V. Feklin: Storages with RES can enter joint PPAs on sale of electricity according to the forecasted schedule

V. Feklin: Storages with RES can enter joint PPAs on sale of electricity according to the forecasted schedule

Ukraine has seen rapid growth in renewable energy in the past few years. Оn the one hand, it’s excellent for the environment, but on the other hand, it has hit the country's energy system. The problem is not only that the electricity generated from renewable sources such as solar or wind power plants is not predicted, but also it is quite difficult to balance the power system, in addition, this energy affects the technical characteristics of networks such as frequency.

But these problems can be successfully solved, thanks to such sources of energy and balancing, as highly flexible generation and energy storage systems. Therefore, we interviewed a company with more than 125 years of experience in the field of energy, which also produces and installs equipment that Ukraine needs today.

In an interview for ExPro agency, General Electric’s National Executive in Ukraine, Georgia & Armenia Vyacheslav Feklin, told about the details and applications of energy storage systems and manoeuvrable generation, as well as gave an overview of the company's technologies and their possible application in the energy system of Ukraine.

On the question of highly flexible (peak) generation

Is the Ukrainian market interesting for General Electric in the segment of technologies for peak power plants and energy storage systems (2 GW capacity for each technology)?

Yes, GE considers Ukraine as an extremely promising market. Being able to provide a large variety of leading technologies for all power applications and grid networks, we are ready to support Ukrainian’s needs in reliable power.

One thing is to bear in mind before discussing the construction of any additional power generation (peak) capacity: there has to be a strongly integrated grid which simplifies the task of power balance compensation. Without a reliable grid network, peak generation capacities and energy storage will not work. That is why GE addresses this problem as a multifaceted issue.

Renewable sources of power have grown at double-digit rates for more than a decade in the world and will likely continue to do so. Given the unique and growing needs for flexibility to balance the grid, in Ukraine, GE sees significant opportunities for its Gas Power Aeroderivative, Renewable Energy, Hydro and Steam power businesses.

According to the Assessment Report Of Generation Capacities in Ukraine, the country needs 2 GW as peak power plants able to reach full capability within 15 minutes. Ukrenergo also believes that such installations should have the technical ability to “stand” 8 starts and 8 shutdowns per day. Does GE have such solutions?

GE’s power equipment fitting to peak generation - GE’s aeroderivative gas turbines are indeed able to achieve multiple starts and stops. They achieve up to 44% simple cycle and 56% combined cycle efficiency with a fast startup (only five minutes from cold iron to full load), high ramp rates (50+ MW per min), and outstanding cycling capability.

GE's aeroderivative gas turbine LM6000

Another possible option is GE’s LM6000 Hybrid EGT™ integrating a Battery Energy Storage system with the LM6000 gas turbine and enabling contingency (spinning) reserve without fuel-burn between demand events. This also enables high-speed regulation, primary frequency response, and voltage support (-8 to +5 MVAR) with the combined response of the gas turbine and battery storage system.

To address power flexibility and grid frequency control requirements, GE Steam Power also proposes steam by-pass systems to be inserted in condenser neck. Current solutions enable to manoeuvre in a short period of time (within minutes according to ENTSOE requirements) and regulate power. Such a solution, combined to a power increase, could, for instance, be implemented in nuclear power plants in Ukraine. A power increase upgrade of +10% on each unit, combined with a by-pass system would enable to operate in the range of 10% of current nominal value and provide up to totally 1.5 GW fast-response to the Ukrainian grid.

A part of the above-mentioned solutions, GE hydro is a world leader in design /manufacturing /installation and commissioning of Hydro turbines and generators for conventional as well as for Pump Storage Power plants. We are one of the world leader for variable speed solutions having in our portfolio fully fed synchronous Motor/generator and doubly fed asynchronous Generator options.

Both solutions give a high level of flexibility in operation same as very short response time in case of frequency regulation requirements. Gives the possibility for fast reaction on pick load demand - best solution in ancillary service trading. Frequent start /stop and shortest switch offs between generation and pump mode operation is reliable merged to a long-life cycle for critical equipment involved.

Which GT models for peak power plants can GE offer for the Ukrainian market?

Apart from already mentioned LM6000 Hybrid EGT™., GE Gas Power can provide its LM2500XPRESS, LM2500, LMS100, LM6000 aeroderivative gas turbine models.

A key benefit of aeroderivatives is high efficiency in combined cycle configurations. Another feature of aeroderivatives is that they do not have a minimum turndown and can operate indefinitely with no load. Furthermore, an inherent feature of aeroderivatives is high efficiency at part load (with aircraft normally using their engines at partial load during cruising). The GE LMS100, for instance, can still provide 40% simple cycle efficiency at 50% load.

As well as fuel consumption, another factor that becomes important for reciprocating engines is lubricating oil consumption, which must be considered a significant consumable cost for piston engine. Reciprocating engines may use up to 400 mL/MWh of lubricating oil, while an LM2500 will only consume about 2 mL/MWh, some 200 times less. This can amount to savings of over 1 million US$ per year for a 100 MW facility.

As I understand it, the most popular GE’s models in this segment are the LM2500 and LM6000 being installed in 50+ countries of the world. What makes them so popular? Which of these models would be more appropriate for Ukraine and why?

Our world-class portfolio of aeroderivative gas power systems and services benefits from 40+ year-experience and 150M+ operating hours. We managed to achieve the best in class reliability (>99%) and the fastest start time (<5 mins only). That is why our installed base contains 2800+ active units across the world and we continue to invest in the modernization of this technology offering new products.

In your opinion, what should the readiness-to-serve charge be to ensure the return on investment process does not lengthen out for decades?

GE provides customized solutions taking into account customer’s individual needs, that is why this cost may differ from project to project. However, our offering is one of the best in the world in terms of price-quality ratio.

Do you agree that power facilities should use the LCOE indicator while organizing tenders to build peak generation plants and not limit to the capital expenditures figure only?

LCOE is just one of the many metrics that should be used to determine the viability of a project.

Fast start, high ramp rates, part-load operation and cyclical load following dispatch profiles are typical requirements of a modern grid with high renewable energy penetration.

The modern grids have complexities of frequency and voltage fluctuations due to unanticipated sudden loss of generation, reduced system inertia due to penetration of solar, wind energy etc. The modern grids need more dispatchable synchronous generation as a spinning reserve to provide load following and frequency response services.

Given the nature of each application and the dynamic power supply and demand situation, it is prudent for grid operators to identify the correct technology that will help manage the grid and support their long-term needs. The operator must clearly identify the pros and cons of different technologies available to support such dynamic requirements and select the most appropriate solution considering the following aspects:

• Plant Economics

• Operational Flexibility

• Ramp Up and Fast Frequency Response

• Plant Availability and Reliability

• Lifecycle Considerations

• Environmental Impact

• Power Density

• Deployment and Relocation.

What is the duration of your after-sales services that you can provide for your equipment?

GE understands that energy business environment is constantly transforming, but power facilities need to deliver consistent outcomes. That’s where GE’s multiyear agreements (up to 30+ year) can help.

GE’s service portfolio offers tailored solutions – including cross-fleet capabilities to support more than 90 OEM brands - to help customers unleash better performance, increase flexibility, lower risk, and realize greater value from your gas plant and fleet assets.

What advantages can investors get when using your equipment compared to competitors?

GE’s best in class in terms of reliability (>99%) and the fastest start time (<5 mins only) aeroderivative gas turbines offer a power range of 16 MW to 100 MW being able to run on a variety of fuels and emissions technologies, including liquids and gas.

As regards questions on energy storage

Ukraine urgently needs energy storage systems. What energy storage technologies can GE offer? What is their useful lifetime?

GE Renewable Hybrids offers a family of grid- / utility-scale lithium-ion battery energy storage systems, called the “Reservoir”, that can be coupled with renewable and/or thermal generators to create best-fit “hybrid” storage solutions for customers. GE’s Reservoir storage solutions can support both short-duration applications, such as frequency response or primary reserve, and long-duration applications, such as energy shifting and capacity.

The useful life of a typical storage system can reach up to 30 years with an appropriate battery augmentation/replacement schedule and a robust control & software platform. GE also provides Long Term Service Agreements (LTSA), a fixed-price maintenance contract for planned and/or unplanned maintenance over the life of the project.

Example of General Electric energy storage system “Reservoir”

What is the average economic payback period of your energy storage systems? What are the key aspects that determine the ROI period in the energy storage segment?

The payback period of an energy storage system depends heavily on its usage/application (s) and varies from project to project. The key to increasing a project’s ROI (usually measured in NPV and/or IRR) is to partner with a storage system integrator with extensive grid knowledge and experience to ensure product quality and safety, bankability to be able to offer project-tailored performance guarantee(s), and an advanced controls & software platform to allow for the “stacking” of revenue streams and proper management of battery degradation.

Is there a technical possibility to incorporate GE’s energy storage systems in already existing large solar power plants or wind farms in Ukraine?

Yes. GE Renewable Hybrids designs and integrates full EEP (Engineered Equipment Package) and full, turnkey EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) battery energy storage systems including advanced power electronics such as bi-directional inverter unit(s), all integrated with a proprietary controls and software platform, that can be coupled with both existing and new solar, wind, and/or thermal plants to maximize their respective interconnection usage and revenue streams.

What is the best way (concentrated, distributed) to incorporate energy storage systems in the power networks? What should be the networks’ characteristics to ensure incorporation of the energy storage systems in the most efficient way?

The configuration and placement of an energy storage system depend heavily on various factors including, but not limited to, planned use case(s) / application(s) of the system, geographical features, climate zones, interconnection limitations, local grid requirements, tax incentives etc.

GE’s battery solution is based on a scalable battery string architecture that allows for flexible design and deployment in a wide range of scenarios to support grid-scale applications. An optimal configuration is a key to maximizing a project’s economics, and with world-class energy consulting services and project optimization tools, GE Renewable Hybrids can partner with its customers to maximize the NPV and IRR of any given hybrid storage project.

What should be the pricing for electricity provided by energy storage systems? Please list examples of the best world practices in this regard.

Similar to the configuration and placement of storage systems, the pricing of electricity provided by any given storage system depends heavily on its intended use case(s) and local market rules and regulations.

For example, a battery storage system that replaces a gas peaker unit can be compensated in the respective jurisdiction’s capacity market.

Some battery storage plants that provide unique services such as black start can be compensated via bilateral agreements with respective grid operators. There are also merchant energy storage plants that bid competitively in wholesale markets to earn payment for providing ancillary grid services.

Finally, storage solutions that are coupled with renewable assets such as solar PV can enter PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) to lock in agreed-upon payment schemes throughout the life of the renewable hybrid project.