Intertek offers a range of services to help you understand your true cycling startup, shutdown and load follow costs to manage reliability and provide guidelines to minimize equipment damage and operate more efficiently.

Changing market conditions and system deregulation, increasing renewable energy, distributed generation, and evolving demand have all led to increased cycling of power plants. Intertek offers a range of services to help you understand your cycling startup, shutdown and load follow costs, efficiency impacts, optimal spend to manage reliability and provide guidelines to minimize equipment damage and operate more efficiently.
Increased cycling not only contributes to more forced outages, lower fuel efficiency and potential shortened unit life as equipment operates beyond their design and life capabilities, but it also increases overall operation, maintenance costs and capital replacement spend.
Intertek Engineering Consulting (previously APTECH Engineering) has been studying power plant cycling since 1979. We are an industry leader in determining the cost of cycling of power plants, and was one of the first to identify cycling as a major cost concern. Our clients have benefited in understanding and determining these costs as well as using them in their system planning. We have assisted our clients in every step of this process – determining actual costs, modifying them as valid inputs in industry standard models, interpreted the results of these studies and provided expert testimony to defend our methodology through our Total Quality Assurance approach. Our experience goes beyond determining these costs and is leveraged by regulators, utilities and national laboratories. Some of our experience includes:

  • Intertek AIM completed one of the largest renewable integration studies conducted to determine incremental cost of cycling on the Western Wind and Solar Integration Study (WWSIS-2), with National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The study was initiated to determine the wear-and-tear costs and emissions impacts of cycling and to simulate grid operations to investigate the detailed impacts of wind and solar power on the fossil-fuelled fleet on the Western Interconnection.
  • Evaluated incremental wear and tear cost for the fossil fleet in the PJM interconnection as part of the Renewable Integration Study 2013-14 with GE Consulting.
  • Our team has studied over 500 power plants, including gas, oil, and coal-fired steam units, combustion turbines/combined cycle; nuclear; hydro; compressed air energy storage, and pumped storage in addition to fleet wide studies in North and South America, Australia, and Europe.
  • We also provided testimony in several successful legal cases involving, power plant cycling costs, impacts on reliability, IPP curtailments and “negative avoided costs.”
  • Developed the INGRID Platform to analyze plant cycling and performance characteristics of over 5000 units.

Fossil Plant Cycling Project Experience

Intertek is a world leader in the field of identifying and estimating the costs of fossil plant cycling.  We are one of the first to identify cycling as a major cost issue.

  • Our staff is highly experienced and well versed with:
    • Power plant component damage mechanisms and failure
    • Component/unit reliability modelling
    • Component aging and impact of fatigue cycling on aging components
    • Capital and O&M accounting and how to associate costs to cycling damage and unit reliability
    • Relevant industry databases
    • Statistical modelling, unit commitment and production cost analysis
  • We have extensive experience working on utility projects, as discussed earlier.
  • We know how to take sparse data and utilize it effectively.
  • We advise on design improvements, equipment upgrades/replacement and operating process improvements to ensure a plant operates more efficiently and reliably.
  • We also advise on Asset Life Optimization and the assessment of future capital and maintenance costs, stranded costs and dispatch
  • Several of our technical papers have been published and cited in renowned journals and publications

Scope of Cycling Related Projects

In these projects, Intertek found that our clients could save a considerable amount of money over the years by adjusting their operation in response to better cycling cost estimates

  • Review and critique of cycling cost methods used by the utility.
  • Development of improved cost estimates, including software and training to help utility engineers update these estimates.
  • Testimony preparation for state commission consideration of cycling costs and their impacts on non-utility generators, merchant plants, and their effects on utility power plants.
  • Recommendations on use of improved cycling cost information in system operations and planning.
  • Recommendations for operation improvements.
  • Recommendations for capital projects to reduce cyclic damage.
  • Optimization of plant capital and O&M spending with respect to plant cycling, life and reliability
  • Cycling Operation Benchmark analysis using INGRID

Intertek delivers Total Quality Assurance solutions that help power plant owners and operators improve safety, performance and asset reliability.  Our global network of trusted and experienced experts, combined with innovative technology, give customers the peace of mind to power ahead safely and make informed decisions that will maximize efficiency and reduce costs.

    Related Links

    Cost Impacts of Flexible Generation on Conventional Thermal Generators

    Download our technical paper to learn more.

    Impact of Plant Cycling on HRSG Reliability

    This paper underscores the critical consideration of the true cost associated with cycling combined cycle power plants, emphasizing damage mechanisms expected in heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs) and balance of plant components due to operational cycling.

    Fending off forced power plant outages

    Intertek compiled a report for the Western Electricity Coordinating Council detailing the effects of power plant cycling.

    Read the Power Magazine article (external link). 


    Power Industry Resources

    Fitness-for-Service Article: 

    Ingrid for Power Plants Article: 

    Bidding Into the Energy Imbalance Market Article: 

    Wind Turbine Failure Mechanisms and Condition Assessment Techniques Article: 

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