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Worldwide Power signs distribution agreement for North America

Fri, 10/04/2013 - 17:03 -- Ruth Williams
HiPower will distribute across North America


Worldwide Power Products (WPP), a power generation equipment provider, has entered a partnership with Hipower Systems, a manufacturer of power-generation and distribution equipment in the U.S. and Canada, to be its sole distributor for standby backup generators.

“As we expand our distributor programme we’re looking for experienced, well-connected power-distribution equipment providers to represent us across the U.S.,” said Rafael Acosta, President of HIPOWER SYSTEMS. “WPP brings just the right kind of expertise and enthusiasm that we need to grow our presence in and across Texas.”

The units range in size from 25kW to 3000kW and will be available for sale or rental through WPP. Additionally, they will be included in WPP’s emergency standby rental solution, which gives customers the option to pay a monthly fee to reserve a rental power unit for unlimited hours of use in the event of an emergency.

“The units will be a welcome addition to the market in storm-prone Texas," said WPP VP of Sales & Engineering Dave Vennie. “Standby HIPOWER units are a perfect choice for our Texas customers, as they are known for their efficiency, durability and sound-dampening properties.”

The power of fear: Taking action against the threat of kidnap and ransom

Fri, 09/27/2013 - 12:22 -- Editor


Jenny Carter-Vaughan knows the power of fear of terrorism. In this article, the managing director of Expert Insurance Group - a specialist kidnap and ransom insurance broker - outlines the most volatile regions and explains how power workers can ease their concerns.

The attack in January at the Amenas gas facility in Algeria by Islamist terrorists has come as a wake-up call to many people involved in the energy industry. Previously many workers were inclined to brush off the very real risks that they face, on the assumption that in-situ security arrangements where they work and live are sufficient. The outrage at Amenas has changed that.

The problem is that many of the facilities which are crucial to the production of power are based in dangerous and unforgiving areas of the world. Areas where terrorists proliferate and the rule of law is often tainted by corrupt officials.

The Amenas incident made the headlines because of the audacious nature of the attack and the high number of casualties and deaths – 39 foreign hostages and an Algerian security guard were all killed. The Maghreb region of Africa has been the plagued by Islamist insurgents over the last decade and the authorities there have been involved in a struggle against the terrorist activities that occur there.

Egypt has been vexed with difficulties and problems. In March a British oil executive and his wife were kidnapped while driving from Cairo to Sharm El Sheikh. The couple were finally freed after local police agreed to release a relative of the Bedouin who had been accused of smuggling weapons from Libya to Egypt.

Libya has been struggling with violence and unrest since the revolution in 2011. In June this year the armed group,which had been entrusted with the task of protecting the Sharara oilfield, attacked the headquarters of the Petroleum Facilities Guard in Tripoli after becoming disgruntled about favours being handed out to a rival group.

Meanwhile, in Tikrit gunmen kidnapped a senior official in Beji power station in September and killed two of his guards.

So much trouble in the world

A significant number of kidnappings that are reported each year occur in Africa. Power workers who are involved in the oil or gas industry are most at risk when they are at sea. Somali pirates are notorious and are active up and down the east coast of Africa.

Attacks of piracy and armed robbery against vessels in and around the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin have concentrated in the past on cargo vessels and private boats, however, of late, there has been an increase in incidents which involve workers and sailors on platform supply vessels, oil tankers and oil platforms. It is thought that these installations and vessels are being targeted instead of shipping, because of the intervention of international navies who are taking an increasingly proactive approach in this region.

Whilst the incidence of piracy in East Africa has decreased, the incidence of this type of outrage has risen off the coast of Western Africa. Nigeria has had a reputation for many years as a kidnapping hotspot, however the offshore area around the coast of Bayelsa has particularly been targeted.

In February, six workers were kidnapped from an oil services ship. In April, two Russian and two Ukrainian oil workers were kidnapped, only to be rescued by Nigerian police the following month. Onshore, nine oil services workers were kidnapped in April.

Other volatile nations include southeast Asia. In June this year engineer, Malcolm Primrose, a Scottish oil worker, was kidnapped by a group of armed men in Aceh, Indonesia. The motivation for the kidnapping was thought to be a grudge the perpetrators had against Primrose’s employers.

A ransom was demanded by the kidnappers. Primrose was eventually found alone at a security post inside an oil plantation, though no money had apparently exchanged hands.

In South America, problems still exist and kidnapping events are still common. In Venezuela as many as 70 people are reportedly kidnapped per day and in Columbia although Farc are in peace talks with the Columbian Government, incidences of kidnapping continue to be reported, including three oil contractors who were kidnapped in Southern Columbia this year.

Piece of mind

While no one can predict where a kidnapper or extortionist may strike, businesses and individuals working within the power industry need to think carefully and take action to protect themselves and their families against kidnapping and extortion attempts. A kidnap and ransom (K&R) policy should sit at the heart of the risk management programme.

Typically a K&R policy will provide cover not just for the payment or loss of the ransom payment but for essential support and help during the course of negotiations with the kidnappers and in taking care of the physiological needs of the family of the victim. Many policies will also include cover to assist the victim on their relief with recovering from the mental and physical trauma of the event.

Businesses need to consider not just the impact of a kidnapping on the member of staff and their colleagues, but also how this might impact on the business going forward. For example a key member of staff who is taken out of the game for six months or so may result in the loss of, or critical delays to, a project. On release, even an unharmed worker may not be able to return to work immediately, if ever.

This can have a severe detrimental effect on a business, particularly if the affected individual is a specialist in their field with unique or unusual knowledge. Projects which are delayed may impact cash flow or result in penalties being imposed. It may be impossible to finish a job and, in extreme cases, entire projects may have to be abandoned. This type of risk can be insured but a specialist insurance cover is needed.

As the power industry has become more and more globalised, so too has the reliance on individual self employed consultants, rather than direct employees. Power companies, unfortunately, are less likely to consider the kidnapping risks appertaining to local staff and self-employed consultants and contractors, will often also find themselves uninsured.

For employees who have previously enjoyed the benefits of employment by a big company, the minor, but important issue of insurance for both travel and kidnapping risks is often over-looked.

Don't go it alone

When negotiating contracts with potential employers, consultants are advised to be clear what the employer will and will not cover and calculate their own fee accordingly, allowing for the cost of buying their own insurance from personal funds.

One of the issues that faces individuals in buying kidnap and ransom cover is that the benefits have to be pegged to the financial assets of the individual, rather than the likely ransom amount to be demanded. This is because the financial demand is paid by the insured’s family or business not the insurer. The insurer refunds the policyholder for the costs of the ransom after it has been paid.

Therefore an individual arranging cover may run into problems if they do not have sufficiently high assets on which to rely. Under such circumstances it may be better to ask the employer to arrange cover for them and forfeit a portion of their fee as the employer is likely to have greater assets on which to base the cover than the individual.

A good quality kidnap and ransom cover is an essential travelling companion, however it does not replace sensible risk management and preparation. Make good plans before you leave – know who you are going to meet and when and where.

Make arrangements with your contacts so you know what will happen if there is a change of plan and how you will communicate this. Have a plan B and a Plan C. Swap photographs before you leave so you know what your contacts will look like. Maintain your guard and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Remember the most dangerous time is when you are relaxed.

Eaton launches UPS range to meet needs of nextgen data centres

Fri, 09/27/2013 - 10:56 -- Editor


Power management company Eaton officially launched the 93M range of three-phase UPS aimed at data centres.

Weighing it at power ratings from 30 to 200 kWh, Eaton has focused on energy efficiency and flexibility by including its Energy Saver System (eco mode) and its proprietary HotSync wireless paralleling technology.

“Energy efficiency has historically taken the back seat to uptime in data centres – the electricity bill was another cost of business,” says Cyrille Brisson, vice president of Eaton’s EMEA Power Quality business.

“This era is coming to an end. Companies are risking their competitiveness by failing to invest in energy efficiency, possibly because they believe achieving this means sacrificing uptime. This is no longer the case.”

The 93M range also features its Intelligent Power Manger (IPM) software to implement ‘plug in’ integration with all virtualisation platforms including VMWare, vCentre, Microsoft Systems Centre and Citrix XENCentre.

APC unveils lithium-ion UPS

Wed, 09/25/2013 - 11:08 -- Editor


APC has launched what it claims is a first-of-its-kind UPS utilizing an advanced lithium-ion battery.

The Back-UPS Pro 500 powers systems up to 500 VA/300W and is aimed at desktop computers. The Scheider Electric-owned firm claims an eight-to-ten year battery life for Back-UPS Pro 500 versus the typical three-to-five year lifespan of traditional lead-acid batteries.

APC says energy management features also provide convenience and electric bill savings by automatically switching off peripherals when not in use.

Additionally, two so-called ‘Smart Outlets’ can be configured to provide either surge-only, or surge and backup battery protection, extending battery backup time for only the devices that need it.


Cummins to incorporate Heliocentris energy management tech into hybrid genset

Wed, 09/25/2013 - 11:04 -- Editor

Cummins Power Generation has signed a five-year agreement with Germany’s Heliocentris to incorporate its networked energy management technology into a new hybrid power system for telecom applications.

The Cummins hybrid power system will employ a diesel genset, storage batteries and networked energy management technology to supply power to cellular sites. Cummins claims the hybrid reduces operational expenditure for cell sites by up to 70% and also significantly reduces the carbon footprint to power a cell site.

"After extensive testing of various systems, we identified the energy management package from Heliocentris as one of the most flexible and reliable systems on the market," said Antonio Leitao, vice president for power products, Cummins Power Generation said in a statement.

Ayad Abul-Ella, CEO of Heliocentris, added: "Heliocentris has deployed more than 1,000 energy management systems globally and has reduced the average annual diesel fuel consumption per site by 13,000 litres.”

Ausgrid hires EnerNoc to manage demand response programme

Tue, 09/24/2013 - 11:04 -- Editor


Australian transmission system operator Ausgrid has hired EnerNoc to manage its demand response programme.

EnerNoc in 2011 bought Energy Response, Australia’s largest demand response specialist for A$28m (US$26.3m), and it now considers Australia to be its second biggest market after the US.

It says its agreement with Ausgrid extends a pilot program started in 2012, and will allow commercial, institutional, and industrial customers to get payments for curtailing demand, and getting access to real-time energy data.

Ausgrid says it is conducting the Dynamic Peak Rebate project with the aim of developing demand side options as an alternative to investing in network infrastructure. Demand response is likely to be a key part of its next five-year investment plan which will go before market regulators.

Tim Healy, chairman and CEO of EnerNoc, said: “Although the majority of our current presence is in Western Australia, key contracts like this agreement with Ausgrid provide EnerNoc a solid foothold into the eastern states where rising electricity prices and a pressing need for grid optimization make demand response very attractive.” 

Bredenoord launches hybrid battery-diesel 30 kVA genset

Tue, 09/24/2013 - 11:01 -- Editor


Dutch power rental company Bredenoord has launched a hybrid diesel-battery genset, Esaver, which it claims offers fuel savings of up to 40%.

The ESaver is a 400 V battery pack which, when combined with a standard 15 kVA genset, will provide a maximum output of 30 kVA.

The battery pack, which is in a separate enclosure and linked to one of Bredenoord’s standard rental gensets, provides power when charged and is recharged when the diesel genset resumes operation. The generator will only operate at its optimal rating, which also increases fuel efficiency, it says.

Bredenoord will offer customers an online system to monitor the operation of the hybrid unit, showing how much fuel is being saved over traditional alternatives. The Esaver unit weighs 1450 kg and is 2.33 m high, 1.2 m wide and 0.8 m deep, and uses a 48 V – 660 Ah battery pack.

Flywheel UPS maker Active Power sued on claims of making false financial statements

Wed, 09/18/2013 - 09:35 -- Editor


An investor of Active Power has filed a complaint alleging the flywheel UPS maker made false and misleading statements about the company's success in expanding its business into the Chinese market.

According to the complaint filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, CEO Doug Milner, announced that Active Power had entered into a strategic distribution agreement with China's largest IT solutions provider, Digital China Information Service Company.

Further, Mr. Milner emphasized that collaborative efforts with Digital China were under way that would lead to product deployments by the end of 2013. As a result, Active Power shares traded at artificially inflated prices during the April 30, 2013 to September 5, 2013 (the ‘Class Period’).

On September 5, according to the complaint, Active Power retracted its 2013 guidance based on disappointing results from the company's distribution relationship in China. Moreover, the company also revealed that its April 30, 2013 announcement that it had entered into a partnership with Digital China was incorrect. The agreement was with an unrelated entity, Qiyuan Network System Limited.


UK switching on to energy usage

Tue, 09/10/2013 - 16:33 -- Ruth Williams
smart metering soon to be rolled out UK-wide

A survey by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) showed that the UK public is becoming more aware of smart meter technology. The results show that more than half of bill payers have now heard of smart meters. The survey was conducted to gauge customer awareness ahead of a rollout scheme across the UK. All households will be offered a smart metering device by 2020.

It may be encouraging to energy companies that 57% are aware of the meters, however less than 10% actually have a meter installed.

Support has grown for a nationwide scheme, although half the respondents were undecided about meters, support from the other half has increased from 18% the previous year. Those agnostics cited a general lack of interest, lack of knowledge and the cost of installing them as barriers to acceptance.

This coupled with the UK has being ranked the fourth most attractive country in the world for investment in renewable energy signals the energy change the UK is going through. The UK is ahead of Australia, with just the US, China and Germany are ahead. This is due to £29 billion being invested in the private sector since 2010. 

Cummins powers Sri Lanka’s newest airport

Wed, 09/04/2013 - 11:14 -- Ruth Williams
Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport

Cummins has supplied two standalone generators to Sri Lanka’s Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport to cover power outages at the growing airport.

The project contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company, installed two 939kVA Cummins Power Generation C1000 D5 generator sets at the country's newest airport.

Noise reduction was an essential consideration because the generators had to be situated in the cargo unit within the airport. The generators were soundproofed to 70 decibels at one metre to manage the noise levels.


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