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California Faces Multiple Increased Risks for Power Outages

The state of California is known to be near, if not at the top of the list when it comes to most power outages in the United States. The most common causes of California power outages are related to extreme weather. California is prone to extreme heat, droughts, winds and deadly wildfires and this year is no exception as this extreme weather is predicted to hit California once again.

With that being said, it’s vital that you are prepared for both planned and unplanned power outages. Unfortunately, as most of you know, there are still global supply chain issues, resulting in lead times that are longer than expected. Therefore, if you’re looking to be proactive versus reactive, start planning now. We can help with all your power generation needs!

To assist in your preparation, we have prepared a list of factors to be aware of that could increase the risk of power outages this summer:

  1. Extreme Heat

During the hot summers that California encounters, more people use power to cool down their homes and business; this greatly increases power demand. When this heat is combined with adverse weather conditions that could reduce output from other power sources, system operators may also be forced to use emergency procedures to prevent catastrophic grid failures and extended outages. In addition to that, the extreme heat will cause electrical equipment to fail.

  1. Drought

In relation to California’s hot temperatures, droughts may also increase the risk of a power outage as they can strain the electricity supply. Hydroelectricity is another energy source that California highly depends on and if its reservoirs run low – likely due to extreme heat – there will be a significant drop in hydroelectric generation. With this drop in energy production, the chances of an electricity shortages rises.

  1. Wind

Extreme heat coupled with drought conditions gets exponentially worse when extreme winds come into play. This is what California is faced with every year when the Santa Ana winds start blowing or when the state is hit with the fierce Diablo Winds. Beside knocking out power, these winds can cause power line breakages which will spark wildfires.

  1. Wildfire Season

Summer and early fall in California tend to also be referred to as “wildfire season”.  Wildfires are devastating, unpredictable and they move extremely quickly. They can destroy transmission lines and electrical infrastructure which results in power outages that may last days or weeks.

  1. Planned De-Energization Events – Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPSs)

PSPSs are a newer, more proactive solution where utility companies shut off power during extreme and dangerous weather conditions to reduce the changes of wildfires breaking out in high-risk areas.  Numerous high-risk areas have been identified in California and, for that reason, these events are anything but out of the ordinary for California residents and businesses.

  1. Supply Shortages

As mentioned above, hot California summers can result in low electricity generation. At the same time, electricity demand peaks during periods of extreme heat as, people tend to use their air conditioning all at the same time. Because of this, the grid will be challenged and will struggle to meet the energy demands.

All these factors listed above, substantially increase the risk of power outages. We know that, in today’s world, the majority of industries and businesses rely on electricity to be operational and to provide their goods and services to their customer base. Therefore, these hazards cannot be ignored. We want to ensure that you and your businesses are safe, with the ability to still maximize your uptime. We can support you by maintaining your existing generators, upgrading you to a new generator where it makes sense, or providing backup power generation solutions.

Contact us for more information. Our team is always happy to help!

888.682.6888 or info@collicutt.com

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Successfully Overcoming Project Disaster

The Challenge

In 2019, Collicutt was approached by one of our clients who had just won the electrical design and build contract for a new residential high rise to be built in downtown Los Angeles. Part of that contract included the supply of an emergency backup generator that would provide power for the building during a power grid outage that is so common in California.

Besides the usual backup power requirements for a building of this type, there were a few challenges that made this project unique:

  • This unit was going to be placed on the ninth floor of the building.
  • Once the unit was in place on the ninth floor, the building would be completed around and above it.
  • The crane doing the lifting was being removed immediately following the generator installation to make way for the remaining building construction. This meant that the generator was on the construction schedule’s critical path.
  • Because this building is downtown LA, the logistics surrounding the lift of the generator were very complicated. Traffic restrictions had to be minimized and the lift radius of the crane was restricted due to the surrounding buildings and infrastructure.

The Solution

When the contractor started their design process, they reached out to our team at Collicutt. We worked with them and their engineering teams to understand the building electrical loads, design constraints, construction schedule, and the lifting constraints.

We proposed a customized MTU 12V4000 DS1500 solution complete with:

  • IBC rating (earthquake rated)
  • Rypos DPF and custom mounting rack
  • Custom sound attenuating enclosure
  • Custom tank to meet fire code for a rooftop design in downtown LA

Disaster Strikes!

The project kicked off and proceeded smoothly until the completed unit left our fabrication facility. But then disaster struck!

Shortly after the truck carrying the generator left the fabrication facility, we received news that they drove under an overpass without checking height restrictions and our custom built generator struck that overpass and was totaled in an instant! The only good news was that no one was injured in the accident.

However, we now had a huge problem! We needed to get a new generator built in record time in the middle of one of the worst global supply chain challenges we have seen in recent times. If we failed to get the generator to site before the building crane was dismantled, we would be on the hook for obtaining permits to close roads in downtown LA and assembling a crane capable of lifting a 1500kW generator to the ninth floor of a building that was already constructed!

We immediately placed the order for the new generator and worked with MTU to expedite the build of the generator in any way they could. We also worked with our fabricator and had them build the enclosure and other custom components ahead of time so that they would just have to set the components in place and bolt them down once the generator was ready. To maintain schedule our fabricator’s staff agreed to work around the clock to complete their work once the generator was delivered to them!

Talk about team work!

The Outcome

Although there were many tense moments throughout this build process, we were able to pull our team together and work through supply chain issues and other manufacturing logistics to get the generator produced as quickly as possible.

In addition to this, thankfully, the building construction had been delayed due to unrelated issues so the building crane was still in place to lift our generator!

This left one final challenge that we had to overcome. Much of the building had now been constructed so the options for lifting the generator to the ninth floor were limited. The building crane had limited lifting capacity and it had limited lifting radius due to the proximity of the surrounding buildings and roadways.

To overcome this challenge, we had the generator transported to a riggers yard where we drained the fluids (oil and coolant) and removed the enclosure. We then dismantled the generator package down to it’s frame. This would allow us to lift the frame, engine, alternator, and radiator in individual lifts.

See the photos below for some of the teardown progress:

  1. Completed unit arrived at riggers

2. The enclosure was removed

3. Removal of components began

We transported the components from the riggers yard to the construction site over a two day period and lifted each component starting with the frame. The video below illustrates the tight lifting window that was being navigated:

As each component was lifted, we secured it into place and “rebuilt” the generator package on the ninth floor of the building! After two days of crane picks and placements, we had the generator back together in its final location ready for commissioning and startup! This allowed our client to complete construction of their building and remove the building crane without the generator scope causing any further project delays!

This project is a great example of; applied expertise, project management, technician talent, and overall teamwork being used to overcome huge challenges!

 

For more information on our power generation services or solutions, contact us via email or at the number below:

888.682.6888 or info@collicutt.com

 

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Customized Rental Solution!

One of our customers in Beverly Hills was doing a major office renovation and they required temporary electric power for the duration of the work. This seemed like a simple enough request for our rental group to handle but there were some challenges that had to be addressed!

The Challenge

The challenges were generally centered around the constraints of the job site and included:

  1. The temporary generator could not be parked on the street due to city bylaws
  2. The only other available locations for a temporary generator came with their own challenges:
    • A very small underground parking stall with extremely tight access and inadequate ventilation to allow an engine to run for an extended period of time
    • The top of a parking structure which would require a crane to lift it into place
  3. Noise restrictions were in place due to the proximity to other businesses
  4. California  has some of the strictest emissions requirements and building code requirements in North America. This means that power generation equipment must be able to meet the strictest emission standards and must be designed to handle earthquakes which are also common to California

 

The Solution

Our rental team worked with the customer to determine the potential power demand that they would experience during their office renovation. Once our team understood this requirement, we began to look at our rental fleet and selected a few potential options. From these options we narrowed down the selection to a rental unit that was the correct size, met the noise restrictions, and met the emissions requirements.

We then worked with our customer to provide a temporary venting solution for the generator exhaust. This had to meet the local building code requirements as well as the exhaust venting specifications for the generator. Once this was done, our rental team coordinated the generator drop off and set-up (props to our delivery team for backing this unit into place!) ensuring that our customer had the electric power they needed for the duration of their office building renovation project!

 

For more information on a rental solution or any other power generation solution, contact us via email or at the number below:

1-888-682-6888 or info@collicutt.com

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2250

Data Center Expansion

One of our data center customers in southern California had recently been experiencing an increase in demand so they began expanding their center’s capacity. As the number of data servers increased, their requirement for emergency back up power was also increasing. Unreliable power is the biggest threat a data center can face! Power quality issues can cause equipment failure, downtime, data corruption or data loss, none of which are acceptable outcomes. So, this requirement to upgrade their emergency generators was critical!

Because Collicutt has been providing service work for them and their existing 2250kW generators for a number of years, we sat down with them to understand the challenge that they were facing.

The Design Challenge

Our customer had a few design constraints that needed to be solved. They obviously had a emergency power shortage but they also had the following issues that had to be addressed:

  • Size restrictions with their facility limited the footprint of the generators that they could use
  • California  has some of the strictest emissions requirements and building code requirements in North America. This means that power generation equipment must be able to meet the strictest emission standards and must be designed to handle earthquakes which are also common to California
  • Noise restrictions due to the proximity to other businesses
  • An existing generator that was no longer up to code and could not be made compliant
  • Switchgear upgrade project running concurrently with the generator upgrades
  • Programming to ensure paralleling of the units worked seamlessly with all the upgrades underway

The Solution

For the first unit they required, we designed and provided a custom 2250kw standby generator with a level 2 sound attenuated enclosure and a 3540 gallon subbase fuel tank. The fuel tank is UL142 double walled with secondary containment and rested just beneath the generator base. The enclosure had fixed intake louvers and a vertical discharge plenum to help hamper excessive noise to protect surrounding businesses. The enclosure was custom made with aluminum side and roof panels to ensure a non-corrosive housing designed for prolonged life. We also provided a critical grade silencer to quiet the large generators exhaust to meet city noise restrictions.

When the trucks showed up on site with the first generator and all its components, the customer’s crane company was a “no-show” due to equipment failure. As the old saying goes, “time is money” and a data center construction site is no exception. Collicutt was able to call on one of our crane contractors and get them out to site on short notice. They were able to successfully offload all of the equipment and maintain the schedule!

Our customer has now placed an order for a second 2250kW with the same basic specifications. Collicutt will be removing their non-compliant generator to make room for this second 2250kW. We will also assist them in selling the non-compliant unit using our  surplus equipment website and sales team.

In addition to this, we we able to provide paralleling programming and implementation so that when the new generators are installed and the switchgear upgrades are completed, they will be able to parallel these two new units with their existing generators.

This solution will provide them with high quality emergency power for years to come helping to guarantee their customers have secure data and data processing regardless of inevitable utility power outages.

 

 

 

For more information on this or any other power generation solution, contact us via email or at the number below:

1-888-682-6888 or info@collicutt.com

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Emergency Power for a High Rise

A few years ago a customer approached us with a project that they were about to take on in Southern California. They were looking at building a 600 unit, residential high rise apartment complex complete with some major retail stores in the ground floor. They were required to provide an emergency power generation system for this building and this is where Collicutt got involved.

The Design Challenge

There are always challenges to sort through with any project and this one was no exception. Besides the usual design constraints associated with projects in California like strict emissions compliance and seismic ratings, this project had some unique aspects that had to be addressed.

  • First, the generator would have to be installed in the parking garage of the building prior to the construction of the upper floors of the building. This put us on the critical path for project construction. We had to deliver on time!
  • Second, because the overall building design was still in process, we needed to allow for late changes prior to placing the generator into production in the event that we would need to upsize or downsize the generator and its components
  • Third, because of the seismic requirements and the fact that the generator was to be installed inside the building, the fuel tank had to be equipped with ballistic rated retainer walls. Basically, this is a double walled fuel tank that is filled with cement between the inner and outer wall to provide a puncture proof solution for fire rated indoor applications
  • Fourth, because the unit was located indoors, it needed to be equipped with a special exhaust silencer to meet the city sound requirements for indoor applications.
  • Finally, the installation of the generator would need detailed planning, coordination, and safety oversight. Due to the construction site location, offloading and placing the generator would require local road closures with the added challenge of dealing with overhead power lines. This meant that we would have to coordinate a crane and the trucking company within a very tight timeline while ensuring we had the time for a safe lift!

The Solution

Our Collicutt team worked closely with our customer throughout the design phase of this project. As the design progressed the customer realized that their electrical load had increased. Because of this, we upsized the original 1000kW generator to a 1250kW unit designed to provide enough critical power to meet full load requirements with a reserve factor of 10%. The model we selected was a 16V2000 DS1250 with IBC rating, complete with a roof mounted DPF and a UL2085 rated fuel tank.

In addition to this, there were various automatic transfer switch changes and breaker adjustments that the customer requested and we were able to accommodate within the time constraints. We were also able to coordinate the appropriate air quality permit for the customer so that their generator has all the permits required for operation.

The end result was that our customer received the generator at site on schedule. Our trucking and crane contractors were able to safely unload the generator, lower it two stories into the parking garage, and remove their equipment within the allotted road closure permit constraints.

It was a great team effort and now the building program can go on!

 

For more information on this or any other power generation solution, contact us via email or at the number below:

1-888-682-6888 or info@collicutt.com

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Collicutt Energy Announces New Gold Power Generation Solution Provider Agreement with INNIO Waukesha Gas Engines!

As most people in the business know, Collicutt Energy has always been a top tier Waukesha service provider and a leader in the Waukesha rebuild market providing top quality products globally in the power generation and oil and gas industries.

We are pleased to announce that a new Gold Power Generation Solution Provider agreement has been signed with INNIO Waukesha Gas Engines. Through this agreement, Collicutt has factory-direct access to new, genuine Waukesha engines and support capabilities, including startup, commissioning and warranty services in the US and Canada.

This program allows Collicutt to offer Waukesha’s rich burn, low emission engines, including the newly launched 1MW VGF P48SE, VHP Series Five, and 275GL+ with ESM2. Waukesha’s fuel flexibility and ability to provide fast-start, reliable power generation for commercial and industrial, oilfield, standby and prime power applications.

This is an exciting opportunity for Collicutt as we work together with Waukesha to grow their market position in North America!

Refer to the links provided below for more information on Waukesha projects that Collicutt recently completed:

 

We are an essential business and open to meet all of your power generation, engine, and fabrication needs! Service, parts, sales, and rentals . . . call us or email us for details!

Collicutt Energy Services – Powering tomorrow through unrivaled solutions!

1-888-682-6888 or info@collicutt.com

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Grid Limitations

Grid Limitations

Series: Three Main Problems With the Way We Do Power

We’re continuing in our power generation series. And today we’re talking about Problem #2, which is ‘Grid limitations’.

So what are some of the limitations of our power grid system? And how does that affect us?

The first problem is, is that it’s expensive.

Most people pay actually 50% of their utility bill is actually the cost of just getting power to your facility. And the other half is actually the cost of the energy.

The second problem is delayed access.

A lot of times we’ll have projects where we want to increase our capacity at our facility, or we want to create a new location where we need power, and there just isn’t grid access or there isn’t the capacity. This has the ability to delay projects, or significantly limit their size.

And the third issue is unreliability.

This issue is super relevant to California these days. As as we move into the dry season and there’s concerns of fires, and we see those rolling blackouts again: Power reliability is a huge issue and it’s going to cause issues around power shortages, power outages and facility shutdowns.

So what are some of the ways that Collicutt can help you with some of these limitations?

Using a technology called Combined Heat and Power, or CHP, we’re able to generate both electricity and heat onsite using a single fuel source while achieving fuel efficiencies of 93%.

Combined Heat and Power

And one of the reasons why this is so much more efficient than what currently we’re using the grid is that we’re actually getting rid of a lot of the waste along the way. We’re getting rid of that that lost heat at the point of generation, and we’re able to achieve as high as 93% overall fuel efficiency.

So Why CHP? (3 Reasons)

First reason: Cost Savings

CHO can save you significant amounts of money by generating power on site, especially when you look at the rates that we’re paying here in California. In California, we’re paying about 26 cents ($0.26/kWh) in total: 13 cents of that is the cost of transmission and the other 13 cents is the energy cost.

With CHP, you can generate power for as little as 7-9c/kWh, saving 2c/kWh in heat (fuel) costs:

Combined Heat and Power can save your money

Combined Heat and Power is an effective way of generating power and heat onsite while incurring great savings. Additionally, by having generation capabilities on site, your power reliability is increased

Second Reason: Sustainability.

in Alberta, we can save as much as 3000 tons of CO2 output per year for every megawatt of CHP installed. Why is that? Because power here in Alberta is predominantly generated by coal. And by by using clean fuel source like natural gas, salvaging the heat, offsetting the fuel source that would have provided that heat in the facility, we can get that down to a 0.2-0.25 tonnes/MWh.

Lower your facility’s environmental output

 

Let’s look in California. Even in California, where we have incredibly clean power, You can actually see a 14% reduction in CO2 output by using CHP.

Third Reason: Reliability.

By having on-site power generation capacity, the power reliability at the facility is dramatically increased.

 

Conclusion:

So, cost effective, reliable, sustainable. CHP is a great application for a lot of these problems relating to the grid limitations.

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