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Generation Assets: How to Derive Greater Value

Learning from Wal-Mart.
Fortnightly Magazine - December 2002
  • and reliability as defined by wholesale marketers and energy traders; and
  • Do the above while continually reducing cost.

In essence, they must ensure that their portfolio of production assets can be maintained and optimized for their usefulness over time-namely, asset optimization. As asset optimization becomes a core competency (the way it is at Wal-Mart or Home Depot), a company is able to accelerate its ability to capture and grow value. The best approach to asset optimization in the generating business involves deriving more value from existing physical and intellectual assets-beginning by identifying areas for potential change, improvement, and optimization, top-down and bottom-up. A company can start by examining all of its assets (whether transmission, distribution, power procurement, customer management, or other assets) along four dimensions:

  • Decision Support Systems and Information -Compile, analyze, and report data and information that can be used by management as knowledge to increase efficiency and quality of decisions. -making the best decisions on capital and O&M resource allocation or operating and maintenance strategies.
  • Process Improvements -Change existing processes or supporting systems to increase effectiveness and efficiency of the physical and intellectual assets (including the organization). -increasing worker "wrench time" or improving procurement of consumables.
  • New Products or Services -Increase existing asset utilization; generate incremental revenues. -utilizing a digital control system to vastly improve ramp rates, allowing entry into load-following energy markets.
  • Risk Management -Identify, control, and mitigate business uncertainty attributable to an activity; provide information and guidance on how uncertainty influences the three previous dimensions. -identifying the potential operational risk benefit of a shift to reliability-centered maintenance.

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