarios?
  • How do we correct the production plan when unforeseen events occur?
  • Do we ensure that operation and maintenance consequences are included in daily plant operation?

Based on our in-depth specialist knowledge of power plant operation, Added Values help answer these questions.

The benefits of the economic control room

The economical control room consists of various ancilliary tools providing an effective overview, i.e. the condition of each plant and how each plant should run/operate in the nearest future. Thereby the best operating economy is achieved so that the operating staff has the best possible basis for making decisions.

An example may be that, due to lack of fan capacity, a necessary load reduction occurs at a waste-fired CHP plant. Based on technical and economic consequences, it must be decided how the missing power and district heating is to be supplied. Different alternative solutions must be compared and assessed: Turbine by-pass operation? Start of peak load boilers? Discharge of accumulator tank? Another fuel mix?

The economic control provides:

  • Assurance that the various plants facilities are utilized in the best possible way in terms of universal service/ power utililty obligation, costs and earnings in various power markets.
  • Overview of operating plan for the various facilities. This overview enables operating staff to make right decisions when unplanned incidents occur.
  • Overview of performance such as KPIs for the various facilities. This overview enables operating staff to be at the forefront and make operational decisions should unexpected situations occur.

Added Values’ completion of the task

We take on the role a project manager in the process always involving the customer and his resources available.

The steps are usually as follows:

  1. Overview of the commercially critical element of daily operation including markets, operation and maintenance
  2. Overview of existing systems that support optimization of daily operation
  3. Configuration of the best set-up for the economical control room with due consideration for existing systems and future requirements.
  4. Implementation of the economical control room including purchase and commissioning of required tools

Customer case

The customer is a utility company that owns both waste-fired heat and power plants, district heating distribution networks and peak load plants. The company expects increased complexity in future both in terms of fuels, construction and markets. Therefore, the customer needed the development and implementation of an optimized set-up for the economical control room. 

cases/skaermbillede-2021-01-04-104441.jpgInitially, the commercial requirements and the existing software and data systems were analysed.

The analysis showed that the first tools to be implemented are an efficient district heating forecast and an efficient load planning tool as they have the biggest impact. Other ancilliary tools such as performance tools and automatic balance control can wait. The tools have been implemented at the Glostrup plant and they are already adding value.

The factors crucial for obtaining added value are primarily:

  • Ease of use and accessibility for the daily use of the control room
  • The quality of the underlying technical /economical models
  • An efficient organizational set-up which ensures smooth daily use and ongoing adaptation

The further course: Once the tools mentioned have been implemented in daily operation, next step for the customer is to consider implementing a regular follow-up of the operational performance.