# How to Calculate The Utilization Hours of Power Generation Equipment?

Oct. 30, 2022

The utilization hours of power generation equipment refer to the indicators reflecting the utilization degree and level of production capacity of power generation equipment. Every year, the China Electricity Council releases the annual utilization hours of power generation units above 6MW. The regulatory authorities of the power industry are also very concerned about this indicator, and power generation enterprises are more concerned about the utilization hours of their own power plants. This is nothing more than a word - money. The number of hours used is directly related to making money.

Of course, the generation capacity is most related to the recovered electricity charge, but for units with different installed capacity, it is difficult to directly compare their electricity charge recovery by generating capacity, so the indicator of "utilization hours" is used. The higher the utilization hours, the more fully the equipment is used, the lower the fixed asset investment amortized per kilowatt hour of electricity, or the faster the fixed asset investment is recovered under the same electricity price.

The regulatory authority of the power industry is concerned about this indicator to check whether the power system dispatching organization has achieved fair dispatching. For coal-fired power plants, the annual utilization hours of one plant is 5500 hours, while that of the other plant is only 3000 hours, which may be unfair to power plants with low utilization hours.

However, whether it is really unfair requires careful investigation. For example, low power load, equipment problems or failures, transmission line congestion, power system security and many other reasons may cause low utilization hours.

Many people believe that the formula of annual utilization hours=annual power generation/installed capacity is correct, but it is not rigorous, and it is easy to calculate that the utilization hours are too small. For example, its accurate method is: the operating hours calculated by dividing the power generation capacity in the report period by the capacity of power generation equipment. Another indicator of the same concept: equipment utilization rate, which is the ratio of the utilization hours of power generation equipment in the reporting period to the calendar hours in that period. Note that the reporting period is used here. When using these two indicators, we should pay attention to the reporting period.

For example, if a 3MW wind turbine was put into operation on January 1, generating 6000kWh accumulatively by the end of the year, another 2MW wind turbine was put into operation on July 1, generating 3000kWh accumulatively by the end of the year, then their utilization hours in the year were 2000 hours and 1500 hours respectively, and their utilization rates were 2000/8760 and 1500/4416 respectively, that is, 22.8% and 34.0%, indicating that the utilization of the second wind turbine was higher. (8760 and 4416 are the hours of the whole year and the second half of the year respectively, 8760=24 × 365，4416=24 × 184）

If it is converted into a year, the utilization hours are 2000 and 3000 respectively, which also shows that the utilization of the second fan is higher. If two wind turbines are regarded as one wind farm, the annual power generation capacity of the whole wind farm is 12000 kWh, and the installed capacity is 5MW, then the annual utilization hours of the wind farm are 2400 hours.

If you do not pay attention to the report period and add it up directly, the power generation is only 9000 hours. If you divide it directly, you will get an error result of 1800 hours. For renewable energy power plants such as wind farms and photovoltaic power plants, many wind turbines or photovoltaic panels are often connected to the grid by stages and batches. When calculating utilization hours, pay attention to the reporting period of each batch in each phase.

The concepts of utilization hours and utilization rate are not only applicable to power generation equipment, but also to things in production and life. We can use this method to calculate the utilization hours and utilization rates of various equipment, such as home TV, microwave oven, washing machine, etc.

It is better to buy fewer things that can be used less than once a year. You can rent them when you use them, but you should buy good quality things that are commonly used. In this view, the utilization rate of mobile phones, computers and other equipment is too high. If you buy one at a higher price, you won't lose if you buy one with better quality.

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