These solutions from Efficient Power guarantee fast deliveries, seamless start-ups and reliable power.
This enables new operations to come on stream sooner and quickly realise major returns on investment, Efficient Power MD Warwick Jackson tells Laura Cornish.
Efficient Power continues to build a reputation on its ability to deliver abnormally sized sub-stations and power plants to remote locations without the need to containerise them or spend countless months erecting on site before commissioning.
The company has developed a specialised solution which enables it to build entire plants at its holding company – Efficient Engineering’s enormous facilities in Gauteng. The units are tested and pre-commissioned before sending them fully assembled to site – in any remote region of Africa – and in doing so are redefining what can be transported as an entire package.
Despite the large scale of its pre-assembled infrastructure, Jackson assures that quality is uncompromised.
“To ensure we develop and offer the best solutions that fit specific applications, we work closely with our clients as well as leading, reliable and trustworthy OEMs and engineering consultants to deliver the best designed and fit-for-purpose solution.”
Utility power solutions
“We have challenged the traditional modus operandi for supplying traditional sub-stations, control centres, motor control stations, etc. We can build significantly big units in modules and deliver them from our fabrication facilities to site fully assembled, tested and pre-commissioned. Within 24 hours of arrival the infrastructure can be erected and commissioned. Since civil and mechanical work activities function in parallel we can largely remove unnecessary pre-erection construction site based activities.”
“As a result, the Efficient Power solution eradicates the onerous, expensive and linear approach to building a typical brick sub-station on site where hundreds of separate elements are brought together in generally very hostile environments. Because we are able to deliver ahead of schedule, the client is able to start production earlier which results in a reduced payback period and increased capital returns on the investment. It is for these reasons we believe we are leaders in our field,” says Efficient Engineering CFO Lenny Govender.
Reinforcing the message, Jackson says Efficient Power can supply a fully functional modular sub-station single unit fully assembled to site up to 40 m in length, 7 m in width and 3.5 m in height. Each of these designs take into consideration the stringent deflection requirements for the electrical equipment installed in them. The entire bodies are built using stainless steel, meaning they are robust and don’t wear in corrosive environments. “They are designed to function in any remote, difficult environment for at least 35 years,” Jackson highlights. “We currently have several units still in service that has exceeded this duration.”
To date, the company has successfully completed numerous projects throughout Africa which recently includes the Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, Mozambique, Nigeria and of course, South Africa.
Jackson emphasises the benefits of early delivery and the eradication of most sight-based activities with their associated risk – enables projects to start-up ahead of schedule and consequently begin generating revenue. “Further to this, because the infrastructure is modular, it can be easily relocated and redeployed as a whole unit, which helps justify marginal project lifespans. This is a typical constraint for the mining sector in Africa.”
The only hindrance to Efficient Power’s modular approach is challenging the industry’s mind set – which to a large extent cannot quantify the ability to transport large-scale pre-assembled units to site without the need for containerised packaging. “We are not constrained by size nor do we compromise on safety or standard switchgear requirements to successfully deliver on our promises. And we have the track record to prove it.”
In combination with its focus on sub-station project work, Efficient Power is also able to deliver bolt-on power solutions such as solar plants, which feed power to sub-stations and ultimately the grid. The company more recently supplied two 10 MW solar plants to supplement utility grid feed in South Africa.
Captive power solutions trend on the rise
While captive power plant solutions – in which the mine is power self-sufficient – is considered a more costly power supply option, Jackson says there a numerous benefits to considering this option. Efficient Power supplies large-scale modular power plant solutions that operate using diesel-driven generators or work in conjunction with natural gas and/or renewable energy. They either feed the mining operation directly or via a sub-station at the correct voltage. “We will consider every option available in which best to feed power to the local infrastructure.”
More recently the company has started working on a project to supply 2 x 50 MW diesel-fired modular power stations to areas in Africa with a large power deficit – at that scale it proves size is no restriction for the company.
Jackson notes that due to economy of scale, captive power plants are becoming more affordable and mines have more luxury of choice in determining what power requirements best suit their needs – which means no longer only considering how to rely on local utility supply.
“Nonetheless, while captive power plants operate at a slight premium, the cost is levelled when considering this power is now a standard price and not impacted by peak rates. It is also reliable at all times and in turn won’t contribute to production losses as a result of operating downtime. This enables the client to sweat assets for maximum return,” Jackson emphasises.
A hybrid power solution using natural gas in conjunction with diesel is very cost effective and another area which Efficient Power specialises in. The company is able to supply a cryogenic virtual gas pipeline which can be monitored digitally in real time, so the supply of gas does not present a challenge.
Diesel power generation also works well in combination with solar energy and even this high infrastructure cost is declining and becoming more affordable. “The low operating capital drastically offsets the upfront capital expenditure. Hybrid solutions are undeniably winning more and more ground and not only are we well equipped to provide large-scale modular solutions in this area but can relocate them when necessary, as well.”
All images from Efficient Power