Optimising operational efficiency

We invest to optimise the performance of our assets in an effort to pursue excellence in our operations and endeavour to deliver world-class energy products and services.
Material Topic : Disaster Emergency Planning and Response
Material Topic : Plant Decommissioning
Material Topic : System Efficiency

Planning for efficiency

We are constantly identifying opportunities to improve the operational efficiency of all our assets. Such efforts start from the beginning at the project planning stage, where selecting a site that can maximise the yield from wind and solar power, or the prudent selection of best available technology, are critical in determining the operational efficiency or capacity factor range of the asset through its entire life. Quite often, the choice of site, technology and energy source may be constrained by incumbent project requirements which are typically set by the local authority or government. However, even if the type of energy source to be used is already set, such as coal, gas or renewable energy, we can still choose the most efficient technology that is available to maximise project value.

For example, in Hong Kong, the additional new gas-fired generation unit being constructed at Black Point Power Station features an advanced design with a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) configuration that would give it an efficiency of around 60%. This is currently amongst the highest in commercial operation in the world and is significantly higher than that of the existing gas-fired units in Hong Kong. The design allows for greater electricity output without the use of additional fuel, leading to a reduction in emissions intensity. In addition, the installation of an advanced Selective Catalytic Reduction system can further reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx).


Maintaining asset quality

The group-wide Asset Mangement System (AMS) Standard was developed in 2016 to standardise key practices in asset management across different markets. It sets out a framework to ensure that we follow industry best practices.

For plants already in operation, we continued to invest in operational efficiency improvement initiatives. These efforts allow us to maintain our standards of efficiency for our plants across the Group and to meet increasingly stringent regulations on emissions and fuel efficiency in certain jurisdictions.

New technologies supporting data processing, storage and management continue to advance and has become increasingly more affordable and accessible. Consequently, the opportunities arising from big data and data analytics are also increasing, with a wide range of potential applications including performance optimisation.

As our fossil-fuelled assets age, not only will their operational efficiency decline, but the probability of plant component failure will also increase. The ability to detect anomalies in performance or potential premature failure so that we can take appropriate mitigative actions in a timely manner, can help slow down the decline in operational efficiency and reduce the probability of unplanned disruptions to our operations. In 2017, we embarked on a pilot project in Hong Kong to test a new innovative product on its ability to detect premature failure as well as to provide deeper insights into operational trends and performance optimisation. Results will be assessed in early 2018 and the next steps will be determined, with a view to making improvements to overall asset fleet performance by making use of data analytics and insights.


Most Material Topic : Energy

Operational efficiency improvement

Operational efficiency improvement projects carried out at our plants in 2017 included:

  • At Black Point Power Station in Hong Kong, with the successful gas turbine upgrade in one of the eight units in 2016, two more gas turbine units are being upgraded in 2018. After the completion, generation capacity is expected to increase by 25MW for each gas unit in addition to a reduction in nitrogen oxides emissions as well as improvements in fuel efficiency.
  • In Mainland China, we completed the emission control retrofit at our Fangchenggang power station for one of the two supercritical units of Phase I in 2017 to ensure compliance with China’s 2020 emissions requirements. After the retrofit, the coal consumption per unit MWh sent out of generating unit is expected to be reduced by about 1.6%.
  • At our Mount Piper Power Station in Australia, there had been a deterioration in performance over a number of years due to deposition on the steam turbine blades. Following the successful refurbishment of unit one in 2016, we undertook a major outage on our second unit in 2017 to remove further deposition. Unit two improved its capacity from 640MW up to 700MW following the shutdown. As a result of this work, efficiency has improved by over 2%.
  • Also at Mount Piper Power Station, in partnership with Re.Group and funded in part by ARENA, we assessed the viability of a new project to recover the energy embedded in non-recyclable waste materials and turning it into electricity.  The proposed A$160M energy recovery project is an Australian first and allows Mt Piper to produce more energy for the same amount of coal burnt.  The feasibility study showed that the project is viable and could generate an additional 27MW of electricity, enough to power 40,000 homes.  A decision whether to proceed with the project will be taken in 2019 with first energy production scheduled for 2021.

 


Operational Excellence in our renewable energy assets

At CLP we believe it is important to focus not only on growth opportunities but also the optimisation of operational assets to improve energy yield and efficiency. CLP has strived to improve performance through implementation of innovative new technologies at several operational sites. Two data analytics trial projects were conducted at our renewable energy assets in both Mainland China and India. The projects aimed to provide insights into operational efficiency by conducting modelling based on historical operational data and comparing with real data collected from sites. Alerts are then generated when discrepancies with past performance are identified and appropriate maintenance activities can be suggested.

Using data analytics at Chandgarh wind farm in India, we successfully identified several issues on wind turbine performance including yaw, pitch and torque anomalies. These anomalies had caused generation losses ranging from 50 to over 400MWh per turbine per year. After investigation, they were attributed to shifts in wind vane position on the nacelle and settings in the control software. Together with the data analytics and on-site maintenance team, rectifications were carried out, leading to improvements in performance.

In Qian’an wind farm in Mainland China, the data analytics platform successfully predicted several component failures including anemometer, pitch drive and generator. Upon receiving the pre-fault alarm from the platform, the maintenance team can now inspect each component on site and has sufficient time to prepare all required materials and logistics if maintenance is required. This advanced identification of failure is helping to improve the availability of CLP’s wind turbines and the minimisation of generation losses.

Transmission network enhancement

To meet Hong Kong’s electricity demand growth, we review future transmission network developments annually in accordance with the latest system maximum demand forecast, area load growth, infrastructure development and generation development. We have developed maintenance and improvement programmes annually for major assets, based on the analysis of current conditions and performance of assets, level of investment and risk.

We continue to improve the reliability of our power supply network. Apart from vegetation management and third-party damage prevention programmes, various measures are taken to further enhance network reliability and minimise customer supply interruption. Some examples are:

  • Installing on-line condition monitoring systems for switchgear and transformers to allow real-time monitoring and detection of incipient fault conditions;
  • Continuing the reinforcement of the towers for 400kV overhead lines against super typhoons and refurbishment of switchgear; and
  • Conducting regular reviews and targeted studies on network performance to drive continual improvement.

Demand-side management

As part of our continuous efforts to drive towards a greener future, CLP is stepping up our Demand Side Management (DSM) measures. Our Customer Service Quality Policy also commits us to supporting our customers to use our products and services efficiently and effectively.

 

Energy management offers mutual benefits to our customers and our business. DSM aims to reduce customers’ peak electricity demand to achieve energy efficiency through closer customer engagement. By applying new technology and increasing customers’ awareness of energy consumption, their electricity demand can be lowered. For customers, the bill can be reduced, and for power companies, new investment in electricity infrastructure can be deferred.

 

Some of our key initiatives in this area are:

  • Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), which is a core component of a smart grid. It is an integrated system that comprises smart meters and communication technologies. AMI allows customers to keep track of their electricity consumption and receive alerts on their mobile devices if their energy usage approaches pre-selected consumption levels. In 2013, we introduced myEnergy Pilot Programme, the first end-to-end AMI solution offered by a utility in Southeast Asia.
  • Smart Energy Programme, which is a one-year pilot scheme launched in June 2017 to build on the success of the myEnergy Pilot Programme. With smart meters and the AMI system made available for 26,000 selected residential customers in urban areas, they are encouraged to adjust their consumption behavior to lower their electricity consumption at peak times and to save on electricity bills through promotions and a reward scheme. This programme has enabled us to test the potential for rebate and special pricing programmes to encourage the more efficient use of our asset base and looks ahead to the implementation of a large scale residential demand response programme enabled by Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) in Hong Kong in the future, if approved by the government.
  • Demand Response (DR) Programme, which makes use of Smart Grid technology and AMI applications to enable the overall reduction of consumption when electricity demand is extremely high. Since 2013, we have been offering DR programmes to businesses and industrial customers and these programmes will now be recognised under the new Scheme of Control with effect from the summer of 2019, when additional incentives will be offered to CLP if DR targets are met.

In 2017, EnergyAustralia committed to deliver around 50MW of “demand response” reserve capacity across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia as part of a pilot programme organised by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). It is the largest single commitment in the three-year demand response trial. The programme aims to secure 160MW of capacity which can be called upon at short notice should availability in the national electricity market fall to critical levels.


Read our approach to demand-side management