Nameplate capacity

Nameplate capacity

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Nameplate capacity, also known as the rated capacity, nominal capacity, installed capacity or maximum effect, refers to the intended technical full–load sustained output of a facility such as a power plant
Power plant (disambiguation)
Power plant or Powerplant may refer to:Power generation:*A power station, a facility for the generation of electrical power*An engine and related systems that propels a vehicle, such as an automobile, aircraft, watercraft, or rocket, often referred to as simply engine*An aircraft engine...

, a chemical plant
Chemical plant
A chemical plant is an industrial process plant that manufactures chemicals, usually on a large scale. The general objective of a chemical plant is to create new material wealth via the chemical or biological transformation and or separation of materials. Chemical plants use special equipment,...

, fuel plant, metal refinery, mine, and many others.

For dispatchable power
Dispatchable generation
Dispatchable generation refers to sources of electricity that can be dispatched at the request of power grid operators; that is, generating plants that can be turned on or off, or can adjust their power output on demand...

, this capacity depends on the internal technical capability of the plant to maintain output for a reasonable amount of time (for example, a day), not momentarily or everlasting, and without considering external events such as lack of fuel or internal events such as maintenance. Actual output can be different from nameplate capacity for a number of reasons depending on equipment and circumstances.

Nameplate capacity is the number registered with authorities for classifying the power
Power (physics)
In physics, power is the rate at which energy is transferred, used, or transformed. For example, the rate at which a light bulb transforms electrical energy into heat and light is measured in watts—the more wattage, the more power, or equivalently the more electrical energy is used per unit...

 output of a power station usually expressed in Megawatts (MW).

Power plants with a high occurrence near nameplate capacity have a high capacity factor
Capacity factor
The net capacity factor or load factor of a power plant is the ratio of the actual output of a power plant over a period of time and its potential output if it had operated at full nameplate capacity the entire time...


The term is connected with nameplate
A nameplate identifies and displays a person or product's name. Name plates are usually shaped as rectangles but are also seen in other shapes, sometimes taking on the shape of someone’s name...

s on electrical generator
Electrical generator
In electricity generation, an electric generator is a device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy. A generator forces electric charge to flow through an external electrical circuit. It is analogous to a water pump, which causes water to flow...

s as these plates describing the model name and manufacturer usually also contain the rated output, but the rated output of a power station to the electrical grid is usually less than the generator capacity because the components outside the generator, but inside the power station, also use power which detracts from the amount that reaches the grid. Thus there is a distinction between component capacity and facility capacity.

For non-dispatchable power, particularly renewable energy
Renewable energy
Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable . About 16% of global final energy consumption comes from renewables, with 10% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from...

, nameplate capacity refers to generation under ideal conditions. Output is generally limited by weather conditions, hydroelectric dam water levels, tidal variations and other outside forces. Equipment failures and maintenance usually contribute less to capacity factor
Capacity factor
The net capacity factor or load factor of a power plant is the ratio of the actual output of a power plant over a period of time and its potential output if it had operated at full nameplate capacity the entire time...

 reduction than the innate variation of the power source.

See also

  • Availability factor
    Availability factor
    The availability factor of a power plant is the amount of time that it is able to produce electricity over a certain period, divided by the amount of the time in the period. Occasions where only partial capacity is available may or may not be deducted...

  • Declared net capacity
    Declared net capacity
    Declared net capacity is a measure of the contribution that a power station makes to the overall capacity of a distribution grid. It is measured in megawatts , or in megawatts electrical for a thermal power station....

     (power plants)
  • Electricity generation
    Electricity generation
    Electricity generation is the process of generating electric energy from other forms of energy.The fundamental principles of electricity generation were discovered during the 1820s and early 1830s by the British scientist Michael Faraday...

  • Intermittent power source#Terminology