What the OEM and the FBI told CCUG attendees

During GE Day at the Combined Cycle Users Group’s (CCUG) 2017 Annual Conference, held in Phoenix the last week of August, the big trends reported earlier in this issue were reinforced. One speaker bluntly told the audience that the trends in demand growth, capacity additions, and load shape “sucks” for this community. Most of what the OEM presented, at least in the first segment of its program, sounded like GE talking to itself about how to respond to tectonic market forces.

One speaker mentioned the need for a part-load maintenance factor. Yet another said “we need to rethink asset life,” for example, building a database of performance from units experiencing two-start days. “What do we need to do differently?” he asked. Another mentioned service agreements which “flex with you” as well as “outcome-based multi-year agreements.”

And such a discussion would not be complete without debating how digital technology is changing the O&M game. Putting the control-room information and indicators on remote digital devices was mentioned. In connection with that, one GE leader referred to a plant in California running at 10% capacity factor that has gone down to a single operator at night.

 Cybersecurity was addressed by a representative of the regional office of the FBI. He observed that physical access is still the key to many security problems. Several pearls of wisdom:

      • Wall off anything that cannot be patched from the Internet.

      • Don’t trust Microsoft patches.

      • If you have Kaspersky anti-virus software, get rid of it. Kaspersky software has gotten caught up in the nation’s current love of all things Russian.

Another FBI agent discussed the ideology of Islamic terrorism, though it was unclear whether anything was directly applicable to US powerplants. Both agents suggested that plants consider a visit from the FBI/Dept of Homeland Security (DHS), through the Arizona Cyber Threat Response Alliance, to walk down the site and provide an evaluation and recommendations.

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