Cost of plant cycling in the SEM; A Report for the Irish Electricity Market Regulatory Authorities

Jorge Fernandes, David Robertson, Patrick Keatley

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review


The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) of the Republic of Ireland and the NorthernIreland Authority for Utility Regulation (NIAUR) - the Regulatory Authorities (RAs) - havedeveloped a single all-island gross pool electricity market known as the Single ElectricityMarket (SEM). The demand profile in the SEM is such that some power plants have changedfrom base load operation to two-shifting and load following. These patterns of operationimpose extra costs in term of additional damage to components associated with the nonsteadyload operation (due to mechanisms such as creep-fatigue interaction, thermal fatigue,corrosion fatigue, stress corrosion cracking etc.) in components especially in older plantdesigned for base-load operation. Extra costs are also incurred in staff re-training tounderstand and deal with the issues of cyclic operation and associated problems, deal withmore frequent component repair and replacement, lower availability rates, higher outagerates, extra plant monitoring and inspection etc. However, with experience and knowledge,well-advised utilities have been able to manage plant cyclic operation more efficiently, andwith plant modifications have been able to reduce damage and, therefore, costs.This Report discusses the impact and costs imposed on generators by following a cyclicpattern of operation. It furthermore provides advice on good practice for plant operation,monitoring and maintenance, and on modifications to the plant (for example the introductionof extra drains etc.) that need to be carried out to mitigate the effect of plant cycling, thusextending component life and increasing plant efficiency - with consequent reduction ofcarbon emissions, and reduced plant operation and maintenance costs.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUnknown Publisher
Number of pages267
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 Jul 2009

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