[Translated from the original article written in Japanese]
Disrupted communication, paralyzed transportation systems, darkness, and panicking people
The world’s power generation technology saved Japan from power shortage.
Preparing for a potential major power crisis after the Great East Japan Earthquake, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has invited emergency power generation facilities, domestic as well as from various countries around the world, to secure the power supply. Aggreko is a major UK generator rental company. In this article, we will cover the power generation business from a global perspective and a scale different from that of Japan.
Supplying generators to over a hundred countries
Aggreko has its headquarters in Scotland, UK. It is the largest power generation equipment rental company in the world with over 50 years of experience. Including its home base in Europe and North America, Aggreko has approximately 150 offices around the world: from advanced countries to emerging countries spanning the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Aggreko’s generators are manufactured at its home base in Scotland.
They offer a range of generators, from mobile ones to 20ft containerised ones. It is Aggreko’s greatest strength to be able to rapidly respond to any situation, whether they are construction sites, event sites (such as the Olympics or the football World Cup, or movie studios), emergency power supply for power stations, or power supply that supports the overall development in developing countries. Fuel wise, it can be either diesel or gas. Aggreko’s power generation equipment was used for the great flood that occurred in Brisbane, Australia in January of last year and also after the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand in February of the same year. “TEPCO and Aggreko came to know each other through the World Cup” says Rupert Soames, CEO of Aggreko.
Set up at Hitachinaka and Sodegaura
After the Great East Japan Earthquake, per TEPCO’s request, Aggreko and TEPCO closed a 200 MW (power generation equipment lease contract on April 4, 2011. In the same year, a 100 MW diesel thermal generation facility was set up in mid June at Hitachinaka Thermal Power Station and a 100 MW gas generation facility was installed at Sodegaura Thermal Power Station in July. Both facilities were made up of a collection of container type generators each having a generation capacity of one MW. Trucks carried approximately 100 machines to each site and interim generation sites were established. Hitachinaka was de-commissioned on March 2012 fulfilling its contract, and Sodegaura will continue its service until July 2012 (subsequent utilization has not yet been determined). Both sites supply power to the grid network when TEPCO’s thermal power plants lack power supply or during hours when demand for power increases.
The output capacity of one nuclear reactor of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station where the Great East Japan Earthquake hit is between 460 and 1100 MW. The total of the above two sites can serve close to half of the nuclear reactor’s minimum capacity. “Although 200 MW is a mere three percent when compared to TEPCO’s maximum total output capacity of 6450 MW, it could provide enough power to approximately 60,000 households.” Says Aggreko’s Director in charge of business development in Asia, Brano Kollar.
Preparing for a potential summer power crisis
Last year, electricity saving measures taken by households, private companies, and the government enabled the nation to overcome a power shortage. This year, all nuclear power stations have stopped and there is no prospect for their operation to resume. Mr. Soames says “we are in talks with many Japanese corporations to consider measures against this summer’s potential power crisis. We can provide the best suited generators.” Aggreko has already signed a contract with a major domestic company to provide generation equipment and various other companies are also making inquires.
The company’s products can quickly be set up if the space for installation is available since they are carried in containers and assembled on site. Constructing a thermal power station usually takes at least two to three years, but the installation period for a similar scale can be greatly reduced since Aggreko’s generation equipment is ready-to-assemble. In Sodegaura’s case, it took 12 weeks to install after signing the contract.
From the construction to the operation of generation equipment, all the work is done by Aggreko employees. Aggreko says that maintenance and management is being carried out in 24 hour shifts.
When asked of his intent for entering the Japanese Specified-Scale Electricity Business such as PPS, “We stick to deploying emergency power generation equipment,” says Mr. Soames.
Support from overseas
Other overseas companies besides Aggreko also supported TEPCO by providing emergency power generation equipment. Hyundai of South Korea and EGAT of Thailand proposed to provide power generation equipment immediately after the earthquake. Hyundai’s diesel powered engine is installed at Anegasaki Thermal Power Station and EGAT’s gas turbine is installed at Kawasaki Thermal Power Station in Kanagawa Prefecture and at Ohi Thermal Power Station in Tokyo, and are up and running.
Translated from the original article written in Japanese:
Magazine for People who Protect Society
Vol.31 May 2012