# Utility Factor in a Power Plant: 3 Important Examples

## Another name for the utility factor in a power plant is the utilization factor. It is a crucial performance indicator showing how well the facility uses its electricity production. By comparing the actual electricity generated to the maximum electricity it might create if it functioned constantly at its rated capacity, it assesses how efficiently a power plant runs over a certain period of time.

For power plant operators, investors, and policymakers to evaluate a plant’s economic feasibility, allocate resources as efficiently as possible, and make well-informed decisions on power generation, they need to know the Utility Factor. We will discuss the idea of the Utility Factor in a power plant, its calculation, and three different kinds of power plants with determined Utility Factors in this comprehensive presentation.

## Formula for Utility Factor in a Power Plant

The Utility Factor is calculated using the following formula:

Where:

Actual Energy Output: The amount of electricity the power plant produces during a given time frame, usually a year.

Maximum Possible Energy Output: If the plant ran continually for the same amount of time at its rated capacity, it could generate electricity.

Plant Factor, Plant Capacity Factor, and Load Factor

Difference Between Demand Factor and Diversity Factor

## Utility Factor in a Natural Gas Combined Cycle Power Plant

Let us consider a 500-megawatt (MW) combined cycle power plant that runs on natural gas. It produced 400,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of power in a calendar year. In order to get the Utility Factor:

Achieved Energy Production: 400,000 MWh

Based on rated capacity, the maximum possible energy output= 500 MW * 8,760 hours (hours in a year)

= 4,380,000 MWh.

Now, calculate the Utility Factor:

The Utility Factor for the natural gas combined cycle power plant is approximately 9.13%.

## Utility Factor in a Wind Turbine Farm

Let’s consider a wind turbine farm with a total rated capacity of 200 MW. Over the year, it generated 200,000 MWh of electricity. To calculate the Utility Factor:

Actual Energy Output = 200,000 MWh

Maximum Possible Energy Output (based on rated capacity) = 200 MW * 8,760 hours = 1,752,000 MWh

Now, calculate the Utility Factor:

The Utility Factor for the wind turbine farm is approximately 11.42%.

## Utility Factor in a Hydroelectric Power Plant

Consider a hydroelectric power plant with a total rated capacity of 100 MW. In a year, it generated 800,000 MWh of electricity. To calculate the Utility Factor:

Actual Energy Output = 800,000 MWh

Maximum Possible Energy Output (based on rated capacity) = 100 MW * 8,760 hours = 876,000 MWh

Now, calculate the Utility Factor: