Flexibility of existing power units with limited investment outlays

The project is implemented by a consortium consisting of: Rafako S.A. as a Leader, Energoprojekt Katowice S.A., Tauron Wytwarzanie S.A. and scientific partners - Silesian University of Technology and Krakow University of Technology.

The growing share of renewable energy sources in the energy mix of Poland and other European Union countries means that the energy sector is facing a growing problem of reduced operating profitability of coal units. Currently, in order to provide the required reserve in the event of an unforeseen reduction of renewable energy production, a large part of conventional units must be started up in periods when the market price of electricity is lower than the variable cost of its production. On the other hand, the growing share of renewable energy sources contributes to the need to periodically shut down the units or keep them as a hot reserve, which in turn is costly due to the costs of additional commissioning and renovation costs higher than before.

As part of this project, it is proposed to:

  • apply a solution that improves the economics of conventional generating units by increasing the flexibility of their operation
  • and reduction of the current technical minimum.

The effect of the undertaking will be:

  • a possibility to reduce the electricity production during the price drop and thus reduce the loss associated with the need to generate electricity below variable costs. It is anticipated that the proposed solution in special cases will reduce the technical minimum of the units to the level of approx. 25% of rated power.
  • an ability to provide the required power reserve for the power system using fewer units.
  • By increasing flexibility, it will be possible that some conventional generating units currently kept in the hot reserve can be switched off while contributing to a greater use of renewable energy.

Bearing in mind the benefits resulting from the implementation of the proposed technology, it is expected that its main customers will be 200 and 360MW class coal power plants struggling with the problem of suboptimal unit operation.

The value of the project implemented by the Consortium is PLN 9 599 911,11, including co-financing in amount of PLN 5 710 961,27 from the National Center for Research and Development.