Technologies like A.I. will be fundamental to the next phase of power generation and supply.
The intelligence and increased connectivity of the power grid is having a seismic impact on our industry – and this is just the beginning. As much of their equipment and more of their processes become intelligent, power companies are able to be proactive in ways not seen before.
The increased connectivity and intelligence of the grid will allow power companies to predict customers’ power usage and lower the cost of power by adjusting specific power plant generation based on autonomous weather forecasts and real-time generation data from other plants. Smart meters already send data digitally to energy suppliers for more accurate energy bills. Power companies can use this data to manage demand by adjusting prices to account for the time of day and the season.
Eventually, A.I. technology will allow power plants to autonomously respond to changing demand and make their own dispatch recommendations. They will respond more effectively in real time to output from renewable sources and to varying demand from the grid. With this information, plants will be able to predict grid fluctuations and plan accordingly. Adding this capability to an existing power plant or integrating it into a new plant will add a new dynamic to power generation.
At MHPS, we’ve been primarily focused on gas turbine generators and other major equipment, but we’re now taking on predictive maintenance on the entire plant. We see this future with a power plant monitoring themselves, using historical and real-time performance data to predict component remaining life, perform self-healing functions and prevent outages to avoid expensive, unplanned downtime.
For example, our Smart M501 GAC Enhanced Response gas turbine combines M501GAC Fast-Start turbine technology with MHPS-TOMONI®, a comprehensive family of physical and digital solutions harnessing big data, analytics and human insights that can be tailored to individual plants.
MHPS-TOMONI consists of sensors, hardware, and software that work together to predict and respond to power plant equipment health in real time. With MHPS-TOMONI, operators can improve system control and run their plants more efficiently. It also optimizes operational flexibility to respond to rising renewable generation sources. The Smart Enhanced Response technology is available in both the GAC and JAC turbines to improve ramp rates from the previous version by 200%.
These digital solutions will crunch numbers with speed that humans can’t and have the foresight to address issues that haven’t occurred yet. But that doesn’t mean humans won’t have a role in the operation and maintenance of the plants — especially in the early days of the technology. The recommended actions from A.I. will require human review and approval before their implementation, creating new positions or re-assigning workers to different areas, while more effectively leveraging the expertise of an aging workforce.
Ultimately, we want power plants to optimize performance completely on their own. Greater complexity in the energy system requires more sophisticated technology to keep the grid stable and economical. Leveraging A.I. technology embedded in MHPS-TOMONI and other sophisticated digital platforms will allow us to keep up with the pace of this change in power.
The Smart Enhanced Response technology improves ramp rates from the previous version by