According to a survey* conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, as well as World Bank reports, there will be significant changes, for example, in the business models of energy companies. Advanced technologies and new sources of energy will significantly reduce our dependence on oil and gas. On the other hand, it raises the question whether decentralised electricity production is actually a threat or an opportunity?
The spot price in the electricity market has clearly come down from the level where it was before. As a result, energy companies need to rethink their strategies and business models.
“To combat climate change, we need to significantly reduce the use of fossil fuels as well as their emissions. At the same time, more electricity will be needed, for example, to power electric cars. The share of renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, will increase dramatically. In practice, this means that the role of conventional energy production will change and their production volumes will decrease”, says Antti Malve, Area Director, Europe and Africa, Fortum eNext.
Revising plant processes to prepare for the coming years
According to Malve, the role of conventional energy production has changed from base load production into producing for current need. In practice this can mean daily shutdowns and increased strain for the facilities, resulting from low and fluctuating production volumes.
Fortum eNext helps conventional power plants to improve their operations and reduce emissions. The goal is to support energy producers in their transformation process and adapting to the changes in energy sector and, thereby also enable increased renewable energy production. For this, Fortum’s long and extensive experience gives a solid foundation.
“We at Fortum eNext have the ability to support companies to address these challenges. We have done consultation as well as designed, operated and modernised different kinds of power plants for decades. We understand the regulatory requirements as well as the needs and perspective of a power plant owner, and want to make sure our customers retain both technological and financial competitiveness. We are also independent of equipment manufacturers: we are able to modernise and maintain equipment and technologies from several different suppliers, and always propose our customers the most suitable solution, regardless of their original technology provider", Malve says.
Fortum eNext’s solutions revise plant processes and make them fit for the coming years. It's offering includes comprehensive operating and maintenance services, including state of the art digital solutions that among others collect accurate process data. With the help of data analysis the full potential of each plant can be discovered and actions taken accordingly.
On environment’s terms, but not forgetting the financial expectations
Thanks to rationalization of processes flows and reduced emission levels following from modernizations, there is no need to compromise over environmental goals. Conventional power plants often need modifications to reduce their emissions and to be able to withstand the changes in operating modes. The condition of the equipment needs to be monitored and analysed more extensively. Here, digitalisation plays a significant role.
"In Central Europe, our customers include especially heating plants, some of which are already nearing the end of their lifecycle. With our help also older power plants can continue successfully as part of the energy system, meeting the environmental requirements and at the same time remaining profitable", explains Malve.
In this way, the transition towards the renewables-based energy system can be facilitated without increasing the costs of energy for the end users.
"The modernizations are made with careful consideration to the technical and financial requirements for the remaining lifecycle. As a result, there will be less need to close down power plants prematurely and no new fossil based production facilities need to be built for the transition period towards renewable energy system”, Malve summarises.
*) PwC Annual Global Power & Utilities Survey