The global leader in temporary power supply, Aggreko, has come to the rescue of Alinta Energy in South Australia after an unprecedented electrical storm caused severe outages. More than 1000 lightning strikes were recorded during the storm, causing loss of power supply to hundreds of households and businesses, including the Leigh Creek coal mine.

Alinta Energy provides the majority of South Australia’s baseload energy requirements through the coal-powered Flinders Power Station, which is supplied with coal from the Leigh Creek mine about 250km away. The high voltage power supply to a large portion of the electricity distribution network around the mine and surrounding community was cut off due to the lightning strikes. While most domestic households were switched to a backup supply, operations at the mine had to be halted.

Emergency generators took over supplying power to local towns and then Alinta Energy addressed the situation at the mine site.

The Leigh Creek Mine’s maintenance manager Peter Cranwell says, “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.”

Aggreko delivered two 1250 kVA generators to the mine site within 24 hours of the call for assistance and the units provided enough 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 Peter Cranwell.

Aggreko’s Australia-Pacific managing director Asterios Satrazemis says, “Aggreko has a vast experience in providing emergency response power to customers throughout Australia.

“The ability to rapidly mobilize reliable equipment from our network of strategically located depots is central to our strategy to support local businesses.”

Aggreko employs more than 4500 people, serving customers in about 100 countries. It provides power and temperature control solutions very quickly or for short periods of time such as major sporting events or power for an industrial site which needs to service its permanent supply.

Alinta Energy is now compiling an action plan to cope with future events of this kind.

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