Why standby power is important
Far from a luxury, standby power provides a critical lifeline for manufacturing and livestock production as well as the day-to-day livelihood of the colony members. The potential for loss of life and productivity is high, particularly in the hog barn where electricity keeps the ventilation fans running. Without electric power, ¡°hogs would start suffocating within half an hour,¡± says James Kleinsasser, the colony¡¯s electrician. ¡°We could lose millions of dollars in just one hour.¡±
Standby power is also critical for the colony¡¯s high-tech manufacturing operation (the colony¡¯s main power user), which includes computerized equipment such as electric saws, milling machines and a paint booth. Other agricultural processes that depend on electricity include the feed mill and the grain-handling system.
Normally, electricity is provided by the local utility. There are times, though, when utility power isn¡¯t available. The colony experiences frequent power outages and once lost power for 17 hours, reports Kleinsasser. For a long time, the colony relied on a 400 kW standby generator to keep the manufacturing and agricultural equipment running. But as the colony¡¯s manufacturing operation grew, the old generator was no longer able to supply all of the colony¡¯s electrical loads when the utility failed.
The standby power shortage was magnified when the colony changed its dairy operation into a cabinet manufacturing facility. Without enough power to go around during utility outages, ¡°we had to limit the load,¡± Kleinsasser recalls. At such times, for example, no power would be available for grinding feed for the barns.
New generator upgrades standby system
Rather than live with this situation, the colony eventually decided to replace the old generator with a higher-output unit. After considering a number of possible replacements, Kleinsasser selected a Series 2000 generator from MTU Onsite Energy. Powered by a 12-cylinder MTU diesel engine, the Series 2000 generator has a rated capacity of 750 kW, which is more than enough to keep electricity flowing to all of the colony¡¯s equipment and homes during a utility power outage.
To facilitate the operation of the genset, the colony also purchased MTU Onsite Energy¡¯s digital genset controller. Reliable, cost effective and easy to use, this unit features advanced microprocessor technology that controls both the generator and the transfer switch.
The generator set and controller were supplied by Manitoba-based PalmLite, the local MTU Onsite Energy distributor that provides equipment and services for agricultural, industrial and residential applications. PalmLite also helped with the generator startup and worked with the factory¡¯s engineers on programming the controller.