Keeping the lights on

How a field service engineer solves power plant issues in times of distancing

Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic a biomass plant operator faced issues with its power supply

Like the rest of the world, Philippines has also been largely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the country has been under lock-down. In such a critical situation, maintaining an uninterrupted power supply to the nation is of utmost importance. But what happens if, in these critical times, the power plant operation is faced with problems, e.g. a process is disturbed?

Service specialists must always offer advice and, above all, be approachable. Ramadoss K, located in India, is one of our field service engineers. In April he solved a major issue for a power plant that ran the risk of being unable to supply electricity to the national grid.

The operator generates, sells and supplies electricity through the exploration, development and utilization of alternative and/or renewable sources of energy and technologies.

“On April 7, 2020 amidst the lock-down, while the plant was running on 20 MW full load, where 18.2 MW was exported to the grid, the grid breaker tripped,” tells Ramadoss. This resulted in the plant load shifting to home load, which is a potentially difficult situation as it would have had hindered the power supply to the national grid. “The engineers on site tried every possible way to synchronize the grid breaker. Unfortunately, they were unable to do so due to continuous tripping of the generator breaker due to the temporary load shift on the home load. So they reached out to us seeking remote support for restoration”, recalls Ramadoss.

Within 24 hours the issue could be successfully solved thanks to the merries of remote services and Ramadoss’ expert knowledge.

"We immediately evaluated the scenarios and guided the customer with checks to be done to identify the problem through a video call. Eventually, we could identify the earth fault in the Transformer LV side cable and it was rectified on April 8, 2020.” The turbine was then synchronized and 18.00 MW exported to the grid was restored at 18.02 Hrs (PHT).