Image credits: Scott Webb
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News Article

Immediate Solutions for Power Producers

By Cinthya Alaniz Salazar | Thu, 10/21/2021 - 19:34

With foreseeable greenhouse gas reduction mandates in the horizon, power producers are looking for immediate solutions as their PPA’s are set to expire. This is why natural gas cogeneration and AI guided energy storage solutions will allow companies to maximize existing infrastructure, increase efficiency all while providing significant short-term returns.

Once a risky and unfeasible option, cogeneration has emerged as the most sensible solution to power producers and national decarbonization efforts. Previously, the wide adoption of this solution had been inhibited by the known monopolization of LNG supply and an unpaid infrastructure and technology curb. Since then, however, the supply market has become more diverse and with the support of national governments the necessary infrastructure needed for transport has been built, thereby making gaseous fuels a realistic and low risk input fuel.

This initial concern has been addressed and now power producers can focus on examining the benefits that cogeneration provides starting with leveraging initial investments required to construct existing infrastructure. Gas conversion and plant rehabilitation expands the life of existing engine power plants which in their time had required investments between US$10 to US$100 million. This is highly pertinent for producers that are concerned about major overhaul expenses or penalties as legislators gauge corporate GHG emission caps and reduction mandates. Moreover, as an increased number of  producers look to employ this solution, companies also stand to receive early payback, typically 1.5 to 3 years—and possibly less if timed correctly.

“Overall, cogeneration offers a low risk, highly competitive, low carbon project that will be reliable over the next 10 - 15 years with excellent payback” says Carl Dunaway, GM of Projects & Renewables at the Wärtsilä Flexible Power Symposium.

Since, ultimately, the goal of the energy transition is to depend fully on clean energies producers will also have to eventually consider the adaptation of energy storage and artificial intelligence as central fixtures. The realization of this built capacity is saliently important for national infrastructure given than grid stability starts to become  instable after more than 20 percent of renewable energy is introduced said Dunaway. AI guided energy storage will make maximum use of existing renewables and optimize energy output.

This is not to say that this technology cannot be applied to engine power plants however, clarified Dunaway. This technology has already been applied to “island mode” or small-scale projects which are optimal for isolated energy centers or remote mining projects. Already such projects have demonstrated annual savings between US$2 – US$3 million, reduce fuel consumption by 3 to 7 percent with observable returns with 2.5 and 3.5 years.

Both solutions stand to be optimized and maintained overtime with guaranteed performance and cost reduction agreements. A tailored solution with automated data feedback will ensure the continuous optimal performance. Moreover, clients will be able to rely on technical support and expert feedback remotely or on the ground as needed. Maintenance and management analysis can also be handed off which can allow outside industry sectors to focus on their field.

Conclusively, we can expect these accessible solutions to begin to proliferate as private and state actors ramp up their decarbonization efforts.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Wärtsilä
Photo by:   Scott Webb
Cinthya Alaniz Salazar Cinthya Alaniz Salazar Journalist & Industry Analyst