The global power plants continue to grow and reached a record high in 2011 while renewable energy power plant dominates followed by gas power plant and coal power plant. There is climatic change pathway due to emission of CO2 from them. To meet the need of dynamic global market, efficient and flexible power plants are required. Renewable sources are on the depletion phase with the majority of new installation being wind and solar. This increases the need for flexibility and back up in other resources. Demand has always been variable and hence flexibility requirement have always existed. Power plant requires flexibility to gain optimization. Upcoming power plants should impart features like less environmental impact, low generation cost, optimal plant sizing and agility of dispatch
Renewable power plant need strong transmission infrastructure. Combined cycle power plant provides higher efficiency, optimized set up and efficient shutdown operation. Steam power plants involve change in design for becoming a flexible power plant. Storage in combination with fossil power plant is other dimension for flexibility. If existing power plants are able to capture and use hydrogen produced during their operation or opt for re-electrification can gain flexibility. Thermal storage is other technology where existing components are used. To enhance flexibility, storage applications act as an innovative approach.
In recent years, Asia-Pacific region has emerged as a strong driver of worldwide economic activity, which is expected to lead to continuous growth in power demand. Significant amounts of generating capacity are coming to the end of their economic life and need to be replaced. Coal power plant as coal market is still expanding in China. Majority of new coal power plant are set up in China. Efficiency upgrades for those plants remain interesting from an economic and environmental point of view. In China, share of electricity generated from wind and hydro power plants have increased. Today it is more than that of coal power plants.
Energy revolution towards gas and renewable, from coal and nuclear has started on global level. Construction of nuclear and coal fired power plants in Thailand and Indonesia are facing lot of resistance from people. Potential for wind and solar power is quite restricted, leaving only hydro and biomass as potential for large scale renewable power plants. Gas fired power generation will play an even larger role in securing the energy supply of the region. Korea is currently in the process of upgrading its power generation infrastructure with the latest generation of combined cycle power plants. Japan has recently signed long term supply agreements for LNG and is expected to upgrade its generation facilities to the newest technology. USA and Europe have little share of coal power plant market. Europe installed number of new photovoltaic power plants. In North America, wind power plants are well established but solar power plants are yet on the development path and recently started penetrating the market. In Europe coal and nuclear power plants have been set up but the share of solar and photovoltaic is on budding phase. Europe needs to focus on new power plants as existing ones are aged and less efficient. Many utilities are replacing or planning to replace coal plants with new, highly efficient natural gas-fired combined-cycle power plants.
Smart power generation is a new concept characterized by a unique combination of extreme operational flexibility, fuel flexibility, and high operational efficiency. These capabilities enable a new approach to power system and also allowing for the integration of vast amounts of new wind and solar capacity.
Siemens AG, Alstom Power, Ansaldo Energia s. p. a service are some of the major players in this market.
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