Our first step was to assure the client that we could have a rental generator to the site on short notice if the storm threatened to knock out power to the water treatment plant. Next, our team visited the site and removed the old generator, poured a new concrete pad, and sized a new generator.
Instead of installing another large, 500kW generator, we advised the client to incorporate a soft starter into the system. These devices use transformers to adjust voltage and slowly ramp up the motor to match the load. Because it also connects to the utility, not just the backup power, the soft starter will have a direct impact on improving the longevity of the plant equipment, in addition to being more efficient overall. It also reduces the size requirement of the generator, allowing us to select a 300kW model instead of a 500kW model, at a savings of over $20,000 on the generator alone.
The previous setup also consisted of a 500-gallon diesel fuel tank on site, which the client supplemented each hurricane season with an additional 1,000-gallon tank it rented at significant expense. In the design of the new setup, we placed a 24-hour fuel tank on the generator and plumbed in the existing 500-gallon tank via a valve system as a backup that can be switched to if needed.
Within five weeks–compared with a typical time of 12 weeks to complete a project like this one–WPP had handled permits, setting in the new unit, wiring it, and decommissioning the old unit.