Many legacy power system networks were designed with reserve capacity in order to maximise the availability of the power system, in the case of peak loads or for future capacity. Unplanned outages were generally minimal and occurred in exceptional events such as extreme weather.
De-regulation of the power systems has resulted in a variety of business units, such as generation companies, transmission operators, distribution networks, electricity retailers and electrical market operators.
This has resulted in the various business units each focussing their own business. The traditional utility model was based on vertical integration of all operations. In the de-regulated environment, each business unit is focused on maximising their return on investment.
One means of achieving an improved return on investment is to maximise the utilisation of their existing assets. By maximising utilisation, major investments can be postponed, such as upgrading the capacity of a network or in replacing legacy equipment.
Security constrained unit commitment (SCUC) software is a means to this end, by using computer software to identify the most economical way in which to dispatch generation resources. The SCUC software can automatically determine the optimal dispatch of generator units, according to the load and the time of day. By optimising the use of generation, the network operator can benefit from savings in fuel and operational costs. There is also the potential for savings in capital expenses by not having to build additional capacity.
The SCUC software is associated with grid networks that are utility operated. The SCUC software may also be applied to off-grid networks, remote area power stations and micro-grids.
BESST Engineering is able to provide a SCUC software to suit such applications, as part of the power and control system. By using real-time calculations for the system parameters, such as spinning reserve and generation capacity, the SCUC software automatically controls the system network.
The SCUC software and control system is provided by BESST Engineering. The generation units are dispatched according to the most economic combination to suit the real-time load. The SCUC software accommodates hybrid generation, with combinations of thermal generation, wind generation and photo voltaic (PV) solar panel generation.