Shaping the future of power production across Southeast Asia using energy simulation software
In this episode of Rethinking Energy in Southeast Asia, Stuti Gandotra, Market Development Manager at Wärtsilä Energy talks with Energy Exemplar’s Lead Energy Analyst, Dante Recalde about the importance of power system planning and the benefits of using energy simulation software.
Energy Exemplar is the market leader in energy simulation software and the developer of Plexos, an integrated modelling tool for the energy market with a global footprint of over 350 customers spread across 62 countries.
Dante Recalde explains, ‘’as a Lead Energy Market Analyst, for Energy Exemplar I work together with the energy solution engineering team to develop integrated energy modelling solutions for clients using Plexos. I work with utilities, regulators and other companies providing services related to power system optimisation analysis, renewable integration studies and energy market modelling.”
Power system planning in a decarbonising world
So, why is power system planning more important in this new era driven by decarbonisation?
“Energy systems will need to cope with increasing energy demand while also transitioning towards cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. Flexibility will be necessary to integrate more renewables and other non-dispatchable resources without compromising system reliability,” Recalde explains.
Decisions and investments made today determine the future operation of the system.
Billions can be saved if the system is optimised. Investments can drive up the levelised cost of energy, a model must co-optimise capital and production costs in order to truly optimise the planning aspect of the system. Optimising operation alone can bring great benefits for utilities and system operators but integrating planning and operations up to the intra hour-level unlocks a unique perspective that provides a holistic view of the entire energy system.
Preparing for an increasingly complex future
Just a decade ago, there weren’t many system modelling tools available to the utility companies and regulators. Stuti Gandotra, asks ”Now we have advanced tools like Plexos for power system modelling. What key features help model a grid with higher shares of renewables?’’
Dante Recalde, “Plexos is capable of modelling grids with high renewable penetration. Utilities, regulators and planners should be aware of the complexity of the grid in the future, as this complexity comes mainly from the introduction of renewable energy sources. The output of renewable energy sources is variable and depends on the weather. Therefore, it is very difficult to forecast accurately, especially in the day-ahead period. So, there must always be sufficient backup capacity and flexible generating sources, online in the system, to prepare for this variability.”
Plexos can accommodate a wide range of data and simulation resolutions. Sampling chronology is a key feature and can be used to create any number of typical days to represent each week, month or year of study. Full-hourly or even sub-hourly chronology is modelled using this methodology and will capture the need for flexibility within the system. This is the only methodology that identifies the appropriate technology mix when high renewable penetration exists.
Another key functionality is the ability to include ancillary services into the planning stage. This allows users to optimise the integration of these key resources all the way from the planning stage and then evaluate their performance on sub-hourly time base.
“The dynamic parameters in the tool – like part load efficiency, start cost, start-up time, cycling cost, fuel consumption at start-up, minimum stable load, min up down time – play a very important role in defining the flexibility of a power plant and grid when there are high shares of renewable energy,” Gandotra highlighted.
Battery energy storage, demand side management, and Power-to-X
As countries find alternatives to fossil fuels and work towards carbon neutrality, energy storage, Power-to-X and demand response are becoming increasingly important components in power systems and Plexos can model all these different technologies. As Recalde explains.
’Battery energy storage and demand side management are part of our ready to use classes in Plexos, we can model the impact of batteries on energy smoothing, peak shaving, ancillary service provision, capacity expansion planning, and others. These functionalities are very important for systems with a high penetration of renewable energy.”
Demand response is also available out of the box and is a tool that is helping customers in many countries where these programs are already implemented. Plexos helps users model future energy systems by including additional features with every release. Examples of these features include Power-to-X, multi-objective optimisation, electric vehicle modelling, and nonlinear constraint.
“Our Power-to-X functionality can be used to model conversion of Power-to-Gas, hydrogen, and any other commodity. Power-to-X can be evaluated for expansion studies as well as maintenance plans. It also allows for local gas to be stored or reinjected back into the gas network,” Recalde explains.
Increased efficiency, improved governance and significant savings
Utilities across Southeast Asia are using Plexos to answer key planning questions.
“We have many success stories where Plexos was used first to optimise one specific use case, but was then extended and implemented by other departments to optimise their entire system. All the way from the short, medium to the long-term strategy. Benefits range from increased efficiency within their teams, improved governance, and of course, also extended into savings,” adds Recalde.
“For example, a utility in the region reported a 6% reduction in the annual fuel costs by switching to Plexos. We are also seeing great interest from regulators in the region. The transition towards cleaner and more sustainable energy systems is one of the main talking points for these organisations in Southeast Asia. The regulator in Singapore is using Plexos to identify carbon efficient generation technologies and to develop a detailed implementation plan to achieve this low-carbon future. All this while ensuring reliability and flexibility in a cost optimal manner,” Recalde continues.
“It’s inspiring when 6% annual savings results in billion-dollar savings in just five years. Looking to our track record in Southeast Asia, we have seen that countries like Vietnam and Philippines, have changed their power development plans once they have started using the right planning tools and approach, changing major investment decisions,” says Recalde.
In their previous power development plan Vietnam talked about 40% coal-fired electricity generation by 2030, but now they are focusing on reducing it to 25%. This all happened with the right approach and use of the right power system planning tools,” concludes Gandotra.
To find out more about power system modelling watch the full webcast above.