Monthly Archives: November 2008

EnergyPulse – Measuring Performance

The EnergyPulse newsletter had a good article in it today:
“Measuring Performance”

In the article, Fred Angel (the author) is talking more about utilities delivering goods to customers, but his ideas can also apply within a power plant. His main points included the following:

1. “Identifying your processes”. For a power plant, one breakout might be: gas to the GT; air delivered to the GT; combustion products through the HRSG; steam production in the HRSG; steam through the ST; generators delivering KW’s to the grid. Each process can be reviewed separately for weak points, bottlenecks and potential areas for improvement.

2. “Listening to your Customers”. For a power plant, the grid would be your customer – but you can think of this as a two way street. Not only does the plant need to deliver the goods (kW’s) requested by the customer (grid or dispatch agency), but the dispatch agency for the plant should work with you to determine the best load to ask of your plant. Gas turbine output varies with ambient conditions, so making sure your dispatchers understand the capacity of your plant for the current conditions is crucial. Your dispatchers should also have some idea of the impact to heat rate of running below base load – which in some cases can be significant.

3. “Establishing Performance Measures” - my favorite part! Fred makes a good point: “what gets measured gets done”. That is why daily, monthly and yearly performance reports are critical to a performance improvement program. When items can be measured and identified as areas for improvement, monitoring those items in real time will support the ability of O&M personnel to make the desired improvements.

4. “Linking Rewards and Recognition” is a concept that often gets left out of the mix with performance monitoring programs. Often, O&M personnel see a performance monitoring program as extra work – something that will make their lives more difficult. A performance monitoring program seen in this light will not be able to achieve the desired goals for performance improvement. Not only does the use of a performance monitoring program need to be as painless as possible, there also need to be rewards and recognition for putting the results to work for the plant. The O&M personnel need to know their input regarding the system is valued, and any potential changes which impact performance (of the system or the plant) will be heard and addressed as needed. O&M personnel who are able to make improvements should be recognized and rewarded appropriately for their impact to the bottom line – which can be significant. Fred puts it well in his article: “Creating and instituting a rewards and recognition program is about improving performance.” A performance monitoring system is about data – the rewards and recognition program is about the people who make it happen.

Thank you Fred Angel for a great article!

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