Thermal Performance is the overall evaluation of a power plant’s electrical production with respect to its fuel consumption expressed in heat rate (BTU/KWH). In the case of a Nuclear Power plant, an improved heat rate will result in more electricity being provided to the grid and can result in increased revenue to the plant.
If the yearly average price for electricity is $25. per MWHr, a 1 MWe improvement will result in a yearly revenue increase of approximately $200,000. In the case of a Fossil Fire plant, the savings will be in fuel costs and will vary based on whether the plant is peak or base loaded and the particular fuel arrangements. These savings could be as high as $100,000 per year for every 0.1% improvement in plant heat rate. Many plants will have recoverable losses up to 5MWe which will result in fuel saving of $500,000 per year or in the case of nuclear power plants $1,000,000 per year of increased revenue. These returns will vary based on a particular Power Plant’s contracts and agreements with transmission and distribution grids. With the increasing cost of non-renewable fuel sources, the possible savings will only increase. The goal of True North’s Thermal Performance group is to take advantage of existing investments while increasing efficiency which results in providing more power or using less fuel.
With all the new legislation coming down the pike, a utility’s ability to improve efficiency may have significantly more benefits than those described above.