Optimization - A Priority in Utility Business Models

Power producers should consider optimizing their power generation assets.
Published: Mon 14 Apr 2014

The global energy market is expected to see electricity demand escalate by more than half its current level by 2035, thanks to a growing world population. This is according to the US Energy Information Administration.

This escalated demand and consumption will exceed the renewable rate at which many resources can be generated and, as a result, the overall sustainability of today’s lifestyle could be in jeopardy. This increase in demand and the dwindling supply of non-renewable resources should be a cause for concern and utilities need to start devising a plan in order to reduce the risk.

Optimization-maximizing availability

Normally, utilities respond by increasing power levels and building the infrastructure to support it. However, there are other options that can save valuable time, money and resources.

Utilities are beginning to understand the value of optimizing resources instead of spending money on extra generators and power plants.

New dynamic real-time optimization technologies are available to utilities and these are changing the way utilities view the power grid, as well as how they deal with unplanned interruptions.

Dynamic real-time resource optimization software can be used to meet network level loads whilst reducing overall operating costs and use of network assets.

In addition to this, the optimization engine enables real-time disruption recovery. For instance, when closing down a power source unexpectedly, the engine has the ability to provide a new actionable recovery plan in 0.03 seconds that allowed the operation to maintain the same level of power output with fewer resources.

By applying advanced analytical tools to help optimize fuel supply, emissions and wholesale electricity markets, owners of multiple power generation assets can reduce uncertainty and portfolio risk as they improve the agility of the assets and drive investment through scenario-based analyses.

Same power, less resources

Optimization is allowing utilities to distribute the same amount of power (and perhaps even more now), drawing on less power sources.

Optimization solutions for can be applied across the entire life cycle of power- from the acquisition of fuels to generate power to the marketing and trading of power. Generation fueled by natural gas, coal, nuclear, solar, wind and hydro can be managed a lot more efficiently by capturing and managing all parameters of each asset in the power generation portfolio.

With demand on the increase and resources on the decrease, the possibilities and implications for the utility are tremendous. Utilities now have the ability to shut down ageing and inefficient power plants without having to necessarily replace them. This is becoming a realistic option for consideration, thanks to optimization technologies.

Generators can make informed decisions on future generation investments while making the most of existing generation assets.

As the energy market begins to buckle under the strain of a growing electricity demand, perhaps it is time for utilities to adopt a modern and sophisticated view of their business strategies when planning for the future.