£2m generator that starts on air completes journey from Lisbon
It was a tight squeeze but the latest piece of equipment to join Jersey Electricity's emergency generation armoury eased through the doors of La Collette Power Station this morning after a long journey from Lisbon, Portugal. The 55-tonne, 5.5MW Sulzer diesel generator made its way from the harbour to the Power Station under police escort at 5.30am. The engine usually weighs in at 78 tonnes but has been stripped down for ease of transportation.
The generator, originally used in a Portugese ceramics factory, is an eight cylinder inline version of JE’s four existing 11MW, V16 Sulzers. What makes it special is that it is a ‘black start’ generator that requires no power to start using just stored compressed air. It will be completely re-furbished here by specialist Madeiran contractors Vapour Ilhas working for main Swiss contractor MIE, who installed the two 11MW Sulzers JE acquired in 2013.
Although plans to lay a third £40m undersea supply cable to France, known as Normandie 1 (N1), are progressing well, JE continues its investment in emergency generation plant at La Collette Power Station. This project is expected to be completed by the end of this year at a total cost of £2m.
JE CEO Chris Ambler said: ‘Although we have scaled back some of our less cost effective steam generation capacity at La Collette following the completion of the Normandie 3 cable in 2014 and in anticipation of this year’s N1 installation, all-Island supply failures on 25 September 2012 and 27 January 2014 have led us to installing a ‘black start’ diesel generator for additional resilience. Designed to start using compressed air, it will enable the Company to restore full supplies to the Power Station and all its ancillary controls in the event of a complete black-out.
‘The engine will enable us to continue to meet our published Security of Supply Standard by adding another flexible and cost-effective unit of 5.5MW generation. While we do not expect the generator to be heavily used, it provides additional insurance in the unlikely event of major interruptions to imported supplies.’