How to Turn Standby Generation Into Profit-Making Assets
It does not make sense to ignore assets, leaving them idle, collecting dust and slowly degenerating (excuse the pun). Ask yourself why we spend thousands of pounds on standby generation just to have it lying dormant, gathering dust? Surely it makes much more sense to generate a profit from at least some of these assets.
With the continued expansion of wind energy the national grid need to increase their ability to cope with power fluctuations. They are already discussing ways in which they can encourage increased participation in Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR).
What is the solution? One solution is to increase use of embedded generation
What do we expect from a standby generator? To run once in a blue moon, start first time, take the entire load thrown at it and to do this without a cough or splutter. Strangely enough all too frequently the emergency arrives only to find the generator won’t start as the battery is flat or the fuel is not getting through or it fails during the run. It’s not surprising really. If the generator was a person and we expected immediate response at premium performance we would do something more that just sit around like some couch potato. We would join a gym, do regular exercise and have regular checks to make sure we were in tip top condition.
Did you know that regularly operating generators on load is like going to the gym? The set gets up to operating temperature, oil, coolant and additives are circulated throughout the set. Moisture is dispersed, fuel is used and re-circulated, batteries are discharged and re-charged, bearings are rotated etc, etc. Also as you are putting the set on load you are putting it through its paces and under strain. This can bring out any underlying issues that can be addressed straightaway to ensure there are no problems when the set is called to run in an emergency on a dark stormy night.
If you had the choice between couch potato or an athlete in tip top condition, which would you choose? The concept of the Wessex Water Load Management system is simple. The set is modified to allow it to run in parallel with the mains. A remote control panel is installed, which enables the set to be started and stopped whenever required. Combining a number of sets on the system enables Wessex Water to offer services such as load reduction and triad avoidance to 3rd parties. The income from these services can be used to finance additional maintenance and repairs and still make a profit. By using the Wessex Water Load Management system and modifying a set you are able to run the sets regularly, address any issues that arise in a timely fashion and earn a little extra.
How have Wessex Water done this? Their system currently has 34 sets on it which can either be run individually or at the same time. They can start or stop the whole portfolio within minutes or schedule a run for some time in the future. During a run someone watches for any abnormalities and takes appropriate action. The income and avoided costs encounter are partly re-invested in maintenance and taken as profit.
Depending on where you are in the country effects the value of what you can make because a large percentage of the value is in Triad avoidance or export. In the south west you can earn up to £20,000/MW, which soon mounts up if you have 10MW of sets available. It is not usually cost effective to use sets that are smaller than <500kVA as the payback is too long.
If you are interested to find out more on how Wessex Water Enterprises system works or are interested in WWE managing a portfolio of sets for you please contact Wayne Boakes on 07831 140534.
Services WWE can offer include survey of your assets to identify potential sets. Compile estimates of cost for conversion, manage conversion, operate and maintain and pay an access fee for the privilege.
Please note: None of the comments below are from the author of this paper, Wayne Boakes, but varous Claverton users.
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