20 Apr 2018

Critical Backup Power

Critical Backup Power

Critical Backup Power

Plants are at the mercy of the elements. At any moment, turbulent weather could bring power supplies down, or a grid-wide failure could bring normal-functioning generators to a standstill. For plant operators, avoiding times of outage is a vital part of running a plant, but it can’t always be helped - particularly when Mother Nature gets involved.   

In these instances, it’s time for a plant’s backup power to shine, but it’s not always as smooth sailing as a stand-in picking up the slack; sometimes the stand-in power supply can fail as well, causing added stress during power outages.  

In an already taxing time, the last thing plant operators need is to have to worry about making sure their backup generators are working at full capacity, which can lead to excess costs and wasted precious time. 

In fact, having to worry about whether their backup power will kick in during an outage shouldn’t be something that even crosses the minds of plant operators, but there’s always the risk that things won’t work as well as they’re supposed to. 

And what happens if the backup power doesn’t work? 

The outcome can be costly and, in some circumstances, catastrophic. 

How to Implement Critical Backup Power and Grid Support

Being able to quickly restore power loss caused by inclement weather, equipment breakdowns, and natural disasters is something plant operators need to have under control. 

At Aggreko, we provide full grid power support when a plant goes down by supplying missing power to minimize any blackouts. 

In one instance, Tasmania faced a full blackout. The small island uses around 1,200 MW of electricity every year, 60% of which comes directly from hydropower. But, when a severe drought plagued the island, they knew that lengthy blackouts were imminent. They needed extra power - and fast. 

The Aggreko team put in place a two-part plan that brought in diesel generators to support specific plants and installed new temporary power sources. By being able to respond quickly, we helped Tasmania avoid multiple months of blackouts and avoided a huge knock on effect for the state’s economy. 

A similar story happened when a devastating tsunami struck Japan in 2011. It caused an estimated US$300 billion in damage and seriously affected the country’s electricity supply. They needed backup power - and fast. 

In just three months, we’d installed two 100MW power generation plants that together drastically reduced the number of power shortages that faced consumers, industry, and residents so that the country could sustain a strong supply of electricity to allow rebuilds in the areas most devastated by the natural disaster. 

Natural disasters and power outages can happen in any industry and can affect all sorts of infrastructures and plants, which is why we provide backup power to a multitude of different sectors - we cover everything from facilities management, data centers, construction, contracting, and utilities. 

Having a solid backup power system in place can be the saving grace for plants during a power outage or a natural disaster. Without a proper critical backup power system in place, plant operators and managers will find times of outage stressful, costly, and incredibly time-consuming.