Keeping industry running

Published:  09 November, 2013

With the UK facing pending shortages in energy reserves on the national grid, Leslah Garland spoke with Billy Durie, critical services development manager at Aggreko Northern Europe, about the company’s key services and focus.

“From a UK perspective the pending shortages in energy reserves on the national grid is a key concern for both government and industry alike”, explains Billy Durie, critical services development manager at Aggreko Northern Europe. A reliable and sufficient power generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure is vital to maintaining the UKs competitiveness in the global market place.

Durie comments: “The pressures being placed on the national grid are coming from a number of factors including an ever increasing demand for energy set against a backdrop of generation infrastructure reaching its end-of-life and a lack of investment in building new infrastructure. The solutions to solve the issue will be wide and varied. As a UK company working in the energy field Aggreko definitely has a part to play in the tactical and local support of the grid; however we are just a part of a much larger picture.”

In terms of power, with a range of generators from 30 kVA up to 2 MW Aggreko says it can provide relatively small amounts of power right up to multi-megawatt power plants large enough to power entire cities. The company currently operate a number of interim power plants throughout the world of 200 MW and higher.

Regarding temperature control, this could be providing additional cooling capacity for anything from a manufacturing plant, a data centre, a winery, to a petrochemical plant. Its heating and dehumidification solutions are constantly in demand during the winter months or for controlled drying applications. As Aggreko’s equipment is fully compatible it means that combining power and temperature control equipment is as simple as ‘plug and play’.

Durie highlights that Aggreko serves customers in all industry and commercial sectors. Every industry requires access to reliable power and as such, when power is unavailable, alternative sources are needed. For example if a company’s power supply is interrupted or their HVAC systems are temporarily unavailable Aggreko can provide immediate help to restore their operations.

Currently in the UK and Ireland the main industries it serves are utilities, renewables, oil and gas, the services sector, manufacturing, major events, construction and contracting. The main element that these industries have in common is the business critical nature of their electricity supply. Many of the customers it has from these industries have a long term relationship with Aggreko and see it as a strategic partner. Increasingly it is incorporating tailored contingency plans into these relationships so that if these customers face power outages (or issues with their HVAC systems) they know they have rapid access to equipment and engineers within agreed response times.

Going strong

As a company Aggreko has come through the downturn strongly from a local UK perspective and in terms of its global business. Any slowdown in business activity during the years of the crisis was off-set by the fact that for many industries, access to credit and working capital became increasingly difficult. This meant that more customers began to see the benefit of renting their critical plant infrastructure as opposed to making capital investments required for upgrading and replacement.

Durie says “now that we are pulling out of the economic downturn and the world economy looks to be gathering some momentum, our business is in sound shape”.

New trends

While a large part of Aggreko’s business is responding to un-planned emergency situations, in industries where access to reliable power is business critical, the company is seeing strong growth in its contingency planning solutions. There is also a significant increase in the number of customers who include Aggreko in the early stages of their planning cycles for major maintenance programmes and plant expansions.

This is also the case when planning for the seasonal effects from either peak summer or winter temperatures. By using its power or HVAC solutions, customers can mitigate any adverse effects on their business ahead of time.

Durie says the company recently installed 1 MW power plant along a CHP system for a major UK recycling company: “By doing so we were able to drastically increase the quality and reliability of their power supply while also significantly reducing their power costs. Due to unprecedented growth in their operations their power demands increased to a level where supply from the local grid was insufficient. They tackled this by bringing in some purchased and rented generator sets that supplied the power they needed but this brought considerable headaches and cost in terms of spare parts and maintenance, along with the hassle of constant refuelling.”

To overcome this, adds Durie, the customer consolidated its rental requirement through Aggreko via a diesel powered 5 MVA plant. This solved their power issues until the supply from the local grid was increased. However following further expansion of the plant, a power deficit still remained. Being familiar with the site and recognising that there was an available gas supply within 750 meters of the facility, Aggreko provided a design and a financial cost/benefit analysis for building access to the gas source and connecting this to a 1 MW gas fired Aggreko generator. By adding a CHP module, waste heat from the generator was diverted to the plant’s boiler, further adding to the efficiencies and costs savings that were achieved.

For further information please visit: www.aggreko.co.uk

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