Within the last years the idea of running a conventional power plant has changed. Fluctuating power generation by solar power and wind parks creates a need for highly flexible backup power plants. This need quickly arose within the last 5 years and the market is still searching for a solution.

Single steam turbine manufacturers can provide features to react more flexibly, quickly and to prolong component life time. Thus, considerable operating experience has already been in existence for many years.

New highly efficient steam turbines are already equipped with solutions to serve an ambitious market. But also, for existing units, different modernization packages can be provided along with hardware and software modifications which allow power plants to supply power at a moment’s notice.

This paper presents the overall approach and the possible field of application for the well-established features of Siemens steam turbines.

Starting a power plant within a short time to fill the gap of fluctuating power generation is an important capability in order to participate in today’s and tomorrow’s energy market. A fully automated start-up procedure to avoid any delays contributes in fulfilling this requirement. Optimized component geometries guarantee the shortest start-up times. Furthermore, a parallel start-up of gas and steam turbines (Hot Start on the Fly) has already been proven for many years.

Regarding flexibility, the improvement of start-up time is only one major aspect. Another important task is to provide the opportunity to influence scheduled maintenance outages. Therefore, steam turbines can be equipped with software which allows the customer to plan the power plant’s outages in accordance with single components requirements, e.g. GT outages. The lifecycle counter enables customers to evaluate the optimum between start-up time and life time consumption based on dynamic equivalent operating hours.

In addition, fast cooling procedures help to keep outage times to a minimum.

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