Comprehensive assessment of the effective scope of modernization of thermal power plants to substantiate the rational structure of the generating capacities for the future until 2035
The article deals with issues of technical and economic substantiation of priorities and scopes of modernizing the existing thermal power plants (TPPs) in Russia to work out long-term forecasts of the development of the industry. The current situation in the TPP modernization trends is analyzed. The updated initial figures of the capital and operation costs are presented and the obtained estimates of the comparative efficiency of various investment decisions on modernization and equipment replacement at gas-and-oil-burning and coal-fired TPPs with regard to the main zones of the national Unified Power System (UPS) of Russia are cited. The results of optimization of the generating capacity structure underlie a study of alternative TPP modernization strategies that differ in the scope of switching to new technologies, capital intensity, and energy efficiency (decrease in the average heat rate). To provide an integral economic assessment of the above strategies, the authors modified the traditional approach based on determination of the overall discounted costs of power supply (least-cost planning) supplemented with a comparison by the weighted average wholesale price of the electricity. A method for prediction of the wholesale price is proposed reasoning from the direct and dual solutions of the optimization problem. The method can be adapted to various combinations of the mechanisms of payment for the electricity and the capacity on the basis of marginal and average costs. Energy and economic analysis showed that the opposite effects of reduction in the capital investment and fuel saving change in a nonlinear way as the scope of the switch to more advanced power generation technologies at the TPPs increases. As a consequence, a strategy for modernization of the existing power plants rational with respect to total costs of the power supply and wholesale electricity prices has been formulated. The strategy combines decisions on upgrade and replacement of the equipment at the existing power plants of various types. The basic parameters of the strategy for the future until 2035 are provided.