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The power grid is expanding, but the factories are shrinking

cowinns cowinns 2023-05-17 16:49:35
   The delivery of gas turbines is usually not news. However, the Siemens 9000HL model at the Keeby2 Combined Cycle Power Plant in the UK, which arrived in September 2020, is quite special. Weighing less than 1.1 million pounds (497,000 kilograms), it rotates at 3,000 revolutions per minute and can generate several tens of megawatts of power at peak capacity, producing a total power output of 593 megawatts. It represents the pinnacle of combustion technology today.

   Moreover, at least in Europe, it may be the last of its kind. As Bloomberg News reporter Rachel Morison points out, natural gas has long been seen as a vital bridge fuel in the energy transition, serving as a substitute for coal and a backup for renewable energy generation in the UK's power structure. The challenge for natural gas, especially in the UK, is that coal has nearly disappeared, and Keadby2 may not be able to address the issue of renewable energy. Instead, the future of natural gas seems to be dominated by a large number of smaller peaker plants.

   Combined cycle plants typically operate with two gas turbines. Peaker plants come online only during times of high electricity demand that threatens supply shortages. They are simpler, designed for lower operating frequencies, and have faster startup times.

   In terms of net additions (the total capacity of plants constructed in a given year minus retiring capacity), Europe's fleet of combined cycle gas plants has been shrinking. New capacity is being built, but more old capacity goes offline each year. The growth of peaker plants will continue for decades, with the market peaking around 2040.

   The global situation is more balanced. Combined cycle gas plants will meet the growing electricity demands of many markets outside Europe, but by the mid-2020s, they will represent a smaller market compared to net generation capacity. According to Bloomberg's Energy Outlook 2019, this proportion will continue to decline from the mid-2030s to 2050.

   Amidst all this tension and competition, one thing is clear: the marginal units of electricity generation come from an increasingly smaller number of sources. By 2020, the average kilowatt-hour of electricity generated in the UK will come from power plants with a capacity of 596 megawatts. By 2040, the median kilowatt-hour will come from power plants with a capacity of just 40 megawatts

   The demand for valves in renewable energy generation is significant. In the field of renewable energy, such as solar power and wind power, valves play a crucial role.

   In solar power systems, valves are used to control the flow of solar thermal energy, for example, in the circulation pipelines of solar hot water systems and the fluid control in thermal storage systems. Additionally, in solar photovoltaic power systems, valves are also used to control the fluid flow during power conversion and power transmission processes.

   For wind power systems, valves are used to control hydraulic and lubrication systems to ensure the smooth operation of wind turbines. Valves are also used to control the rotating mechanism of wind turbines to adapt to different wind speeds and directions.

   Furthermore, renewable energy generation is typically connected to the power grid for electricity transmission and distribution. In the process of power transmission and distribution, valves are used to control the fluid flow in power lines, ensuring the reliable transmission and distribution of electricity.

   Therefore, there is a high demand for various types of valves in renewable energy generation, including control valve, piston check valve, safety valve, and more. These valves play a crucial role in the renewable energy generation process, ensuring the operation and efficiency of the systems.