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If there was a contest to get my attention between being briefed on insurance, attending a baseball match when no one seems to ever get on base and watching the drying of the Thermal Barrier Coating on a blade, insurance would place no higher than third.
Yet I found myself fascinated by an insider briefing on turbine insurance at a Combustion Turbine Operators Technical Forum (CTOTF) meeting in April. Despite there being no green reptiles on display (a green lizard promises 15% savings on car insurance in U.S. TV commercials), it became abundantly clear that the insurance field is deeply immersed in turbine operations and maintenance (O&M) know-how. Factually, it has to understand O&M to be able to know what it is doing when it comes to setting rates, deductibles and the amount of downtime for which they are liable.
The colossal volume of claims they receive in a given year means they have to be very much on the ball. Although I can’t guarantee that reading the article will save you 15% on turbine insurance, it may provide some insight into the mindset of the insurance field. Insurance industry numbers show just how much the different kinds of turbines, boilers, generators and transformers contribute to insurance losses.
Most combustion turbine trouble, by the way, occurs during commissioning, testing and the initial start phase. However, those losses are dwarfed by claims for lost productivity due to downtime. But the article doesn’t just lay out the stats. It tracks them back to what lies behind them and explains how upping your game on O&M will directly influence your insurance costs.
CTOTF also served up a wealth of data on blade repair, maintenance best practices, power uprates, and alternatives to OEM service agreements. These user groups supply a perspective that is difficult to find anywhere else.
On the way back from CTOTF, I took a tour of Mitsubishi’s Orlando Service Center. With the company having purchased Pratt and Whitney Power Systems and recently establishing a turbomachinery joint venture with Hitachi, it is clear that it is gearing up for a major expansion throughout the Americas. This can only be good for users as greater competition should exert some downward price pressure, as well as sparking innovation.
Take a good look, too, at our Industry News section which has a different flavor. It is kicked off by a piece by contributing editor Mark Axford who visited the annual Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) meeting on worldwide energy markets. He conducted an interview with one of CERA’s leaders on what is happening currently in the U.S. and how 2014 could see an uptick in electricity consumption. Mark also gives a detailed rundown of gas turbine orders, trends and expectations.
Executive correspondent Pete Baldwin is another contributor with a very clear perspective. His story focuses on a recent EPA ruling and what it means for carbon capture and storage as well as the broader market.
But that’s just scraping the surface. This issue is our biggest of the year to date and is packed with diverse content. Some highlights: how to improve repair shop performance, redesigning blades to increase output, dealing with torsional stress, and bearings that can operate at cryogenic temperatures.