This past July, ARC Advisory Group held its annual industry forum, “Industry in Transition – Realizing the Digital Enterprise” in Bangalore. A joint presentation by silver sponsor, Steag, provided a comprehensive assessment of technology trends in India’s power sector. The speakers Rajbans Talwar, Consultant in Optimization; and Shaunak, Deputy General Manager, highlighted the business advantages of a converged information and operational technology (IT-OT) system from the perspective of Steag’s technology offerings.
Mr. Talwar focused on how availability-based tariff (ABT) and merit order rating (MOR) can help power plants achieve optimal performance efficiency while complying with government regulations. According to Mr. Talwar, the current business environment calls for easy access to plant operational data, real-time performance management, and enhanced predictive maintenance. Hence, all the plant-level operational information should be validated, archived, and analyzed with the help of IT-OT convergence to enable decision-makers to make better operational decisions.
Key takeaways from Steag’s presentation include:
Encourage IT-OT convergence
Implement innovative and cost-effective technologies at the plant level
Ensure process compliance to standards and regulations
ABT and MOR
ABT provides a rational pricing mechanism for supplying energy from generating stations to final consumers on a contract basis. The main objectives have been to reduce power loss, address grid disturbance issues, encourage grid discipline and MOR, promote trade in energy and capacity, and improve the overall quality of power supply. ABT consists of three components:
Capacity charge – reimbursement of the fixed cost of the plant
Energy charge – fuel cost for scheduled generation
Unscheduled interchange charge – payment for deviations from schedule
MOR Generation Units under ABT
When integrated with MOR, ABT-based scheduling solutions can provide cost-effective energy management solutions for power plants with multiple generating units. They also help optimize the margin between revenue from units exported to grid and their cost of generation, with minimum unit ramp-up and ramp-down rates. Based on a station’s varying requirements, the MOR module helps identify a loading pattern for individual units. This will help minimize generation costs, while ensuring no deviations in scheduled and actual generation, and compliance to government regulations and operating practices. The cost of generation for each unit is estimated using historical data, and performance enhancement techniques are applied to optimize the generating capacity of each unit.
Steag has successfully implemented its integrated scheduling solutions in a number of private and public sector companies, delivering the following benefits:
Improved power reliability and quality
Enhanced grid discipline
Ensured economic load dispatch
Offered economically viable power and better optimization of energy
Helped plants comply with regulations and maximize business revenue
According to Mr. Talwar, implementing integrated ABT/MOR solutions is a necessary development for restructuring the Indian power sector and enhancing the reliability of power systems; the mechanism faces a few challenges. These include ensuring uninterrupted operation of the grid and adequate load-supply balance in the grid, attaining optimum utilization of available generation capacities, eliminating deviations in scheduled and actual generation, etc.
Computerized Maintenance Management System
The session continued with the second topic led by Mr. Shaunak, who provided a summary of the importance of an effective maintenance management system for the smooth and efficient functioning of a power plant. Machinery and equipment need to be maintained and updated regularly for optimum performance and durability. His presentation focused on Steag’s maintenance management offerings.
SI/PAM, a scalable and innovative computerized maintenance management system, manages a wide range of technical operations and handles the diverse challenges of highly complex plants through more efficient and intelligent operational procedures and strategies. The solution supports various operations within a plant, including maintenance & operation management, document management, warehouse management, safety/regulation management, etc. A few of the industries in which the SI/PAM solution can be applied include:
Renewable power generation
Conventional power generation
He believes that functional capabilities such as complete documentation of plant history, organization of operational procedures, automatic determination of responsibilities, integrated safety practices, technically oriented cost tracking, effective mobile solutions, bar code reading capability, and intelligent and economically efficient maintenance strategies make SI/PAM a future-oriented choice for various plant maintenance management requirements.
iRENYSIS, an intelligent reporting and analysis solution, helps integrate data from different systems, including distributed control system, performance monitoring system, and maintenance management system. The solution offers a flexible platform for creating dashboards and generating reports (on a daily, weekly, monthly basis) and provides a role-based, single point of access to these reports and dashboards. It has features that facilitate the inclusion of customer-specific data for reporting the operating costs. It generates automated, consolidated reports of power plant operations and maintenance requirements and provides users with faster access to historical data without any reliance on IT personnel.
These presentations provided thoughtful insights into current automation trends in the energy sector. Much of the discussion was centered on the importance of IT-OT convergence for better monitoring of plant operations and integration of performance data from different systems/verticals. Innovative and fully integrated energy and maintenance management solutions offered by Steag are designed to help power plants improve the quality and reliability of power supply, simplify operations, improve asset performance, reduce operating costs, meet government regulatory norms, and achieve higher efficiency with effective strategies.
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Keywords: Energy Management, Maintenance Management, ARC India Forum, Steag, ARC Advisory Group.