14 May 2012: Leigh Creek, South Australia – Aggreko, the global leader in the supply of temporary power and temperature control, has supplied emergency power to Alinta Energy following a storm where over 1,000 lightning strikes were recorded in one night, causing major power outages to households and businesses.
Alinta Energy provides a significant portion of South Australia’s baseload energy requirements through the coal-powered Flinders Power Station, which is supplied with coal from the Leigh Creek mine around 250km away. Following the lightning strikes, the high voltage power supply to a large portion of the electricity distribution network around the mine and surrounding community were cut off. Whilst most domestic households were switched to a backup supply, operations at the mine had to be halted.
Alinta Energy’s first priority was to maintain the supply to local households. Once emergency generators were covering the power supply to local towns, Alinta Energy addressed the situation at the mine site. “It took some time before the extent and likely duration of the outage was confirmed. Initially, the risk of the power station running out of coal was low. But each day without power to produce and deliver coal to the power station the risk increased,” said Peter Cranwell, Maintenance Manager at Leigh Creek Mine. “We needed an urgent supply of emergency power, so we contacted Aggreko.”
Aggreko delivered two 1250 kVA generators to the mine site within 24 hours of that request. Following installation, the units provided power to allow the coal plant to run and load coal trains bound for the Flinders Power Station.
“The generator enabled us to put power through our coal plant for bin loading, so while we weren’t able to produce coal, we were still able to supply the power station with reserves,” said Cranwell.
“Aggreko has a vast experience in providing emergency response power to customers throughout Australia,” said Asterios Satrazemis, Managing Director, Aggreko Australia-Pacific. “The ability to rapidly mobilise reliable equipment from our network of strategically located depots is central to our strategy to support local businesses” he said.
Alinta Energy is now compiling an action plan to cope with future events of this kind. "Aggreko will be our first point of call as an emergency power supplier,” said Cranwell.