A quick look at the output over the last few years
The graphs below, based on figures from SEMO, show the output trends of one of the Moneypoint steam turbines (MP3) for December 2007 and December 2013. There are a number of things that jump out at you, the main ones being -
- The jagged edges for last December compared to the smooth edges back in 2007
- The frequency and extent of the ramping up and down in 2013 compared with the relatively modest ramping in 2007.
MP3 is a 285MW unit. It can be seen that in 2007, when ramped down, it was to between 60 - 70 % load with 4 instances of approx 50% load. Alternatively, in 2013, it was ramped down to approx 35% load 23 times. It appears that there is now an urgency to reduce coal use, replacing it with wind and gas. The effect that this is having on the steam turbines is unknown to this blog, although Eirgrid publish weekly and monthly data on generator availability on their site. MP1 had a forced outage on 11th August after 2 months of scheduled maintenance and MP1 and MP2 have been giving problems in recent times. I will be taking a look at them later in this blog along with some gas turbines. It remains to be seen how MP3 copes with this increased ramping, particularly if we have a cold winter this year.