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Title: Cyclic operation of base load thermal plant in the Irish power system in high wind energy penetration scenarios
Author: Keatley, Patrick
ISNI:       0000 0004 2725 5548
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2011
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In recent years the Irish power system has undergone a series of significant changes. An all-island competitive market has replaced jurisdictional electricity utilities and priority dispatch renewable energy sources, principally wind power, now represent a substantial proportion of total generation capacity. This has resulted in changed operating conditions for many large thermal generators, which are now frequently required to stop, start and vary output in order to meet fluctuating net demand in accordance with their place in the merit order. Such variable operation over extended periods results in the initiation of damage mechanisms which their systems and components were not designed to withstand. Industry reports and academic literature on the engineering and economic implications of such off-design operation are reviewed. The results of the All-island Grid Study into the integration of large amounts of variable renewable energy into the Irish system are analyzed. Some of the thermal unit characteristics used in the Grid Study are found to be incorrect, resulting in operational profiles which are unrealistic. The Grid Study scenarios are simulated using correct data, resulting in significant reductions in the forecast benefits of high levels of renewable energy. A joint academic/commercial engineering consultancy project examining the impacts and costs of cyclic operation of Irish base load units is described. Technical and economic data from the study and from the database of the company involved are analyzed. Two key correlations for large thermal units are identified: one relating unit age in calendar years to total lifetime starts, and another relating total lifetime starts to the mean annual cost of cyclic operation. These relationships are used to develop a novel methodology to forecast the annual and per-start costs for cyclic operation of a typical large thermal unit in a range of future cycling scenarios. The methodology is used to create estimates for the likely number of lifetime starts accumulated by units in the Irish system by 2020 in three wind-penetration scenarios, along with corresponding per-start costs. The per-start costs are then included in one of two parallel sets of simulations modeled using the PLEXOS simulation tool. The results of the simulations show that the inclusion of per-start costs significantly affects unit scheduling, operational costs, C02 emissions and system marginal price. Recommendations for further research are made.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available