Abstract for: Electricity Generating Plant Capacity Allocation Based on Alternative Priority Settings

The South African electricity environment is transitioning from a traditional business model within a regulated paradigm to a deregulated operating model in the hope of containing tariff hikes while allowing fair competition and the inclusion of several independent power producers. Due to challenges in storing electricity generated by power stations, the system grid operator has to continuously adjust the output and priority of plants dispatched to meet electricity demand. Dispatch decisions are primarily driven by least cost optimization but there are instances when the priority of power stations have to be changed based on unavailability of units on outage. This study made use of a system dynamics modelling method to determine if suitable algorithms could be formulated to manually change the priority of power stations based on changing demand, as opposed to predetermined operating criteria and automatic dispatch logic. Results indicated that the system dynamics model structure allowed for changing user selected prioritization of power stations with variable capacities to meet demand. The final model structure is still under development but the algorithms for the initial model structure is explained.