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How is the digital upgrade of power generation different from before? 2020-03-26


The concept of "digitalization" is not unusual for people in the power industry. In addition to the power grid, power generation companies have been trying to "digitally" upgrade in the past few years.

 

But when the time comes to 2020, "digitalization" is no longer just the development trend of the power industry in the context of technological change, or a tool for companies to achieve overtaking in corners. It has become a national-level development strategy, which means that power generation companies cannot look at the issue of digital upgrading from the perspective and level of the past.

 

In just a few years, what happened to the digital upgrade of power generation? What are the shortcomings of previous ideas and methods? What new layout and efforts should the power generation enterprises make?

 

The previous digital upgrades were too much around the main device

 

 The biggest feature of the digital upgrade of power generation in the past few years is that it starts from the main equipment and is more led by the main equipment manufacturers. Whether it is GE's predix of foreign companies, Siemens 'MindSphere platform, or EnOS of local enterprises' vision, the main equipment manufacturers use their advantages in hardware manufacturers to help power generation companies to digitally upgrade.

 

 The core of this path is: the main equipment of power generation plus other equipment of the power plant will generate huge amounts of data every day. Through the installation of a large number of sensors, the platform collects various types of data from the power plant.

 

 What are these data used for? The main aspects are as follows:

 

1. Analyze the health and operating conditions of the equipment, and determine whether the equipment needs maintenance, repair, or whether there are potential related risks.

 

2, find out what can improve the efficiency of the equipment or power plant during operation

 

3, to achieve unattended, unobserved, remote operation, reducing labor costs

 

No matter how many previous power generation digital solutions or cloud platforms advertise their functions, their help for power generation is essentially in the above three points.

 

Why are these three points? Because in the three public dispatch mode, when the unit is turned on, when it is turned off, and how much the unit will output are determined by the power grid. With the unit set up, the number of hours, and the price of coal being determined, power generation can only reduce costs in these three areas. The role of digital upgrading can only be reflected in these three aspects.

 

The current digital upgrade should retain the previous content, and even more breakthrough

 

Why does the content of digital upgrade change? Because the problems faced by power generation enterprises and power plants have fundamentally changed.

 

The biggest change comes from the reform of the power system. The gradual maturity and popularization of electricity market-based transactions allows power plants to determine their own power generation hours and startup combinations.

 

This is of course a good thing. However, the power plant that has been waiting for a long time under the three public dispatch mode obviously needs an adaptive process for this fundamental change.

 

 From the perspective of digital upgrade, the digital upgrade under the three public dispatch mode is far from enough. The original content about unit equipment and operating efficiency can still help the power plant reduce costs, but it cannot help the power plant to increase the startup time and choose the most economical startup combination.

 

Therefore, the previous digital upgrade is not unnecessary, but to provide more power for the power plant on the original basis.

 

For example, one of the most basic functions, power plants need digital upgrades to assist in the decision-making of trading strategies in the electricity market. Not only the most basic quotation, but may also participate in the auxiliary service market in the future. The more and more comprehensive the data, the stronger the ability to analyze the data, and the more power plants occupy in the market.

 

This not only means that the digital upgrade of power generation must extend the downstream digitalization on the basis of power plants, such as power flow information, load information, and so on. In addition, the digitalization of power generation must also be consciously extended to upstream coal. It is not only necessary to monitor real-time coal purchase prices and inventory information, but also to perform data analysis and certain predictions on coal price fluctuations in the future. This information will be part of the digitization of power generation and will ultimately guide business decisions.

 

Digital upgrades don't stop there, power generation begins to touch the user side

 

The example above is just one aspect of the many benefits of digital power generation upgrades. In addition to helping power generation to better participate in electricity market transactions, digital upgrades have brought two other biggest benefits to the power generation side, one is to reach the user side, and the other is to have a new business model for distributed energy generation.

 

Talk about the user side first.

 

For a long time, China's electric power market has been directly connected between power grid companies and users. Through each meter, the grid company directly collects various information on the user side. The customers of a power generation enterprise actually have only one grid company.

 

After the electric power reform, the power plant began to deal with users directly or through the establishment of electricity sales companies. Although the settlement, meter reading and other processes still have to go through the power grid companies, the power generation marketing system has begun to shuffle.

 

Faced with a large number of users, power generation does not have the prerequisites (distribution network and electricity meters) like the power grid. If you ca n’t rely on digital means to succeed in the future and provide accurate marketing and services to users (including diversified power sales services, customized power packages, etc.), then the so-called trillion integrated energy service market is also seen by power generation companies See not eating.

 

This is to mention the second major help of digitalization, the new model of distributed power generation.

 

I want to extend the digital upgrade to the user side, and it is not impossible to install the meter for the user, but it is obviously a suspected waste of resources. For power generation companies, there is a more effective method, which is to use distributed power generation to move forward power.

 

Distributed photovoltaics and even distributed wind power are not uncommon. However, the profit model of distributed power generation in the past relied entirely on the price of on-grid electricity. The digital upgrade of power generation enterprises can allow a large number of distributed power generation units to be integrated into virtual power plants through big data technology to participate in power transactions. Not only can the bidding strategy in the market be adjusted according to the output of each power generation unit, and the power generation efficiency of the equipment can be improved. Compared with the virtual power plant of the power grid, there is also thermal power (especially gas power) on the power generation side, which is a flexible power source that can adjust peak and frequency and participate in the auxiliary service market in depth to maximize the effectiveness of the virtual power plant.

 

Distributed power generation with mature technology and large-scale promotion cannibalize the business of grid companies first. Future integrated energy services will also focus on multi-energy supply to clients. If the use of distributed power generation first puts a nail on the user's side, it will be absolutely beneficial to the future comprehensive energy business of power generation enterprises.

 

The final battle of digitalization is to make good use of digital assets, not to see who has more data

 

This step is also probably the most difficult step for all power companies to upgrade digitally and intelligently. Grid companies are making efforts in this area, and during the epidemic, the power data also played a certain role in determining the regional resumption of work and productivity. But this can only be regarded as the initial stage of using digital assets.

 

 The digital upgrade of electric power enterprises is essentially to realize the transformation of the business model of the enterprise from asset-driven to data-driven. Just talking about power generation enterprises, the income of selling electricity and selling auxiliary services will be the company's main profit point now, and even in the future. Digitization also serves traditional business models and corporate development paths.

 

 And digital drive means that digital itself is starting to become part of corporate assets. However, the thinking on the operation of digital assets is completely different from the existing asset operation. There is no depreciation of digital assets. The more you use the newer, the more valuable you become. Therefore, various electric power companies, including power generation and power grids, need to open their own data circulation links to make the data more and more huge.

 

In the final stage of digital PK, the competition among enterprises does not depend on who has more data, but on who is better at using data.

 

  to sum up

 

 The digital transformation of power generation enterprises in the past few years is valuable, but it is only part of the comprehensive digital upgrade in the future.

 

It runs through the upstream, midstream and downstream of power generation enterprises, penetrates users, and subverts the distributed power generation business model. It is the most direct impact of digital upgrading on power generation enterprises.

 

In the long run, power generation companies do not have to worry about the amount of data, but focus on the ability to use digital assets. This is the core competitiveness of competition among similar enterprises, and even competition with the power grid.


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