The recent Arctic Blast affecting the U.S. in February 2021 showed us once again the critical nature of managing power systems in extreme high-demand periods
Temp-Pro’s reputation in the Power Generation industry has been proven over the decades, as our company plays an important role in the management of temperature shifts in an industrial environment. Power-generating equipment is quite sensitive and forced outages are sometimes a necessity for mitigating the dynamics of this industry. However, it is important to keep in mind how effective temperature monitoring can help power plant operators remain effective in maintaining asset reliability.
Monitoring the performance of power generation equipment is a requirement of the industry and it also involves government-mandated reliability measurements such as WEFOR. An acronym for Weighed Equivalent Forced Outage Rate, WEFOR is a carefully-monitored metric that examines how probable it is for a power plant to miss delivering the expected power required as a result of a forced outage.
Such an important metric allows power plant equipment operators to maintain a close eye on how they manage the potential for a forced outage. In addition, using WEFOR as a probability calculation provides a pathway to preparing for challenges ahead–including the potential for a forced outage during a severe weather event like the Arctic “cold snap” that affected a great part of the United States this winter.
Now, it should be noted WEFOR has actually been decreasing in the United States, despite the recent cold weather events. Using temperature sensors throughout the power generating system can ensure safeguards to monitor and manage equipment with a more careful and planned approach to outages, which can result in increased availability during periods of high demand.
Monitoring the temperature levels and shifts on equipment such as boiler tube leaks, but also on gas or steam turbines and generators, can help a power plant operator determine maintenance needs ahead of high demand periods when this equipment is more likely to fail. After all, there is a proven correlation between maintenance proactivity and mechanical failures in the absence of the timely repair of temperature measurement equipment that being to show symptoms of wear-and-tear.
The challenge of temperature shifts is further exacerbated in power generation environments where HRSGs are in used at combined-cycle gas turbine operations, which are quite common across the United States. The extreme thermal stress, coupled with the pressure and rigor of industrial power generation, can be a formula for disaster unless you have effective temperature measurement solutions in place.
No power plant manager wants to be at the center of controversy related to a catastrophic event that makes international news. Temp-Pro advises power plant operators to perform proactive maintenance in their RTDs, thermocouple assemblies and other industrial temperature measurement equipment. By being proactive, they are more likely to uncover potential issues and this gives them a chance to replace or upgrade temperature measuring equipment ahead of a period of high demand—thus reducing the chance of a forced outage.