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Aging Assets In the Grey?

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Conventional thermal units have sustained low cost power generation for many years. Recently, I've encountered a number of units with >200-400,000 operating hours, slashed O&M budgets and expectations to perform for many years. However, with the onset of combined cycle gas generation and renewable energy, their operating modes have changed to meet energy market demands, forcing them to be operationally flexible. With reduced budgets, the future of these assets demand cost effective O&M strategies, technology and a systematic approach to help manage their useful end of life.  One of the most economical and cost-effective solutions for managing an asset is the application of performance management programs and deploying systematic processes that don't cost a fortune.  Also, enhancing an operators knowledge can help them protect assets without depleting O&M budgets by mitigating damage through assessment, deploying strategic guidelines, controls and optimization efforts that help maximize the extended useful life to get the most out of past/future investments. Change demands action and foresight helps predict the probability of future outcomes as the future of electricity continues to transform.  Growing up, my Father told me countless times, “you make your own luck.”  So, as you prepare for future opportunities with your dispatchable generating fleet, consider benchmarking and assessing your fleets flexibility. Evaluating your key performance indicators, ensuring your team understands the people and process aspects of flexible operations, while leveraging digital monitoring strategies to streamline the process is a good first step!

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Thank Stephen for the Post!

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 10, 2019 1:20 pm GMT

So, as you prepare for future opportunities with your dispatchable generating fleet, consider benchmarking and assessing your fleets flexibility. Evaluating your key performance indicators, ensuring your team understands the people and process aspects of flexible operations, while leveraging digital monitoring strategies to streamline the process is a good first step!

These are wise words. Thanks for sharing, Stephen. Do you think there's a risk, though, as the market gets increasingly competitive that operators will start to take more liberties and push their assets further, potentially up to a 'breaking point,' in the name of making the economics continue to work out? 

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