Power Management Solution Prevents Blackouts

International Paper recently selected Milwaukee-based Rockwell Automation to implement a comprehensive power demand management system at its paper mill in Riegelwood, N.C. Rockwell's Power and Energy Management Solution (PEMS) will help the world's largest paper and forest products company eliminate plant-crippling power blackouts caused by fluctuations in the mill's power supply levels.

Executives at International Paper, who must contend with blackouts that can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost production and equipment damage, anticipate their investment in PEMS will pay for itself by preventing a single power outage.

“With each blackout costing us so much in repairs and/or lost revenues, one blackout a year was devastating,” explained Dwight Collins, a process control engineering team leader for International Paper. “We realized that the current antiquated load-shed system needed to be replaced with a system that would provide us with enhanced security against power level fluctuations and blackout situations.”

The load-shedding capability of the PEMS balances the power supply and draws additional power from on-site power generators or the local utility, as needed.

Battery-Free UPSs Provide Protection

Active Power Inc., Austin, Tex., began shipping high-power 600kVA and 900kVA uninterruptable power systems (UPSs) to Caterpillar Inc. and its dealers last December. The new flywheel-based systems support enhanced power conditioning features such as improved voltage regulation and harmonics cancellation. Two Caterpillar dealers—Alban Tractor Co., Elkridge, Md., and Peterson Power Systems Inc., San Leandro, Calif.—received the initial shipments to meet the growing demand from data centers in their respective regions.

“The 900kVA CAT UPS is the latest addition to our product lineup. It protects critical electrical loads from power disturbances and provides an uninterrupted transition to a standby generator set, without needing batteries,” said Jim Parker, director of Caterpillar Electric Power. “Stored energy is immediately available to cover utility-power voltage sags, surges, or outages—and when combined with a CAT generator set, it provides protection against extended brownouts and blackouts.”

Cascade Steel to Install Static Var Compensator

Cascade Steel Rolling Mills, McMinnville, Ore., recently awarded a $3 million contract to a United States unit of ABB, a global technology company, to deliver a reactive power compensation system.

The 12-month turnkey contract calls for ABB Power T&D Co. Inc., of Raleigh, N.C., to deliver a Static Var Compensator (SVC) to Cascade Steel by November 2001. With numerous high-power components, electrical measurement devices, and control systems, the SVC will boost and stabilize voltages in the mill's power circuits. Cascade Steel will connect it to the electric arc furnace bus to improve process economy in its meltshop.

“The investment in an SVC makes a lot of sense to us,” said Ron Camp, superintendent of maintenance, engineering, and projects at Cascade Steel. “We think we'll see payback of the investment within a year.”

Microturbine Shipment Reaches 1000

Capstone Turbine Corp., a manufacturer of microturbine power systems, recetly shipped its 1,000th unit. The natural-gas-powered unit went to Chicago-based utility Peoples Energy, which installed it as one of a six-unit array of Capstone microturbines at the Goose Island Beer Co., also located in Chicago. Electricity from the microturbine “six-pack” will power critical production equipment at Goose Island's Fulton Street Brewery.

“It's critical that we have the right temperatures at the right times in the brewing and fermentation processes,” said John Hall, president of Goose Island Beer Co. “An outage can impact the quality of our product, and that's something an award-winning beer company like Goose Island cannot tolerate.”

Capstone Turbine produced its first two commercial microturbine systems in December 1998 and has shipped 759 systems through September of last year. More units have been used in research, development, and trade shows, so this shipment was not the company's 1,000th commercial sale.