When a power plant requires a company to embrace the construction, installation, maintenance, and support of the electrical, mechanical and all supporting components and auxiliary systems, they arrange for them to sign a balance of plant contract . Power plants may be electrical or utilize energy derived from other sources. Gas turbines and remote wind farms all may require the implementation of a balance of plant (BOP) plan. Even mobile and solar production facilities require some form of BOP a strategy to ensure effective, efficient, and integrative power operations.
Balance of Plant: Scope
The scope of any BOP contract embraces a variety of components and systems throughout the plant. In fact, it is an extensive and complex agreement intended to address all supporting facilities and auxiliary infrastructure power systems except for the main generating unit. The actual equipment and its supportive structures potentially covered by a BOP contract include:
- Control systems
- Monitoring systems
A closer examination indicates that the entire system of any power plant can, generally, be reduced to two major components:
- Electrical Devices: This includes both power and auxiliary transformers as well as switchgear, circuit breakers, and surge arresters.
- Mechanical Devices: These are non-electrical in nature. Among the many devices are pressure reduction systems, compressed air systems, and fire protection systems.
The intent is to ensure the various components operate and continue to do so seamlessly.
Balance of Plant Contract
Power companies desiring to ensure they have in place measures to optimize their systems, look to those who provide comprehensive the right type of auxiliary mechanical and electrical systems. They know by signing the right company to a Balance of Plant contract, they are reducing the risk of operational downtime while enhancing and improving the power plant’s overall efficiency, reliability, and productivity. In turn, this can help to improve the company’s profitability.