January 13, 2023
Journal Article

Data-Driven Modeling of Power Generation for a Coal Power Plant Under Cycling


Increased penetration of renewables for power generation has negatively impacted the dynamics of conventional fossil fuel-based power plants. The power plants operating on the base load are forced to cycle, to adjust to the fluctuating power demands. This results in an inefficient operation of the coal power plants, which leads up to higher operating losses. To overcome such operational challenge associated with cycling and to develop an optimal process control, this work analyzes a set of models for predicting power generation. Moreover, the power generation is intrinsically affected by the state of the power plant components, and therefore our model development also incorporates additional power plant process variables while forecasting the power generation. We present and compare multiple state-of-the-art forecasting data-driven methods for power generation to determine the most adequate and accurate model. We also develop an interpretable attention-based transformer model to explain the importance of process variables during training and forecasting. The trained deep neural network (DNN) model predicts the power generation cycling trend with a root mean square error of $0.1-50$ MW. The DNN memory-based models show significant superiority over other state-of-the-art machine learning models for short, medium and long range predictions. The transformer-based model with attention enhances the selection of historical data for multi-horizon forecasting, and also allows to interpret the significance of internal power plant components on the power generation. This newly gained insights can be used by operation engineers to anticipate and monitor the health of power plant equipment during high cycling periods.

Published: January 13, 2023


Sharma H., L.D. Marinovici, V.A. Adetola, and H.T. Schaef. 2023. Data-Driven Modeling of Power Generation for a Coal Power Plant Under Cycling. Energy and AI 11. PNNL-SA-171444. doi:10.1016/j.egyai.2022.100214