Original Date: 06/05/2006
Revision Date: / /
Best Practice : On-Site Electrical Generation
Rockwell Collins has partnered with Alliant Energy to develop an on-site electrical generation system that is driven by diesel generator sets that deliver 1.6 megawatts of electrical capacity. This system has saved Rockwell Collins more than $1 million in the past ten years while delivering reliable, uninterrupted power 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In past years the Rockwell Collins Cedar Rapids facility had very limited backup power generation for code- minimum equipment (e.g., egress lighting). When power was interrupted to the facility, lengthy test operations would have to be repeated and exposed material in plating tanks would need to be scrapped. After several occurrences of power interruption to the facility that caused costly continuity of operations events, Rockwell Collins saw the need for reliable power guaranteed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
To meet the challenge of uninterruptible power, Rockwell Collins furthered its existing partnership with Alliant Energy to install a full backup power system using on-site power generation equipment in the event of an unscheduled power outage. Through this system upgrade, Rockwell Collins’ electricity rate was changed from “firm” to “interruptible.” The interruptible rate is provided by an optional utility tariff and requires Rockwell Collins to interrupt from the power utility grid if the utility needs the power due to reliability or shortage issues. In short, this new process is a way to use financial incentive to provide funding for an asset that could be used for reliable and continuous power.
The makeup of this on-site power generation station is a series of in-line diesel generators owned by Alliant Energy, situated on Rockwell Collins property, and monitored in real time by both Rockwell Collins and Alliant Energy personnel. These generators number 16 in quantity and provide surge capacity of 1.6 megawatts. The generators are fed by a tank farm that consists of three 10,000-gallon tanks that enable the generators to run throughout a full day before refueling. As part of Rockwell Collins’ partnering agreement with Alliant Energy, the cost of refueling when power is interrupted is fully provided by Alliant. Concurrently, Alliant realizes the benefit of the added capacity the facility can provide.
A key operating management tool that Rockwell Collins uses to manage this vital resource is Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. This real-time software links to the server at the utility company and allows constant monitoring that controls the system and can be linked to preventative maintenance on the generator sets. Attributes such as generator fuel usage, generator run-time, engine oil pressure, and engine temperature can all be factored into a preventive maintenance strategy for the entire system.
Rockwell Collins operates this on-site electrical generation system in a positive cash-flow state (Figure 2-7). The bottom-line benefit to the business is represented by a $1 million savings from the local utility company during the past 10 years. To reinforce the business benefit, no upfront costs were incurred due to Rockwell Collins’ partnering agreement with Alliant Energy.
Figure 2-7. Interruptible Electricity Cost Savings
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.