The use of GE’s Asset Performance Management Software (APM) is set to provide the 445 MW Whitegate combined cycle gas-fired power plant in Cork, Ireland with potentially €1.2m in savings, thanks to cost avoidance potentialities being identified.

Irish Utility Bord Gáis Energy, the owners of the plant are benefiting from the APM solution, which allows operators to predict equipment problems and avoid costly unplanned outages. GE believes the milestone utility project will help to usher in the global digital transformation of energy.
Whitegate gas-fired power plant
The announcement of the plants results were made at POWER-GEN Europe 2016 in Milan.

Powered by the cloud-based enterprise Predix* platform, the Digital Power Plant software application showcases an agile digital infrastructure built for the Industrial Internet.

“We needed an online condition-based monitoring solution that would help ensure Whitegate’s continuous operation with no unplanned downtime,” said Rory Griffin, operations engineer—Whitegate, Asset Operations for Bord Gáis Energy.

“We selected GE’s Asset Performance Management solution because it helps us predict potential problems with our equipment and avoid costly unplanned outages. GE’s new software technology is an ideal solution to help increase our plant’s reliability and availability while making the most of our scheduled maintenance outages.”

Implementation of GE’s APM solution can significantly reduce plant downtime, with the early warning capabilities allowing for more efficient outage management. Analysis suggests a possible future cost avoidance of an additional €1.2 million.

Bord Gáis Energy installed the technology with a view to preparing Whitegate to respond to future grid challenges—including greater renewables integration.

The system provides Whitegate with enhanced, 24/7 digital diagnostics capabilities that automatically anticipate operational anomalies while still providing a single, consolidated view of plant performance. Whitegate did not have access to this type of data before the APM installation. Previously, plant operators relied on offline condition-based monitoring that required significant manual efforts to effectively detect failures.

Using a network of both existing and supplementary sensors placed throughout the plant, the predictive maintenance system has the ability to increase the station’s reliability and availability while reducing unnecessary maintenance costs. With APM, early warnings of failure mechanisms—drawing from more than 300 analytics—detect when plant components are about to fail, allowing for more efficient outage management.

In one situation, the solution helped Whitegate engineers to identify and correct an improperly installed component, correcting an overconsumption on supplementary firing gas usage. In all, the integrated APM solution has resulted in maintaining the availability of the covered equipment and 21 additional “catches” to be monetized.

GE’s APM software is a critical component of GE’s new Digital Power Plant, which offers a virtual “digital twin” of a power plant’s systems to enhance an operator’s capability to add value throughout the business.