08/21/2018

How it all began

Although we’re a renewable energy company, the inspiration for Power Factors actually happened in 1978, just after the OPEC oil embargo. The US Congress had just passed PURPA legislation to deregulate the grid and promote energy independence. Recognizing that we needed to reinvent how power was generated and distributed, I joined one of the first […]

How it all began


Although we’re a renewable energy company, the inspiration for Power Factors actually happened in 1978, just after the OPEC oil embargo. The US Congress had just passed PURPA legislation to deregulate the grid and promote energy independence. Recognizing that we needed to reinvent how power was generated and distributed, I joined one of the first independent power plants (IPP), Calpine Corporation, as a young performance engineer.

"Fast-forward to 2018, and once again we’re reinventing how power will be generated."

Steve Hanawalt

My first job was demonstrating to financial owners that the plant was meeting its performance guarantees. Though it involved analysis, the majority of my time was spent rekeying control system performance test data into spreadsheets. One day it dawned on me that if I had a tool to route that test data directly to my spreadsheet, I would become 80% more efficient. I built an automation tool to do just that. Over the next 25 years, I became an automation fanatic, building tools to characterize optimal efficiencies from operational, financial and asset components of generation plants.

Fast-forward to 2018, and once again we’re reinventing how power will be generated. I founded Power Factors thinking I could use my 25 years of experience as the VP of Plant Optimization at Calpine to create automation tools to help owners and operators maximize performance at renewable power plants. After all, the relationship between efficiency and profitability remains the same.

The discipline I developed as VP of Plant Optimization at Calpine has been transferable to renewable power. The big difference? Labor to maintain renewable power plants, rather than fuel costs, accounts for more than 80% of the cost of production. Power Factors incorporates best practices and lessons learned from IPPs and has added the new imperative of driving labor cost-of-production to its lowest possible level. Our mission is to equip renewable operators and technical asset managers with automation tools that work to make renewable energy the leading source of power worldwide.

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