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Load Management Strategies

February 26, 2016

There are three important terms to know in power generation. Power demand is the amount of electricity (kW) required by your system at any point in time. Peak load is the highest power demand expected in an application. Load management is defined as a technique to save costs during power generation.

Load management refers to systems that are in place to match power supply against power demand. In the case of utility power a steady power supply is produced to meet demand but in the instance where demand is not consistent they will shift large electrical loads from high-demand peak times to low demand off-peak times as a means of load management. There are two simple load management techniques that can save a consumer money. First, design the system requiring power to have a lower power demand so you can rent a smaller and more cost effective generator. Second, manage your power consumption to burn less fuel, if equipment is not required – turn it off reducing demand for power, reducing fuel consumption.

Understanding peak load and load management is critical when renting a generator or sizing a battery system. Equipment is size based on the equipment being able to meet peak load. Many generator rental sales people will advise a customer to calculate peak load as if everything were running all the time and to add some extra capacity as a buffer. This method of calculating means in all likelihood an over-sized generator will be recommended that will run inefficiently and under capacity the majority of the time. A better approach is to prepare a power budget form. Once an estimate of what will be running on the system is established it is possible to manage load by staging or scheduling equipment use. A budget also gives an approximation of what components are the biggest power consumers potentially highlighting areas to reduce energy consumption.

Electric load management is a complex subject for several reasons: the technology is not trivial, economic complexities strongly influence the overall picture, and much of the data comes from sources (power companies) that are out to make money, not necessarily to elucidate their business strategies. At the same time, one cannot understand the power generation and distribution system without considering fluctuations in demand, and the interplay between supply and demand.

The above recommendations are most influenced at the design stages, but what if you are already in a situation where power demand has increased at specific times or you already have an oversized unit. Finning has units which offer the best of both of these options in the EMCP 4 designed units.

The system allows multiple smaller units that can load sense and respond to load demand which allows for great versatility with changing load profiles and importantly large fuel savings when power demand is low. The units monitor load and at specific presets will automatically start and bring another unit online, when power demand lowers system will shutoff units not required. This can have a significant reduction of fuel consumption.

Need a solution, we at Finning and Caterpillar pride ourselves on being solution providers call us will your challenge or ideas to improve the efficiency of power needs.

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