Operating ratio and cost of coal power generation

Presented by

Hermine Nalbandian-Sugden

About this talk

The webinar opens with an overview of the current status of coal power generation. This will be followed by discussion of the operating ratios for power generating companies. Operating ratios represent revenue and expense categories found on a typical financial statement. They can be presented as a ratio or a percentage value. The smaller the operating ratio, the greater margin an organisation has to make a profit. These ratios allow a company to compare its operational performance across various times, analyse its data and take the necessary steps in order to maintain its operational performance and as such, as low an operating ratio (%) as possible. Many factors contribute towards the operating costs of a power generating company including the cost of fuel, staff, operation & maintenance (O&M) costs and depreciation and amortisation. The higher costs these factors are, the higher the operating ratio will be and, therefore, the lower the operational efficiency of a company. The cost of coal-fired power generation varies at the national and plant level. However, due to the increase in renewable energy, coal-fired power has shifted in many countries from baseload to load following mode necessitating flexibility in power plant operations. The more frequent cycling of coal-fired power plants can cause thermal and pressure stresses. Over time, these can result in premature or unplanned component failure and increased maintenance. Repeated starting up and shutting down of a unit, or operating at part load, can also increase emissions compared to non-cyclic operation. Measures can be taken to minimise the impact of cycling on plant performance. Assessment and control of O&M costs play a major role in calculating operating ratios. The webinar finishes with future projections for coal in power generation.

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