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Availability and unavailability factors of thermal generating plants DEFINITIONS AND METHODS OF CALCULATION

WEC / UNIPEDE (1991)


Determination of the unavailability factor of thermal generating plant is necessary in order to estimate the reserve capacity required in generating and transmission systems as compensation for the total unavailable capacity in all generating plants. It is therefore of very great importance for public electricity utilities. Errors made in assessing the amount of reserve capacity required result either in excessive capital investment or in shortfalls in supplies to consumers.
Various methods and means have been used in different countries to determine this unavailability factor. A Joint Committee set up by UNIPEDE and World Energy Council (WEC) has outlined the definitions and methods of calculation necessary whereby the availability Statistics on thermal generating plants in the various countries can be made comparable. This booklet gives the definitions and methods of calculation adopted by the Joint Committee with the reasons of the choice of statistics based on energy. The harmonization aimed at is that of the statistical results regarding the availability of thermal power stations, or more exactly, of operating units. A thermal power station may comprise units belonging to various categories, the results of which, with regard to non-availability, will be incorporated into overall results for each category. The energy availability of a generating unit, considered from the viewpoint of the reserve required to compensate for partially or totally defective units, is therefore expressed by a factor generally situated between zero and unity or by a rate generally between zero and 100%, with reference to its real or potential generating capacity. In counterpart to the networks point of view, which leads to the idea of energy availability, UNIPEDE has carried out studies on the producers point of view, which leads to the idea of unit capability factor (UCF). The latter idea is a derivative of the former, incorporating the fact that the producer, in order to properly assess the technical performance of his installation, cannot include as penalizing factors the reasons for unavailability which are not under his control, but which may penalize the network. Most of the present document, although updated in 1991, will continue to refer to the idea of energy availability. Section XVI shows a new aspect in the calculation of the unit capability factor, with the corresponding results remaining optional. Section II describes the various methods used to calculate the energy availability of generating units, from the networks point of view. II VARIOUS BASES FOR STATISTICS ON THE ENERGY AVAILABILITY AND NONAVAILABILITY OF GENERATING UNITS In the following, the terms 'availability factor' and 'unavailability factor' will both be used with the understanding that these two rates are complementary to 100%. It is important to note that the availability factor, which is thus equal to the complement of 100% of the unavailability factor, does not correspond to the term 'availability' used by the Edison Electric Institute since 1960, but, for a long period of service, approximates to the term 'Equivalent availability' defined by the E.E.I. in 1975. In the calculations of 'availability' made by the E.E.I., partial outages were not and are not taken into account, a unit being considered 'available' if it is capable of supplying power to the network, whatever the level of this power. In order to determine the unavailability factor of a thermal generating unit, three dimensions have been used in statistics: time, capacity and energy. Statistics based on time are determined by the ratio of the outage time to the period of observation. This simple method does not take into account the length of the partial outages during which the unit could supply only a fraction of its capacity. This disadvantage could be avoided by calculating, in the case of

partial outages, the equivalent outage time at full capacity, but this amounts to multiplying outage time by the non-available capacity thus obtaining a statistic based on energy. Statistics based on capacity use instantaneous unavailability factors corresponding to periodic checks, and their arithmetic mean can be calculated. The partial outages affecting the unit at the time of check are taken into account; the variations in the availability between checks are neglected. Statistics based on energy use the product of the non-available capacity and the length of the outage referred to the product of the reference capacity and the length of the period of observation. The partial outages are automatically taken into account, as well as any variation in the availability. Thus, it can be seen that for the unavailability factor of a single thermal unit, the most reliable statistic is the one based on energy; the statistics based on time neglect partial outages or are transformed into statistics based on energy. Statistics based on capacity checks do not take account of variations in availability between checks. When one has to determine the non-availability not of a single unit but of a group of units of different capacities, the number of which may vary in the course of the observation period, the statistics based on time or on capacity must be converted to an energy non-availability statistic in order to form a valid basis for estimating the reserve capacity required over the whole of the generating and transmission system: Statistics based on time, the unavailability factors must be weighted by the corresponding capacity, since a given unavailability factor will require a reserve capacity proportional to the capacity this factor refers to. The statistics will then be based on time multiplied by capacities, hence on energy. In the case of statistics based on energy, the unavailability factors must be weighted by the length of time during which the capacity has remained constant. It would in fact be incorrect to calculate the arithmetic mean of the unavailability factor with reference to widely differing capacities.

In short, the unavailability factor of a group of thermal units, the composition of which may vary during the observation period, is based either directly or indirectly on energy. It is worth noting that the unavailability factor in question is that used for estimating the reserve capacity which is needed to compensate the outage of all the thermal units, in an electricity generation and distribution system. These are the reasons why the members of the Joint Committee had a marked preference from the first meeting onwards for international statistics for the availability and unavailability of generating units based on energy. However, before coming to a final decision on this point, each member of the Joint Committee as well as the corresponding members, described the characteristics of the statistics used in their countries and the possibilities of adapting their calculation methods so as to obtain results which would correspond to an energy-based statistic. After considering the various replies, the members opted at the second meeting for the principle of an international statistic based on energy, therefore selecting the grids point of view.


In the case of energy-based statistics on thermal generating plant availability and non-availability, the dimensions involved in the calculations are capacity and time. The capacities used are the reference capacity in the case of total availability, and the available capacity. The times used are the period of observation to which the statistics refer and the lengths of time during which the reference capacity and the available capacity have not varied. The definitions adopted by the Joint Committee, reproduced below, are those drawn up by UNIPEDE and published in 1976 in the pamphlet 'Terminology used in statistics in the electricity supply industry'

This pamphlet was updated in 1991, although without any basic change sin the long-established principles and definition used to calculate energy availability and unavailability. IV CHOICE OF REFERENCE CAPACITY The reference capacity selected was the maximum capacity achievable under reference (or average) environmental conditions and hence, for a group of units, the sum of their maximum capacities, since in the case of total availability it is the capacity which can be generated by all the units concerned. The possibility of adjusting the maximum capacity of a unit in the case of permanent modifications to that unit avoids treating as an outage what is in fact a modification to the plant or a readjustment of predicted characteristics. The latter case frequently occurs with nuclear units, the maximum capacity of which may, after a certain length of time, exceed the rated capacity initially allowed for by the manufacturer; in the case of these units, reference to the rated capacity gives an availability greater than 100%, which in calculations is equivalent to a negative outage, which may conceal outages on other units in calculations covering all the units. This is why the rated capacity, which used to be called 'installed capacity'1 was not adopted as a reference capacity. Maximum capacity of a thermal unit or station (kW) The maximum power, or reference capacity, is that which could be produced under continuous operation (15 hours or longer) with the whole plant running and with adequate fuel stocks of normal quality. This value must remain constant for a given thermal unit unless, following permanent modification, the utility management decides to amend the original value. The overload capacity, which can only be maintained for a limited period, must not be taken into account in determining the maximum capacity. Capacity may be gross or net:2 'Gross' is deemed to be measured at the output terminals of all sets in the station; it therefore includes the power taken by stations auxiliaries and losses in transformers that are considered integral parts of the station. 'Net', indicating the maximum power that can be supplied, is deemed to be measured at the point of outlet to the network, i.e. excluding the power taken by station auxiliaries and the losses in the transformers that are considered integral parts of the station.

There is a general move in the different countries towards the adoption of net capacities, which concerns calculation of energy availability, in relation to the grid. For a power station, the term maximum capacity indicates the full potentiality of the whole of the station. The operating conditions briefly indicated in the above definition are: All the plant is considered to be in full working order, after allowing for wear of a permanent nature, and operating exclusively for the production of active power at maximum, not optimum rating, compatible with the specified period of operation and to accepted standards Unlimited supplies of fuel of usual quality and water supplies at normal volume, temperature and purity are available, in particular the cooling water temperature is the reference value, or the average value noted over a long period, based on available statistics3.

1 The term 'installed capacity', corresponding to 'gross maximum capacity', must be avoided because of the different meaning of the French terms (puissance installee). 2 In Great Britain this capacity is called 'installed capacity', when it is gross and 'maximum capacity' when it is net 3 In the USA the reference capacity often used is the 'maximum dependable capacity', which corresponds to the most severe, and not the normal climatic conditions and water temperature. This amounts to making a distinction between a maximum potential capacity for winter and a maximum capacity for summer, and using the lower of the two as the reference capacity.

Full account is taken of all plant limitations inherent in the unit or station itself; such as the capacity of the pulverising mills and the plant used for fuel handling, ash disposal and the supply of water. Production is not limited by any permanent or temporary restriction on the network or by nature of demand.

The maximum capacity of a group of thermal units or stations is the arithmetic sum of the individual maximum capacities. It therefore takes no account of possible restrictions, permanent or temporary, in the interconnections between these units or stations, with the network, or with consumers. When the group of stations considered includes all the stations in a given region, it may be described as a 'thermal region'. IV AVAILABLE CAPACITY OF THERMAL UNIT OR STATION (KW) The available capacity of a thermal unit or station at any given moment is the maximum power at which the station can be operated for a given period under the prevailing conditions assuming unlimited transmission facilities. Available capacity thus indicates the potentiality under continuous rating at given moment of the unit or station, under real environmental conditions, and given a network assumed to be available and infinite. This refers to available capacity, taking into account the technical station of the equipment and its ability to operate; this capacity does not depend on the despatching instructions. The concept of available capacity can be extended to a group of power stations; the available capacity must be calculated from the total number of power stations whether or not they are in operation. Available capacity may be gross or net, as for the maximum capacity. Available capacity in continuous operation is usually taken as being for 15 hours or longer. Available capacity in continuous operation differs from the maximum capacity by an amount representing the unavailability of plant and the shortages of fuel and water supplies at the time, as well as the existence of various internal or external constraints. It may be determined for a group of thermal stations or for a thermal region under the same conditions as 'maximum capacity'. VII UNAVAILABLE CAPACITY OF A THERMAL STATION: (c) The unavailable capacity of a thermal station is the difference between the maximum capacity (a) and the available capacity (b) c=a-b (kW) The two terms a and b in the subtraction must be capacities of the same kind, gross or net; the use of net capacities is tending to become general in the calculation of energy availability. The unavailable capacity can be divided between: cl: capacity not available due to planned maintenance. This maintenance must be such that it can be planned in advance, generally at the beginning of the year or when the annual maintenance schedule is drawn up; the start of which can be deferred and to a large extent controlled to suit operating conditions. UNIPEDE has defined a planned outage as one announced at least four weeks in advance. c2: capacity not available for any other reason.

When the period of unavailability exceeds the planned time for maintenance, the unavailable capacity in this excess period should .be classified under c2. Moreover, UNIPEDE has decided to consider as planned those outages, or unavailabilities, resulting from testing or periodic inspections, as long as these operations are regular and systematic, and do not highlight any particular deficiency in the installation. Since the start of these tests may be negotiated on a short-term basis with the grid dispatcher, they are not subject to the rule of four weeks (it is the commissioning programme for these tests and inspections which must respect this rule). An unavailability which is planned for a certain period but displaced in time for operational reasons would still be considered as 'planned' so long as its expected duration is not exceeded; if the duration does exceed that originally expected the excess corresponds to 'unplanned' unavailability. For the division of outages into two categories the 'planned' criterion was preferred to the 'forced outage' criterion. The reason is that the definition of planned outages is practically the same in the USA and in Europe, whereas the definition of forced outage is different in the USA and in Europe and even differs from one country to another within Europe. VIII ENERGY AVAILABILITY AND UNAVAILABILITY OVER A SPECIFIED PERIOD The energy availability factor (EAF) over a specified period: is the ratio of the energy B that the available capacity (b) could have produced during this period to the energy A that the maximum capacity (a) could have produced during the same period: EAF : f =B/A (expressed in % of the energy which could have been produced during this period by the maximum capacity). The energies B and A are given by the formulae: B = b.dt or B = b .tb A = a.dt or A = a .ta where tb =duration of available capacity b ta =duration of maximum capacity a The energy unavailability factor over a specified period: (g), is the ratio of the energy C that could have been produced during this period by a capacity equal to the unavailable capacity (c), and the energy A that could have been produced during the same period by the maximum capacity (a): g = C/A (expressed in % of the energy which could have been produced during this period by the maximum capacity). The energy C is given by the formula: C = c.dt or C = where tc = duration of unavailable capacity c. The unavailability factor (g) over a specified period can be divided between: gl = unavailability factor due to -planned maintenance work g2 = unavailability factor due to all other reasons. The defining equations are:

gl = 1/A c1.dt or gl = (cl.tc1)/A g2=1/A c2 dt or g2 = (c2 .tc2)/A where tcl and tc2 are respectively the period during which the capacity is not available due to: Note 1 The availability and unavailability factors for a specified period can be based on either: a continuous record of the capacities in question, reconstructed from the values of any variation in these capacities; or a finite number of values of these capacities, e.g. every hour, or for simplicity at a given hour each day. annual planned maintenance programme (c1); all other reasons (c2).

In the case of a single determination for each day, it is advised that this should be at 8:00 am (08.00 hours). The statistics should indicate whether they are based on continuous reconstruction using 24-hour values each day or a single value for each day, in the latter case giving the time to which it relates. Note 2 In order to calculate energy availability and unavailability factors over a period made up of a given number of days, e.g. a month, it is advisable to split this period into two, one made up of Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, and the other the remaining days. The most important factors in the determination of the necessary reserve capacity are those relating to days other than Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. IX METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION The principle of energy availability and outage statistics for thermal units based on energy as well as the above definitions may be applied and used with very different methods of data collection, as is suggested by note 1 in the preceding section. Statistics recording outage times may even be used as a basis for energy-based statistics, provided that the partial outages are calculated in equivalent hours of total unavailability and provided that the unavailability factors of each unit are weighted by its capacity. Simplified statistics based on a single recording per day, at 8:00 am, may give a very good approximation of the unavailability which would result from statistics based on a continuous evaluation of the maximum capacity and the unavailable capacity. Such a statistic does not in fact mean that the unavailable capacity recorded at say 8:00 am, for instance, is assumed to be constant for each unit during the day. It only assumes that over the whole of a period envisaged, the month or the year, the average of the unavailable capacities at 8:00 am calculated over all the units taken into account in the system concerned differs only slightly from the average value resulting from an integration of the maximum capacity and the unavailable capacity. It has been ascertained that for a group of about ten units and for a period of one month, the difference between the value calculated by integration and the value resulting from the simplified statistics was of the order of 1 %. Over an annual period this difference drops to 0.2 or 0.3 %. X CHOICE OF THE OBSERVATION PERIOD

At the international level, it was agreed to take the calendar year as the period for which the statistical results would be provided.

Some countries publish yearly results corresponding to the financial year which may start on a date other than 1 January, depending on the country and the utility. It would be desirable if, at the international level, results corresponding to the calendar year commencing on I January were available even for these countries. It was agreed to limit the statistics (calendar year results) to units in commercial operation at January 1st of the year in question. This is not intended to discount the first months of installation startup experience but the relevant figures should not be included in official statistics and must be treated with caution. On an international level, it has been agreed to limit statistics to the units available to the grid dispatcher, with all initial startup trials already carried out. The concept of commissioning (start of commercial operation), widely used worldwide, was considered a valid basis for statistical compilations. Results for the calendar year will therefore start on January 1st of the year following the date of commissioning of the installation in question; this year will then be considered the first year of age for this installation. XI EFFECT OF THE AGE OF UNITS The starting point for the collection of statistical data on availability as a function of age was the concept that the availability of a generating plant usually improves with age, at least for a number of years. It was therefore intended to check if a statistical analysis showed such an evolution. Unfortunately, the values observed are often disturbed by long-term failures which affect some of the units. The effect of these serious failures on the availability rate of all the units is not negligible, but is absorbed by the normal availability of most of the units. On the other hand, since the groups of units commissioned during the same year constitute statistical populations which are much more restricted than all the units put together , they are much more affected by the serious failure of a few units. This is the main reason why it was difficult to detect the increase in the availability factor with the age of the units. This difficulty was overcome in the following manner: the units were grouped not according to the year in which they started commercial operation, but according to the number of years which had elapsed since this start, whatever the date of the latter. It is worth noting that, for a group of units, the calendar year for one-year old units corresponds to the installations which started commercial operation in the previous calendar year. Excluding basic characteristics, this sample group may be described by its net maximum capacity, as well as by the corresponding number of units. Average energy availability factors were thus obtained for the nth calendar year after the year of the start of commercial operation. Using those factors energy availability factors for all the first n years after commercial operation startup were calculated. These values were seen to increase steadily with the number of years. The energy availability factor used in the calculations for each unit is the energy availability factor over the whole year; all outages, whether total or partial, planned or unplanned, are therefore deducted since only the actually available capacity is taken into account. Depending on the country, the annual energy availability factor is calculated from the 8.00 am (08.00 h) statistics or from the statistics involving the recording of all the variations in the available capacity in the course of each day. As the use of either of these statistics gave very similar results for the year, the values obtained by either method, according to the country, may be used as a basis for statistics covering all the countries. For example, figures in Annex I relate to a theoretical sample of 200-399 MW units. The figures in the first line represent the capacity of all the units entering commercial operation during the year which appears at the top of the column. A list of these units classified according to the year of commercial startup may be given in an appendix to this annex. The diagonal line indicates that all the factors on that diagonal relate to all the units entering commercial operation in the year corresponding to the upper end of the diagonal. Any anomaly in the factors may thus be explained by the history of the units corresponding to a given diagonal.

The annex contains columns for each calendar year and lines for each year of age of the units; these years of age are indicated by a figure representing the nth calendar year after the year of initial commercial operation. No availability figure is given for the calendar year of initial commercial operation. A box, in column x of line y must contain the mean annual factor for all the units which, during calendar year x, were in their yth calendar year after the year of commercial startup. The broken diagonal lines indicate the group of units to which an energy availability factor given in a box corresponds. The last two columns at the right give the average factors for all the units during their nth calendar year after the year of initial commercial operation, and during the first n calendar years after the year of initial commercial operation. In order to obtain these figures one proceeds as follows: The 'nth year' column shows the weighted mean of all the factors relating to the various calendar years on the same line; the weighting to a given factor is the capacity of all the units the energy availability of which is represented by this factor (the capacity indicated by the diagonals passing through the factor in question). The 'first n years' column shows, for line y, for example, the weighted average of the factors in nth year column from line 1 to line y. The weighting to be given to a given factor is the capacity of all the units the energy availability of which is represented by that factor (the capacities indicated by the diagonals passing through the factors on line y). The last line at the bottom of the annex gives the average factors for all the units for the calendar year which appears at the head of the column in question. They correspond to the weighted average of the factors appearing in the column in question; the weighting to be given to a given factor is the capacity of all the units the energy availability of which is represented by that factor (the capacity indicated by the diagonal passing through the factor in question). In the above descriptions, we assume that each group of units corresponding to each diagonal remains the same throughout the whole period in question. In the case where this group is modified (e.g. decommissioning of a unit, change in maximum capacity, very low unit utilization during availability, etc.), this should be indicated, through a note giving the new parameters to be taken into account (maximum capacity, number of units, if applicable), if this modification (indicated by an asterisk) must be taken into account. In addition, calculating the energy availability factor over a calendar year makes no sense for a lightly loaded unit; other indicators must therefore be used to evaluate the quality of service provided by this installation. In this case, maintaining an energy availability calculation would be equivalent to providing false, inflated values without any real meaning. Moreover, the statistics would tend to inflate the results for the group of units under consideration, and thus perturb the statistical analysis of the results. In order to avoid this effect one must eliminate from the sample groups the units for which calculation of the availability has been distorted in this way. Our proposal is to eliminate peak-load installations. An installation may be defined as peak-load if it is used during available periods less than 40% in terms of available energy. For example, a unit with an energy availability factor calculated at 70% should be taken into account in these results if its load factor (capacity factor, US) is greater than 28% (rate of use greater than 40%), it should not be taken into account if the opposite situation applies. XII CHOICE OF CLASSES AND CATEGORIES OF THERMAL UNITS FOR WHICH OVERALL STATISTICS SEEM DESIRABLE It seemed desirable to obtain results separately by classes of capacity and by category of fuel used. Comparisons of availability factors might in fact lead to doubtful conclusions if the corresponding units had very different capacities and this was not indicated. This might also be the case with the type of fuel. The classes of capacities which were proposed in the terms of reference, and which are reproduced below, were those adopted for conventional units (steam turbines) burning fossil fuel:

100-199 MW 200-399 MW (possibly 200-299MW and 300-300MW) 400-599 MW 600 MW and over (possibly 600-799 MW; 800-999 NW and 1000 MW and over) Where applicable, a sub-division between super-critical and sub-critical units is desirable. The division of nuclear units into classes and categories is examined below. It was noted that these limitations were not imperative and did not make it obligatory to transform the national statistics. However, it is desirable that the various countries should be able to provide results for classes of capacity which do not differ too much from the classes given above, so that one can compare results which correspond to units of relatively comparable capacities. As regards fuel categories, fossil fuels were divided into 3 categories: - Solid fuel (possibly: coal on one hand, and lignite and similar fuels on the other) -Gas -Oil It was noted that in some cases it would be difficult to distinguish between gas and oil and that results could only be provided for these two categories together. The case of nuclear units is examined below. The number of units and the maximum capacity of all these units must be indicated for each class and category. The type of table to be completed is attached, as Annex 2 For combined cycle plants, the following capacity classes were selected: 100 199 MW 200 299 MW 300 MW and over For gas turbines used as base load or semi-base load units, the selected capacity classes are: 30 49 MW 50 74 MW 75 99 MW 100 140 MW 150 MW and over As for the geographical distribution of installations, the corresponding groups are given in Annex 3 (UN codes and groupings). Annex 4 reiterates the classification of different types of installation (fossil-fuel or nuclear), as well as the above-mentioned fuel classes and capacity classes. A typical example of a sample group description is given in Annex 5. XIII NUCLEAR UNITS The various definitions given above can be applied to nuclear units. One must however emphasize the fact that the operating capacity of nuclear units may be limited by a decision of a governmental organization in charge of safety. The difference between the maximum capacity and the capacity authorized by the government organization is not due to the unavailability of the unit. It was therefore agreed to use in this case the authorized capacity instead of the maximum capacity as reference capacity in the calculation of the availability and unavailability factors. However, it is recommended that these differences between the maximum capacity and the authorized capacity should be recorded separately. If these differences became considerable, they would have to be taken into account when drawing up construction programmes for new units.


The classes and categories of nuclear units for which it seems desirable to establish separate sets of statistics are as recommended by I.A.E.A (Annex 4): 1. Units recharged during operation - gas cooled (GCR, Magnox, AGR) - heavy water moderated (PHWR) 2. Units recharged during shutdown 3 categories: - boiling water - pressurized water f 1 -other types and, in each category 6 classes: 100 399 MW 400 599 MW 600 799 MW 800 999 MW 1000 1199 MW 1200 MW and over

It is recommended that prototypes and units of less than l00 MW should not be included in the statistics. Data concerning the energy availability and unavailability of nuclear power stations is supplied by the IAEA, within the scope of the PRIS (Power Reactor Information System) data base. XIV UNAVAILABILITY OF MAIN COMPONENTS The main components mentioned in the terms of reference are the boiler (or nuclear steam supply system), the turbine, the generator and the auxiliaries for each of these components, as well as the common auxiliaries, i.e. those of the station itself. The unavailability of such components may be considered either in terms of the reliability of each component, or in terms of its responsibility with regard to the unavailability of the unit. Since the work of the Joint Committee was concentrated on the unavailability of units it is in terms of their responsibility for the unavailability of the unit that the unavailability of components should be considered. The overall unavailability factor must then be the sum of the unavailability factors of the components. It is therefore recommended that the countries which are able to do so should divide the overall unavailability factors of the units into the constituent factors of unavailability for each of the 7 components mentioned above. A breakdown into a larger number of items was rejected, in spite of its possible value. Harmonization at the international level would, it seems, require considerable work, and much. However, it is worth noting that a detailed classification by unavailability item already exists in the IAEAs database for nuclear plants, PRIS. This breakdown is given in Annex 6. XV DURATION CURVES FOR AVAILABLE CAPACITY Countries which use simplified statistics of available capacity based on one measurement per day should consider the possibility of drawing up duration curves of availability factors. These curves are obtained by classifying in order of increasing value the availability factors of each of the days of the period considered; against each value of the availability factor plotted on the x-axis, one plots on the yaxis the ratio of the number of availability factors higher than this value to the total number of recorded availability factors. By joining the points thus obtained, one obtains the availability factor distribution curve, which makes it possible to estimate the percentage of chances that the availability factor may be higher than a given


value. Such a curve, of which an example is attached as Annex 7, makes it possible to determine the necessary reserve capacity, taking into account the accepted failure risk. The countries which use statistics based on a continuous revision of the capacities by recording any variation of these capacities also have the possibility of drawing up duration curves of the available capacity by obtaining the availability rates for certain instants which can be freely chosen. XVI UNIT CAPABILITY FACTOR (PRODUCERS POINT OF VIEW) The different types of unavailability for a thermal plant can be represented as shown in Annex 8; total unavailable capacity in relation to the network is composed of two terms: C = C1 + C2, where C1 = planned unavailable capacity C2 = unavailable capacity for all other causes C2 itself has two sub-components: C2 = C21 + C22, where C21 = unplanned unavailable capacity for technical reasons that are under the direct or indirect control of plant management (equipment damage, operator error, extension of planned outage, etc). Evaluation of the corresponding unavailability must be carried out in relation to the reference capacity, independent of environmental conditions at the moment. C22 = unplanned unavailable capacity for non-technical reasons, or reasons not under the control of plant management (external and environmental causes). The idea of unit capability, expressing the producers point of view in terms of the reliability of his plant and in terms of unavailabilities over which he has direct or indirect control, is directly derived from the concept of energy availability (network point of view), by neutralizing in the calculation the factor C22 mentioned above. In the case where the calculation of the unit capability factor will be judged advantageous in the future, knowing the term C22 (external and non-technical unavailabilities) will be sufficient, beyond the current collection of information to access the two main indicators: energy availability and unit capability factor. For the purpose of the overall performance of an installation, and when different causes of unavailability are simultaneously present, the following cause hierarchy must be considered: I Unavailabilities under plant management control 1 planned unavailabilities 2 unplanned unavailabilities: engineering causes of loss 3 unplanned unavailabilities: non-engineering causes of loss and then: II Unavailabilities not under plant management control (external constraints)

The Unit Capability Factor (UCF) over a specified period, h, is equal to the Energy Availability Factor (EAF) over the same period of time, adjusted to consider that the unit is permanently under the reference ambient conditions (air or cooling water temperature) and neutralizing in the calculation energy losses due to constraints that are not under plant management control (constraints external to the installation) and non-engineering causes of loss.


UCF: h = B*, where B is corrected to B* to take into account the corrected or neutralized factors. A Note: B* is generally higher than B, and the unit capability factor higher than the energy availability factor.



Maximum Capacity

Available Capacity

Total Unavailable Capacity

Actual Generation

Available, but not supplied

Under plant management

Beyond plant management








Maximum electrical capacity


Available Capacity


Total Unavailable Capacity


Actual Generation

Available, but not supplied

Under plant management control (internal)

Not under plant management control (external)

Load following, frequency control and grid adjustments

Reserve shutdown

Engineering constraints

Non-engineering constraints


= c1


Long Term

Short Term


Plan Overrun (outage extension)

Advance of Plan

Breakdown, Restrictions and Other