For a typical gas-fired plant, a digital
twin can save up to $50 million over
the remaining life of the plant, GE said.
For a new gas plant, the savings could
be as much as $230 million. For a new
wind farm, up to $100 million in savings could be realized. The benefits
include lower fuel costs, lower emissions, increased
The digital twin can
be used to run
optimum operating conditions and become better at predicting and preventing a failure.
GE’s software solution is being
applied to the gas-fired units of New
Jersey’s Public Service Enterprise
Group, while Exelon is using it to boost
the efficiency of its nuclear, gas and
wind power assets.
More power producers are expected
to sign up for GE’s eye-opening
“Our industry is on the precipice
of a digital revolution,” said Michael
Pacilio, executive vice president and
chief operating officer of Exelon
“For merchant generators, every bit
of efficiency and productivity matters
to our bottom line,” said Rich Lopriore,
president of PSEG Fossil. “Having the
best power generation technology --
both physical and digital -- is critical to
Increased use of renewables,
Welcome to the age of big data. The power sector has been slow to take advantage
of the explosion of new data spawned by
more sensors and new software, but the
industry is beginning to get in cadence
with the march toward quantification.
A typical gas-fired power plant
is equipped with more than
10,000 sensors. They measure and
communicate movement, vibration,
temperature, humidity and chemical
changes in the air and water. But only
a fraction of that data is analyzed and
quantified for the day-to-day operation
and maintenance of a power plant.
The opportunities to exploit that data
and make sense of the information to
trim costs, increase sales and boost
efficiency are growing at breakneck
speed thanks to new analytical
software solutions and services.
Opportunity is knocking for power
generators in desperate pursuit of
increased efficiency amid flat or
declining demand for electricity.
Perhaps the most notable
opportunity is GE Power’s Predix, a
software platform that enables power
producers to create a virtual power
plant that runs in the cloud. The
technology, unveiled in September,
allows power producers to create a
digital twin of an existing power plant.
The “Digital Power Plant” offers power
plant managers a real-time simulation
of conditions inside the actual power
plant, allowing operators to make
quick adjustments and fixes to keep the
plant running as efficiently as possible.
It can be used to manage any asset in a
power plant, GE said.
resiliency issues and sustainability
concerns are just a few drivers behind
the industry’s need to transform,
and “digitization is the single biggest
enabler of that change,” said Steve
Bolze, CEO of GE Power.
But GE’s software solution is one of
many examples of asset management
tools being developed by the
power sector to
improve efficiency and performance. A major
digital transformation of centralized power
is underway. The Digital Power Plant
and technologies like it will ultimately
become a working tool for every power
plant manager in the world.
Flexibility is perhaps the greatest
challenge facing power producers
struggling to integrate growing supplies of intermittent wind and solar
power into the grid. The Digital Power
Plant and technologies like it will help
the industry meet that challenge.
That is why POWER-GEN International is developing a new conference track entitled “The Digital Power Plant,” which will center on issues
surrounding advanced analytics, sensors, motion and control innovations,
software solutions, and the Internet of
We’re recruiting committee
members for this very important
track now. To nominate someone,
contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow me on Twitter @RussellRay1.
of BIG Data
BY RUSSELL RAY, CHIEF EDITOR
“Our industry is on
the precipice of a
-- Michael Pacilio, Exelon