Siraj Taj, Principal
The global power industry is focused on transforming the way it generates and distributes electricity while managing the challenges of outdated infrastructures and risks to power system stability. These dual challenges warrant superior and deliberate asset management practices to maintain the stability of the electric power system. Without that, the transition to clean energy future and to rebuild the global economy will face significant risk.
The global power sector must effectively manage three equally critical challenges during the transition period:
1) Stabilizing electric power system
2) Curtailing global warming
3) Rebuilding the global economy
The COVID-19 pandemic has solidified the indispensable role of electricity in our lives. And it tested the resiliency and stability of the electric power system. Power generators and Utilities pulled out all the stops to produce uninterrupted electricity by extending asset operation and postponing planned maintenance work. It was necessary to stretch the limits of power generating equipment, potentially risking their service lifecycle, to meet the pressing demand for reliable electricity. We may not know the real cost of stretching the limits for some time; however, we can certainly recognize the total value of optimum asset performance to produce reliable energy during this emergency.
So, how do we navigate the transition to a clean energy future and rebuild the economy without risking the stability and resiliency of the electric power system?
Focus on the entire value-chain
Integrating renewable energy sources—solar, wind, and energy storage—will help control global warming, rising oceans, and widespread pollution by generating carbon-free electricity. However, these energy sources cannot yet reliably supply uninterrupted power to meet growing demand.
Retiring inefficient, uneconomical, and polluting coal plants will help reduce carbon pollution, but will create a shortage of reliable energy capacity that can potentially affect power system stability unless it is replaced by reliable natural gas-fired generation. The operating efficiency, flexibility, and reduced Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) make gas turbines the most reliable, sustainable, and clean source of electricity.
We must also modernize grid infrastructure by integrating microgrids, distributed energy resources, and upgrading the traditional transmission and distribution network.
Each component is a part of the total solution, but by itself can only solve part of the problem. We need a holistic solution consists of reliable power generation mix, modern grid infrastructure, and data-driven asset management practices to transform the global power industry.
The Power of Data
Several studies suggest the power industry collects about 2% of the potential data generated at a typical power plant. That means the real value of roughly 98% of plant data is lost to the investors.
We are a reliable, forward-thinking, and a strategic partner with solutions, expertise, and proven track record to create maximum asset value – extend equipment service life, reduce O&M cost, and increase profit
Superior asset management is a data-driven strategic and cross-functional process that links core areas of a power plant—Operations and Maintenance, Technology, Energy Management, regulatory compliance, Finance, etc.—to optimize the total asset performance.
ST Power Services applies proven modular technique to collect all relevant data from core areas of a power plant and converts raw data into actionable intelligence. Actionable intelligence is then shared with plant O&M team, asset management team, business operations, and energy traders for a comprehensive view of energy production and asset performance.
The benefit of using a modular technique is to implement the process in incremental steps— starting with a specific area of the plant—to quickly deliver the most value at least cost and pave the way to improve other areas of the plant. For example:
1. Operation Module: Focus on enhancing operating flexibility, fuel flexibility, extending operation, reliability, and availability. Benefit: Generate higher revenue.
2. Maintenance Module: Focus on condition-based maintenance strategy. It is a data-driven, predictive maintenance approach based on Asset Health Index (AHI). It allows the O&M team to extend equipment service life, control maintenance budget, and perform only the required maintenance work. Benefit: Increase life cycle cost savings.
3. Obsolescence Management: Focus on extending service life and performance of ageing equipment. Benefit: Maximize the use of existing equipment. If it isn’t broke, don’t replace it.
“We strive to implement a data-driven, innovative, and pragmatic process to assess the entire asset, analyze plant O&M capabilities, evaluate ageing technology, and optimize total asset performance to increase energy production and profits,” says Siraj Taj, principal of ST Power Services. “We have successfully delivered $100MM to gas-fired power plants in life cycle cost savings.”
ST Power Services collaborated with Consolidated Asset Management Services (CAMS), a pioneer in providing the energy industry a cost-effective project and asset management, and other services. “ST Power Services was highly recommended in the industry and from our peers,” said Bryan Stout, Director of Asset Management, CAMS. “They went above and beyond to ensure that our interest was protected. I would hire Siraj again to assist with future projects and I would highly recommend him and his company to my colleagues in the power industry.”
Looking ahead, ST Power Services is actively working with power plants to help them manage the impact of COVID-19 and stay resilient to rebuild the economy. “We work closely with power plants to optimize the asset performance throughout the pandemic and beyond. Electric power system stability is critical to boost economic recovery and sustain our way of life,” concludes Taj.