Don’t Get Left in the Dark: Revolutionize Your Backup Power with Remote Monitoring

Take a moment and imagine that a major power outage has just hit your city. While your competitors scramble around in the dark, your business remains brightly lit and fully operational. Why? Because you had the foresight of installing a remote monitoring package on your backup generators which allowed you to identify potential maintenance issues and get them addressed prior to any grid power outage.

This isn’t just a nice-to-have feature . . . it’s a critical component in safeguarding your business amidst the increasingly unpredictable US electrical grid!

The Silent Menace: Unpredictable Power Failures

Did you know that estimates pin business losses due to power outages in the US at over $30 billion annually? Backup generators may be the first line of defense, but without proper monitoring, they’re kind of like the old tractor stored in the back of a barn . . . it’s simply not going to start when it is needed most!

Remote monitoring solutions take the uncertainty away by  providing real-time data and empowering proactive decision-making.

Let’s delve into why this technology isn’t just an option, but a necessity.

Predictive Maintenance: A Crystal Ball for Your Generators

It’s not the unknown we should fear . . . It is being unprepared for the unknown that should be feared.

Traditional generator maintenance operates on a set schedule . . . but what if an impending failure arises between scheduled maintenance? Remote monitoring systems, with properly tuned critical alerts and data trends, function like a crystal ball. They can predict potential issues allowing you to act before the potential issue turns into a costly disaster. For instance, by monitoring; battery voltage, coolant temperature, and fuel level, you can mitigate the risk from three of the top six reasons a generator fails to start.

Cost Efficiency: More Than Just a Penny Saved

The operational cost of your business being down due to a power outage can be enormous. Add to this the lost revenue opportunity because you cannot make or sell anything! For these two reasons alone, it just makes sense to spend a few dollars on a remote monitoring system.

In addition to this, when considering the cost of remote monitoring system, it is important to take into account the cost of an emergency callout during a power outage. This callout can easily be upwards of $1000 to $2000 dollars depending on the generator issue. However, a remote monitoring system allows you to identify many of these issues before they become emergencies so they can be handled as regular maintenance items. Avoiding one emergency callout per year can easily pay for the cost of a remote monitoring system.

So it’s not just about pinching pennies. Resources must be allocated strategically to where they matter most!

Take Action

The choice to implement remote monitoring for your generator moves you and your facility from uncertainty towards assurance and from reactivity to proactivity.

Remote monitoring is not just an upgrade . . . it’s an essential pivot towards operational excellence!

Don’t wait for the next power outage to reveal your back up power generator’s vulnerabilities. Assess your backup power setup and consider how remote monitoring can transform your approach. It’s time to move from playing catch-up to leading the way in operational efficiency and reliability.

For more insights on this transformative approach, contact Collicutt Energy at 888.682.6888. We have a team of experts that would be happy to work with you to evaluate your project and determine the best fit solution for you.

Remember, in the world of backup power, being proactive isn’t just a strategy; it’s a survival imperative.

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The Role of AESO and the Operating Reserve Program

Harnessing Alberta’s Energy Future: The Role of AESO and the Operating Reserve Program

Alberta’s electricity market is a dynamic landscape that requires balancing supply and demand with precision and foresight. At the heart of this system is the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), a not-for-profit entity mandated to operate an open and competitive wholesale market, ensure the safe and reliable operation of the electric system, and plan and develop the transmission system to provide access to customers​​.

 

Among many tools in the AESO’s “toolbelt” is the procurement of Operating Reserves (OR). This is a crucial mechanism that helps to maintain system reliability when there is an unexpected imbalance between supply and demand due to various system conditions.

 

In the AESO’s Operating Reserve (OR) framework, supplemental reserves are a critical component, providing a safety net for the electrical grid when demand outstrips supply or generation unexpectedly falls. Unlike regulating reserves which respond instantaneously, supplemental reserves can be activated swiftly—within a 10-minute window—enabling the system to recover from sudden imbalances. For instance, a backup generator system, whether newly installed or pre-existing, can be a perfect solution to supply such supplemental reserves. When the grid requires additional power, these generators can ramp up, and allow a facility transfer their electrical load to the generator(s) thereby curtailing or removing load from the grid.

 

One very recent example that I’m sure all Albertans remember, is the Emergency Alert issued on January 13th during a serious cold snap of -40°C. Operating Reserve was a crucial tool for keeping Alberta from power outages, and Voltus played a key role by dispatching their supplemental reserve portfolio.

 

 

Participating in the OR market not only contributes to the stability of Alberta’s power grid but also represents a strategic business opportunity to create an additional revenue stream. Through our partnership with Voltus, Collicutt Energy Services is positioned to make participation in the OR program simple and easy.

 

We invite you to be part of Alberta’s energy resilience story.

 

Visit our Webpage to discover how we can energize your business with a WIN-WIN through Alberta’s Operating Reserve program and Voltus.

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Alberta Emergency Alert Jaunary 13th, 2024

How Demand Response Supports Grid Reliability

On January 13th, I was sitting with my extended family watching the Hockey game. We celebrated every shot on goal for our team, and shrieked every time the other team almost scored. However, close to the end of the game the feed cut out and all of our phones in horrible harmony issued this obnoxious blaring noise: an Alberta Emergency Alert had been issued, because of a high risk of rotating blackouts.

 

Why did this alarm concern me?

This was deeply concerning! It was at least -30C and our house’s furnace was already struggling to keep up; we had an electric space heater in the living room helping keep that specific room warm for everyone.

Without power, we’d immediately lose our house lighting, the power to the space heater and potentially lose the power to our furnace ignition system. This would leave all 10 of us without any form of energy to stay warm.

What caused this grid alert?

  • Problem 1: High Grid Demand – As you can see in image 2, There was a significant increase in power consumption within the province: The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) reported an Alberta Interconnected Load (AIL) of 11,802 MW, up from ∼10,500 MW earlier that day. The primary reason for the high load was the extremely low temperatures we were experiencing in the province.

 

Image 2: Weekly Energy Summary posted on January 15th. Source (Linkedin). Graph shows how on January 13th, there was a marked uptick in power consumption around 6pm. At this time, power prices in the province shot up to the AESO price limit of $999/MWh, 10 times the 30-day rolling average at the time of $100/MWh.

 

  • Problem 2: Loss of Generation in the ProvinceThe larger issue that led to the emergency alert was the lack of available power generation in the province. As shown in Image 3, there was a significant lack of both wind and solar at the time of alert.

 

Image 3: Alberta electricity production by type (Source: Alberta Energy). Generation by natural gas made up 81.7% of power generation at the time of the emergency alert. At the time of the alert, Solar and wind provided 100MW of the 6,131MW of installed power generation as reported on AESO Supply page.

 

How Collicutt Energy Helped Support Grid Reliability

At Collicutt Energy Services, our primary business is ensuring reliable power to your facility; whether this is through onsite natural gas generation or backup standby diesel power.

 

During this grid emergency event, many of our clients responded to an AESO directive to reduce their consumption. This is referred to as ‘Demand Response’. Over the last year, we have been helping clients prepare for events like this by getting their facility set up with backup generation that could, at a moment’s notice, provide relief to the grid.

 

Over the weekend of January 12-14th, our customers helped provide seven hours of grid relief; two and a half of those hours occurring on January 13th.

 

FAQ

  • Why did our clients participate in Demand Response?

A natural question many people would ask is “Why would a large industrial customer participate in Demand Response? especially if it could impact the production of that company?”

Great question – other than being a great corporate citizen, they were compensated for it.

 

In 2022, the average customer who participated in Demand Response (Also formally referred to as Operating Reserve: Supplemental Reserves) earned between $200-250,000 for every Megawatt they were able to curtail. So for a facility that consistently consumed 2MW and participated in Demand Response, they could earn as much as $500,000 for reducing load for approximately 20-30 hrs of the year.

 

  • Can your facility participate in Demand Response?

With further deployment of renewables in Alberta and greater demand for electricity in the province, we are expecting more events like the grid emergency event of January 13th to happen in the future.

 

  • Can I enroll my facility in Demand Response?

Here are the eligibility criteria:

  1. Are you consistently consuming 400kW or greater between 7 am and 11 pm?
  2. Can you reduce your power consumption within a 10 minute period?

 

If your answer to the above questions is yes, then your facility is eligible. Reach out to us.

 

About the Author

Matthew Swinamer is a mechanical engineer with APEGA. In Matthew’s role as Technical Sales Engineer, he works to help commercial and industrial clients understand the power of onsite generation to reduce utility costs and increase sustainability of their energy consumption.
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Powerlines and Backup Power Generation

The Importance of Backup Power Generation: Safeguarding Your Business Amidst the Fragile US Electrical Grid

Reliable electricity is the lifeblood of our entire society! Without electricity, we would not be able to grow, transport, or store food; heat or cool our homes; transact business; secure our country, and the list goes on! However, the stability of the US electrical grid has become a growing concern. This has been highlighted by an increasing frequency of power outages caused by weather events, accidents, and natural disasters. These events highlight the urgent need for businesses to consider backup power generation as a crucial investment.

Fragility of the Electrical Grid

According to a recent paper written by Robert Bryce1, the US electric grid has a generation capacity of 1.25TW and is interconnected across the continent by:

  • 6.1 million miles of wire, poles and transformers
  • 12,538 utility scale power plants
  • 9 federal power agencies
  • 2,003 public utilities
  • 856 coops
  • 315 power marketers
  • 178 investor owned utilities

This ad hoc compilation of disparate parts and systems results in an extremely complex and potentially unstable system! The vulnerability challenges that the grid is facing can be categorized into a few main areas:

  1. Complex interconnections – All of the different organizations involved in the regulation, power generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power create a myriad of single points of failure. These single points of failure may be minor but could cause a cascade of additional failures impacting a large geographical area.
  2. Aging infrastructure – Much of the US power grid is outdated and in need of modernization. These aging components add to the risk and complexity identified in point (1) above.
  3. Extreme weather – Weather events can cause outages due to loss of sub stations or powerplants, downed powerlines, etc.. Add to this grids that don’t have enough gas, hydro, or nuclear power generation to cover their demand when that demand is high and wind turbines or solar are not producing.
  4. Overload – The pace of urbanization has outstripped the pace of new power generation capacity. This results in increased grid overload and eventually brownouts or blackouts.
  5. Cybersecurity – Technology has advanced over the years and the threat of cyber attacks on our power grids is significant2, 4, 5. Although, there are many efforts underway to address this (reference this paper published in September 2021 “Cybersecurity in Power Grids”3) we still have a lot of work to do in this area.

Options for Backup Power Solutions for Your Business

The fragility of the US electrical grid system that is outlined above requires businesses to invest in backup power solutions that will keep them operational while the grid power is unavailable.

Every business is unique and the backup power solution for each business needs to be designed accordingly. Fortunately, there are many options and combinations of products available, including:

  1. Diesel – A standby power generator that is only stated and run during a power outage. When using HVO fuel, these sorts of systems have reduced emissions significantly. See What is HVO and Why Should You Care for more details.
  2. Battery – As battery technology is advancing, using batteries as part of your backup power is something that should be considered. They are particularly effective when you have a microgrid system that may need a method of storing extra power that cannot be used at the time it is generated.
  3. Natural Gas or Biogas – Natural gas power generation is much cleaner than diesel6 so this may be a great option for your business. If you have a source of biogas then you may be able to use this directly or blend7 it with natural gas to create low cost fuel source to generate electricity.
  4. CHP, Combined Heat and Power8 – CHP systems are typically a natural gas or biogas fueled generator that also capture the heat produced by the generator and use this energy to improve the overall efficiency of the system to greater than 90%. Colleges, schools, commercial buildings, hospitals, and casinos are some examples of where CHPs can be used effectively.
  5. Microgrid9 –  This is a localized group of electricity sources and loads that can operate independently of the traditional centralized power grid. A typical system would include power generation from solar, wind, batteries, and a natural gas or diesel power generator.
  6. EaaS, Energy as a Service – This is typically supplied as part of a CHP or microgrid power system and consists of a natural gas or biogas fueled generator that is operated and maintained by a third party rather than by the business. See A Sustainable Solution for Uninterrupted Power for more details and advantages of an EaaS solution.

Take Action Today

Businesses cannot afford to overlook the fragility of the U.S. electrical grid. Power outages can have severe consequences for revenue, reputation, and operations. Investing in backup power generation solutions is not just a smart move, it’s a necessity to ensure business continuity, reliability, and peace of mind in the face of an unpredictable electrical grid.

Don’t wait until the next power outage . . . contact Collicutt now tollfree at 1.888.682.6888 and let us guide you to a solution that safeguards your business’s future.

 

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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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IMG_9045

New Towable Generator Product Line

Collicutt recently published an article in the BOE Report to announce a new product line of towable generators! We are very excited about this announcement as these units were produced in-house!

The first production of these generators was for two (2) 500kW standby/450 kW prime rated units. Creating these units took a lot of time, effort and research. The units are trailer mounted, 450kW, Tier 4 Final, prime rated, diesel generator packages. They are powered by Scania’s 16L, V8 , engines. A tier 4 final solution is best in class for fuel efficiency and emissions after treatment. These units have a lockable level 1 enclosure for increased security, two voltage outputs (208V & 480V) and so much more.

We polled our in-house experts, external clients, and industry contacts to provide feedback on the standard design, and optional adders that should be part of the build. We believe we created a truly standalone product.

For more details, read our BOE Report article.
Check out our newly designed brochure for more information on the product specifications by downloading the case study below.

Call or email us for more information: 888.682.6888 or info@collicutt.com

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Collicutt’s Focus Is Problem Solving

Collicutt was recently featured in the November issue of Resource in Focus Magazine!

“As a leading manufacturer of custom power generation equipment, Collicutt Energy’s highly trained and experienced team designs, engineers, and manufactures power solutions, while also working to continually raise the standards for customers, whether repairing, overhauling, servicing or performing preventative maintenance on all brands of engine. Collicutt’s mandate includes offering a wide variety of services while keeping customer downtime to a minimum.

This family-run business has recently experienced exciting growth, including the company’s role as a distributor for products including MTU, Waukesha, Motortech, and Scania – in particular, expanding territory in Alberta as a distributor for MTU/Rolls Royce Power Systems for oil & gas systems and natural gas power generation.”

Learn more about what Collicutt does and how we provide unique solutions to our clients by downloading the full article with the case study link below!

For more solution options see our Services and Solutions pages.

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Power Generation Solution Provider

Our world is filled with marketing buzz words that mean different things to every person. So, when Collicutt says we are a power generator solution provider, what does this really mean and why should you care?

Solution Provider Definition

The term Solution Provider started to gain in popularity back in the early 2000’s and then really took off when Keith Eades published his book “The New Solution Selling” in 2004. What Eades had realized is that products were becoming commoditized in our increasingly globalized world. He recognized that in order to be differentiated and increase sales, businesses would need to provide a solution to a customer problem rather than just selling a product.

Simply offering a product for sale, no matter how good the product, is no longer a viable business plan . . . it is a deep discounting race to the bottom! Businesses now have to listen to customers, understand pain points, and offer innovative solutions that put an end to the pain.

In the world of power generation there are many pain points that need to be handled for a customer. There are also a lot of players in the power generation market that provide varying levels of service, products, and solutions.

So what does Collicutt offer that makes us different?

What Makes Collicutt Different

Collicutt is a full service solution provider in the power generation business. As illustrated in the chart below, we provide a complete range of services and solutions that the other players in the market simply don’t provide by themselves.

Our role is to work with whoever we need to work with to pull together a complete solution for our customers. This is the value that we bring to our customers. Our customers no longer have to source out all of the components of a power generation project . . . they just have to engage our team and we take care of the entire power generation supply scope!

Collicutt works with our customers and their engineering teams to provide a complete integrated solution that is not just fit for purpose but also in compliance with all of the engineering requirements, building codes, and environmental constraints. We are able to do this by leveraging our in house experts and partnering with our extensive network of suppliers and service providers.

 

Take Action

If you are looking at adding any sort of power generation to your organization, give us a call. We can handle all the dimensions of your power generation project!

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

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

Finally, see these articles for related content:

 

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Monitor Your Power Generation Equipment in the “Cloud”!

One of the big takeaways from the unprecedented events of this last year is the requirement to work remotely, often with limited access to our facilities. This can pose major challenges when our power generation equipment is onsite and our operations and maintenance teams are working from home!

It has become more important than ever to have a cost effective solution that provides peace of mind that our power generation needs can be met without being onsite.

To meet this need, Collicutt is pleased to announce the release of our secure, internet based, Remote Monitoring Solution. With this solution you can monitor your power generation equipment from anywhere in the world through a secure internet connection. The solution provides up to date status conditions for critical points as well as alarm indications for conditions that may compromise your units ability to provide power during a power outage.

We offer three levels of service as shown in the graphic below and would be happy to discuss this solution with you in detail!

Call or email us for details on how we can get you set up!

Collicutt Energy Services – Powering tomorrow through unrivaled solutions today!

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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