How to Reverse the Unsustainable Rising Costs of Power Plant O&M

In a new report, Uptake analyzed the past 20 years of data that major utilities submit to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). What we found isn’t good. The costs to maintain and operate power plants, excluding fuel costs, have soared 74 percent.

In 1998, the median cost was $6.21 per megawatt hour (MWh). Since then, the cost has soared to $10.80/MWh.

That rise isn’t sustainable, but it is reversible.

Market and regulatory pressures are forcing utilities to explore new strategies and techniques for improving their maintenance, operations and asset performance management. And for good reason: The World Economic Forum reports that digital technologies that help utilities optimize their assets have the potential to unlock $387 billion in new value for the global power industry within the next decade.1

No matter where our customers are on their digital journeys, we’ve been able to help them accelerate and capitalize. How? Uptake’s Asset Performance Management (APM) application combines industrial artificial intelligence (AI), real-time asset data and the world’s largest library of equipment failure data. The library contains the digital equivalent of 32,000 human working years of professional industry experience and 55,000 failure modes.

What does this look like in the real world?

Here are a few examples:

Nuclear

The country’s largest nuclear-generation site, Palo Verde, transformed its operations by implementing a cost-effective, value-based maintenance strategy across its facilities. Uptake’s APM application helped reduce the number of annual working hours spent on preventive and corrective maintenance by 37 percent. Together, overall capacity factor improved and resulted in $10 million of annual cost savings.

Coal and Natural Gas

Right now, Uptake is working with one of the largest global power companies at natural gas and coal plants in Central America. They are using Uptake’s APM application to improve the plants’ heat rates to produce more megawatt-hours and reduce fuel spend, and to reduce emissions and the costs associated with them. They also expect to see lower operations and maintenance costs through savings within the existing fuel supply chain.

Wind

One of the largest wind turbine owners and operators in North America uses Uptake APM for Wind. Among many improvements, Uptake increased annual energy production (AEP) by 2 percent at one of its wind farms in the first four months of 2018. This increase resulted from the ability APM gave operators to detect and address problems on critical equipment such as gearboxes, main bearings and anemometers before they break, saving money and avoiding unplanned downtime.

The upward trend in power plant operations costs that Uptake found doesn’t have to continue. Today, the tools and knowledge to end this unsustainable trend exist.

Download the report to see our full findings.

Want to learn more? Contact us to discuss the business challenges your company is facing and a purpose-built, value-based approach to digitization. We look forward to being your partner on your digital journey.

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