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Load Characteristics

3.1 Introduction

The primary function of a power station is to serve power to a large number of consumers.
Nevertheless, the power needs of consumers are subjected to change depending upon their

As a consequence of this variance in demand, the load on a power station is never constant,
rather it shifts with time. Due to this reason modern power plant faces a lot of complexities.

We cannot store electrical power and, consequently, the power station must create power as
and when required to meet the demands of the consumers.

On one hand, for maximum efficiency, it is important to run the alternators in the power
station at their rated capacity and on the other hand, the requirements of the consumers
have wide variances.

This makes the design of a power station highly complex.


A device that uses electrical energy is said to impose a load on the system.

The term load has number of applications such as

•To suggest a device or a collection of devices which consume electrical energy.

•To indicate power required from a given supply circuit.

•To indicate the current passing through a line or a machine.

The load can be resistive, inductive, capacitive, or some combination of them.

Load on power systems is split into the following:

•Domestic load—light, fans, refrigerators, heaters, and television

•Commercial load—lighting for shops, fans, and electric appliances used in restaurant

•Industrial load—industrial load consists of load demand by industries

•Municipal load—street lighting, power required for water supply, etc.

•Irrigation load—electric power required for pumps

•Traction loads—tram cars, trolley bus, and railways

•Electronics loads (capacitive loading)—switched-mode power supply and filter circuit

Variable Load

The load on the power station changes with time due to uncertain and variable demands of
the consumers and is known as variable load on the station.
Effects of Variable Load

Need of Additional Equipment

Consider a steam power station. Air, coal, and water are the raw materials for this plant. In
order to produce variable power, the supply of these materials will be required to be varied
correspondingly. For instance, if the power demand on the plant increases, it must be
followed by increased flow of coal, air, and water to the boiler in order to meet the increased
demand. Therefore, additional equipment has to be installed to accomplish this job.

Increase in Production Cost

The variable load on the plant increases the cost of production of electrical energy. An
alternator operates at maximum efficiency near its rated capacity. If a single alternator is
used, it will have poor efficiency during period of light loads on the plant. Therefore, in actual
practice, a number of alternators of different capacities are installed so that most of the
alternators can be operated at nearly full-load capacity.
However, the use of a number of generating units increases the initial cost per kW of the plant
capacity as well as floor area required. This leads to the increase in production cost of energy.
Connected Load

Connected load is the sum of continuous ratings of all loads connected to the system.

For instance, if a consumer has connections of five 200 W lamps and plug of 600 W, then

connected load of the consumer is (5 × 200 + 600 = 1600 W).


The demand of a system is the load that is drawn from the source of supply at a receiving
terminal averaged over a suitable and specified interval of time.

The load may be given in kW, kilovar (kvar), kilovoltampere (kVA), or ampere (A).

Demand Interval

Demand interval is the period over which the load is averaged.

There are two demands:

1.Instantaneous demand

2.Sustained demand (continuous for a certain time interval)

Instantaneous demand is not very important because all the machines are designed for

The sustained intervals are generally taken as 15 min, 30 min, or even longer.
Demand Factor (DF)

Ratio of the actual maximum demand of the system to the total connected load of the
Average Load or Average Demand

The average load occuring on the power station in a given period (day, month or year) is
know as average load or average demand
Load Factor (LF)

Ratio of average load to the maximum demand during a given period.

𝐴𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑔𝑒 𝐿𝑜𝑎𝑑
LF =
𝑀𝑎𝑥. 𝐷𝑒𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑑

If the plant is in operation for T hours

𝐴𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑔𝑒 𝐿𝑜𝑎𝑑 𝑥 𝑇 𝑈𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑠 𝑔𝑒𝑛𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑖𝑛 𝑇 ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑠

LF = =
𝑀𝑎𝑥. 𝐷𝑒𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑥 𝑇 𝑀𝑎𝑥. 𝐷𝑒𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑥 𝑇 ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑠
Diversity Factor

The ratio of the individual sum of maximum demands to the maximum demand on power

𝑆𝑢𝑚 𝑜𝑓 𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑑𝑢𝑎𝑙 𝑚𝑎𝑥. 𝑑𝑒𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑑

Diversity Factor =
𝑀𝑎𝑥. 𝐷𝑒𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛

A power station supplies load to various types of consumers whose max demands
generally are not same at the same time. Therefore, the max. Demand on the power
station is always less than the sum of max. İndividul demands of the consumers.
Plant Capacity Factor

Ratio of actual energy produced to the maximum possible energy that could have been
produced during a given period.

𝐴𝑐𝑡𝑢𝑎 𝑒𝑛𝑒𝑟𝑔𝑦 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑑𝑢𝑐𝑒𝑑 𝐴𝑣𝑔.𝑑𝑒𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑥 𝑇

Plant Capacity Factor = =
𝑀𝑎𝑥. 𝑒𝑛𝑒𝑟𝑔𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑑𝑢𝑐𝑒𝑑 𝑃𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝑐𝑎𝑝𝑎𝑐𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑥 𝑇

Let the period to be 1 year, then

𝐴𝑛𝑛𝑢𝑎𝑙 𝑘𝑊ℎ 𝑜𝑢𝑡𝑝𝑢𝑡

Annual Plant Capacity Factor =
𝑃𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝑐𝑎𝑝𝑎𝑐𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑥 8760

The plant capacity factor is a measure of the reserve capacity of the plant. A
power station must be designed in such a way that it has some reserve capacity
for meeting the increased load demand in future. Therefore, the installed capacity
of the plant is always somewhat greater than maximum demand on the plant.

Reserve capacity = Plant capacity – Max. Demand

Plant Use Factor

Ratio of kWh generated to the product of the plant capacity and the number of hours
for which the plant was in operation.

𝑆𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑖𝑛 𝑘𝑊ℎ

Plant Use Factor =
𝑃𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝑐𝑎𝑝𝑎𝑐𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑥 ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑢𝑠𝑒

A plant having installed capacity of 20 MW produces annual output of 7.35x106 kWh

and remains in operation for 2190 hours in a year. Then

Plant Use Factor = 20x103 𝑥 2190 = 0,167 = 16,7 %
Loss Factor

Ratio of the average power loss to the peak load power loss during the specified period of

𝐴𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑔𝑒 𝑝𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟 𝑙𝑜𝑠𝑠

Loss Factor =
𝑃𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟 𝑙𝑜𝑠𝑠 𝑎𝑡 𝑝𝑒𝑎𝑘 𝑙𝑜𝑎𝑑
Load Curves

Load curve is a graphical representation between load (in kW or MW) and time (in

The curve showing the variation of load on the power station wrt time is known as load
curve (daily, monthy, yearly etc.)
Information Obtained from Load Curves

• Load variation during different hours of the day

• The peak load indicated by the load curve gives the max. Demand on the power stations

• The area under the load curve gives the total energy generated in the period under


• The area under the load curve divided by the total number of hours gives the average


• The ration of the area under the load curve to the total area of the rectangle in which it

is contained gives the LF.

Load Duration Curve

When the load elements of a load curve are arranged in order of descending magnitudes,
the curve thus obtained is called a load duration curve.

The load duration curve is derived from the load curve and therefore, represents the same
data as that of the load curve but the ordinates are arranged in the order of descending
Information Available from the Load Duration Curve

• It gives minimum load present throughout the given period

• It enables the selection of base load and peak load power plants
• Any point on the load duration curve gives the total duration in hours for the
corresponding load and all loads of greater value
• The areas under load curve and corresponding load duration curve are equal. Both areas
represent the same associated energy during the period under consideration
• The average demand during some specified time period such as a day or month or year
can be obtained from the load duration curve as follows :

𝑘𝑊ℎ 𝑜𝑟 𝑀𝑊ℎ 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑠𝑢𝑚𝑒𝑑 𝑖𝑛 𝑎 𝑔𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑛 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑜𝑑

Average Demand =
𝐻𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑜𝑑

𝐴𝑟𝑒𝑎 𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑙𝑜𝑎𝑑 𝑑𝑢𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑐𝑢𝑟𝑣𝑒

𝐵𝑎𝑠𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑙𝑜𝑎𝑑 𝑑𝑢𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑐𝑢𝑟𝑣𝑒

A 150 MW power station delivers 150 MW for 2 h, 75 MW for 8 h, and is shut down for the
rest of each day. It is also shut down for maintenance for 50 days each year. Calculate its
annual LF.

A power station has a maximum demand of 20,000 kW. The annual LF is 40%, and plant
capacity factor is 35%. Determine the reserve capacity of the plant

A power plant has maximum demand of 80 MW, an LF of 0.7, plant capacity factor of 0.5,
and plant use factor of 0.9. Find

(a) the daily energy produced,

(b) the reverse capacity of the plant, and
(c) the maximum energy that could be produced daily if the plant operating schedule is
fully loaded when in operation.

The peak load on a power station is 60 MW. The load having maximum demand of 30, 20, 15,
and 10 MW are connected to the power plant. The capacity of the power plant is 80 MW and
the annual LF is 0.80. Estimate

(a) the average load on the power plant,

(b) the energy supplied per year,
(c) the DF,
(d) the diversity factor,
(e) he utilization factor,
(f) the plant capacity factor, and
(g) the reverse factor.
Source of Presentation

Sadhu, Pradip K. Elements of Power Systems. CRC Press, 20160212. VitalBook file.