Sunday, September 28, 2014

Keeping Data Centers Dynamic

With hundreds and thousands of dollars at stake in every shutdown, what can one do to keep data centers running? Our continuing feature on industries most affected by power interruptions.

The data center constitutes one of the most critical operations of many modern companies. As the amount of information shared within and outside today’s companies increases, the complexity and criticality of data center operations heightens. In fact, the significance of a data center operation is so high that according to the 2011 National Study on Data Center Downtime the mean cost for any type of date center outage is a whopping USD 505,502. Fleshing out the information, the study cites that in a partial outage, the cost of damages amounts to USD 258,129, while in a total shutdown, USD 680,000.

Because the cost of downtime is so steep, availability of IT capacity is usually the most important criterion on which data centers are evaluated. The efficiency of data centers, in terms of both energy and management resources, is also constantly being improved, and research and development efforts of companies industry are increasingly being geared towards refining data center flexibility and cost-effectiveness.  Best practices in data center design, operation and maintenance have also been developed and studied, and huge IT-related companies like Google no less have published tons of literature to spread the most up-to-date knowledge.

Making all the advancement in the data center industry possible is, of course, electricity. The availability of a reliable supply of electrical power has been the driving force of most modern industries, from manufacturing, oil & gas, petrochemicals, mining, transportation to information technology, that a momentary loss of electrical energy can spell catastrophic consequences for them. As was described by the study quoted above, a data center shutdown can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and may cause long-term damages and negative consequences not only on equipment, but also on operations and transactions that depend on data centers.

In conjunction with energy efficiency and operational flexibility best practices, hiring the services of temporary power providers can prove to be a beneficial initiative, particularly in cases of emergency. Interim power plants can act as back-up electricity sources in times of natural calamities, like hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and flooding, which hold the grim possibility of affecting the electrical power supply in the affected areas. In case rental power plants are not yet installed when disasters strike, they can easily be deployed from virtually any point on Earth to another, thanks to their modularity. Once they arrive at the location, they can swiftly be installed and commissioned, owing to their adaptive design and plug-and-play configuration. They are able to supply the exact amount of power needed by the client, as they are flexible and infused with state-of-the-art protection systems.

In terms of finance, utilizing temporary power plants represent cost-efficiency, when compared to the projected amount of losses that can be incurred in cases of data center outages.

I these times of intensified globalization and inter-connectivity among businesses and different industries, data centers play an invaluable part in keeping the information gateway open and beneficial to all parties. As their role amplifies and expands in coverage, protecting data centers from possible blackouts and consequent damages is more vital than ever.


Robert Bagatsing
Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

These Electricity Myths Can Kill You

It turns out, not everything you thought you knew about electrical power is true…

It may be possible that some people think that handling electricity is as simple as wearing a rubber glove. After all, myriad “rules” about handling electrical wires or cables have been said and documented, and most of them look pretty self-explanatory. With the assumed knowledge that one has about electrical energy and how it behaves, it is easy for some people to decide to be an instant MacGyver. 

What they do not know is that some of the supposed “rules” have fine prints: A more specific piece of information that completes the thought. Without the supplementary fact, the general “rule” may be misinterpreted and, thus, can be erroneous. We have compiled some of the most popular electricity myths and looked to set them straight.

Myth 1: Power lines are insulated. 
False. Ninety per cent of power lines may not be insulated, and even the ones that were could have lost insulation from storms.

Myth 2: A line is safe because it is not high voltage. 
False. In reality, voltage is not what will kill you, amperage will. According to studies, it takes one amp to cause fatal heart irregularities. An average house has anywhere between 100 and 200 amps running through it.

Myth 3: A fallen wire will shut off. 
False. It is not always the case, because if it falls on a poor conductor, like asphalt, the wire will not short circuit.

Myth 4: A live wire will make sparks when it falls. 
False. This does not always happen. The line will spark when it does not make firm contact. With firm contact, it will not.

Myth 5: Wood is not a conductor. 
False. Wood is just a poor conductor. Wet wood is a much better conductor, so be extra careful.

Myth 6: Rubber gloves and rubber shoes insulate. 
False. This is not always true. They only insulate if they are 100% pure rubber. Typical cleaning gloves and shoes are mixed with other materials, and they can be conductors.

The most important rule to follow is let energy professionals handle electricity. During a power outage, be it only in your home or more widespread, do not attempt to resolve the problem by yourself. Trained industry experts will be able to know the root cause of the power interruption and provide the necessary service to restore power. Electricity specialists, like those working in the rental power industry, will be capable of providing temporary power, in case the reestablishment of electrical power needs more time. You are in good hands with these skilled professionals, so it is best to leave the work to them.


Robert Bagatsing
Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

Monday, September 22, 2014

Demand-Supply Mismatch

India is currently experiencing an economic upturn, with projected growth rates hitting pre-financial-crisis levels at more than 6%. There is, however, an escalating power supply shortage that may potentially hamper India’s continuous economic growth. 

Energy experts reveal that, to date, an estimated 300 million people in India have no access to electricity – which may seem an irony, in light of the fact that recorded data in recent years show that the demand for power in India has constantly outstripped the supply, both in terms of base load energy and peak availability. Owing to this imbalance, the country is said to register an 8.5% deficit in base load requirement and a 9.8% short-fall in peak load requirement.

This prevailing energy challenge is manifesting. Who could forget the massive blackout of 2012 that left 700 million people in India without electricity? In what is touted to be one of the worst blackouts in history, twenty of India’s 28 states suffered the effects of the power interruption that almost incited social instability and protests for fears that the country was no longer in the position to support its booming local energy demand. The repercussion was widespread and was nothing short of catastrophic: traffic jams all over the affected cities, babies wailing of heat, bodies half-burnt at crematoriums, patients gasping for every breath of life, miners trapped underground in complete darkness, passengers stranded in the middle of miles of track.

While other regions in the country are predicted to be severely affected by the energy shortage, India’s Central Electricity Authority forecasts that Northern India can expect a power surplus during the monsoon months, as most of its power generation capacity is predominantly dependent on hydropower.

This fact bodes well for region and for the other areas where it exports its surplus power, but it may not be permanently dependable. As it is largely conditioned by the amount of rainfall, one of the drawbacks of hydropower generation is that the capacity may gradually recede during seasons of less precipitation or of drought.    

In recognition of these shortcomings, the government is currently taking steps to mitigate the effects of power insufficiency and has then launched ambitious rural electrification programs. The caveat, however, is that the rate of building or refurbishing permanent infrastructure still lags behind the pace of the increase in energy demand. As a result, ground research shows that approximately 400 million Indians still lose power during blackouts and that 35.5% of Indian households still has limited access to electricity. As India’s demand for electricity is not showing signs of slowing down, the country’s energy supply just cannot keep in step.

The much needed power boost

In times when permanent power plants are still in progress and when the customary sources of energy cannot keep up with the electricity requirements, the Government and the utility industry stakeholders may opt to hire temporary power plants. Temporary power generation companies, like Altaaqa Global CAT Rental Power, have the products that can support the existing power generation infrastructure, with the end of bridging the gap in electricity supply as, where and when the necessity be.

Hiring power plants has tested and recognized merits, particularly in cases of emergencies, natural calamities and abrupt seasonal changes. Signing an agreement with interim power providers can also prove beneficial when electricity distribution facilities are not available in certain areas, like in dispersed communities; when permanent power stations are still being constructed or commissioned or when energy generation facilities are being expanded or refurbished.

India’s initiative to harness alternative sources of energy, like hydroelectric, solar, wind, geothermal and tidal has proven to be effective, but seasonal changes may alter the operations of the aforementioned facilities. For instance, some parts of the country where hydroelectric power stations operate may experience droughts or prolonged absence of rain, which in turn can drastically reduce the power generation capacity of the said plants. Solar or photovoltaic farms thrive during summer months but may experience shortage in production in months when days are predominantly cloudy or rainy. In these cases, rental power plants may support the power generation capacity of the current facilities if only to bridge the gap during the crucial months of seasonal change.

Power need not run dry

Tapping the potential of alternative sources of energy definitely has its merits, particularly in the context of natural gas conservation and of sustainability. Yet, one salient disadvantage of these alternative power technologies is their perceived dependence on nature, say on the amount of sunshine, wind or water. With the help of temporary power plants, these alternative energy infrastructure can continue to work at the optimum level, even in times of seasonal change. As a result, the areas where these facilities supply power to will not have to suffer from energy deficiency and constant load shedding. With the aid of interim generators, power need not set as the sun sets, drop as the wind drops and dry up as water dries up.  

*The foregoing article was originally published in the September 2014 issue of Power Watch, India.*


Robert Bagatsing
Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Power in Hospitals Cannot Flatline

Power supply dependability in medical facilities is literally a matter of life and death. The continuation of our ongoing series on industries most affected by power interruptions…

Most modern hospitals heavily depend on electricity to operate smoothly and efficiently. State-of-the-art facilities like scanning machines, respirators, health monitors and laboratory equipment require electrical energy to function as desired. Offices, patient rooms, operating theatres, intensive care units and neo-natal sections, among others, necessitate power to keep patients, doctors and medical staff comfortable and in optimal health. Communication systems for data handling and information exchange, which ensure that each patient is attended to in the exact manner as needed, are also in crucial need of electricity, as a momentary failure can throw an entire hospital operation in disarray. The topic of energy supply in hospitals and other medical facilities is so critical that it is subject to a myriad of critical regulations aimed at ensuring its perpetual availability.

At present, there exist several technologies that help ensure the continuous availability of electrical power in hospitals and other medical facilities. Hospitals can benefit from renewable energy sources that can boost the amount of electrical power coming from the grid. Co-generation technologies are also gaining traction, with several studies conducted in different countries, geared at investigating the appropriateness of such technologies in specific scenarios and operation requirements. For instance, there was a study conducted in the Netherlands that illustrated that co-generation installations were ideal for hospitals, owing to the concurrent demand for heating, cooling and electricity. The same study also suggested that co-generation facilities could act as back-up generators in cases of grid failures.

The ascribed successes of such technologies, however, are dependent on equipment selection and professional expertise. Moreover, completing such projects may take several years, if one takes into consideration all of the stages, from investigation, design, approval, financing, construction, commissioning, testing and, finally, activating. Financial considerations also need to be factored in.

One technology that may be able to support the other proposed innovations while they are still in progress is rental power. Temporary power generation facilities are capable of providing the necessary power requirement as needed, when needed and where needed by mission-critical operations, like in hospitals and healthcare facilities. Modern interim power systems are scalable, modular and user-friendly, that they can be tailored to supply power as per the specific customer demands, can be delivered from and to any point in the world, and can be installed and commissioned in a matter of days. They also present cost-related benefits, as procuring mobile power stations are considerably economic compared to the projected losses that a hospital may incur should it stay without electrical power.

The subject of electrical power availability in hospitals transcends financial and operational concerns; it, more importantly, revolves around the well-being and the recovery of patients. Lives are anchored on the services of hospitals and healthcare premises, and more than economics, the survival of patients are put in jeopardy in cases of power disruptions. Following this thought, one can just imagine how essential an uninterrupted supply of power is in these types of facilities.


Robert Bagatsing
Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

Ensure the Cure

It is important to keep pharmaceutical products at the right temperature all the time. The continuation of our ongoing series on industries most affected by power interruptions…

Keeping medicines and other pharmaceutical products at the optimal temperature is important in ensuring that they remain effective and capable of saving a patient’s life and health. Insulin, for instance, might lose its effectiveness the moment it is exposed to temperatures below 0°C. Other pharmaceutical products, like cortisone creams, can be rendered useless by exposure to temperature above 35°C.

As a testament to the salience of the concern, industry authorities like the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have defined two main temperature ranges for the climate-controlled transportation and storage of pharmaceutical products: Two to eight degrees Celsius for cold chain products and 15°C-25°C for temperature-controlled products.

While it is ideal that temperatures as prescribed are maintained during manufacture, storage and transportation of pharmaceutical products, there may be cases that can cause extreme aberrations. One of them is when power supply is interrupted, either from planned or from unexpected circumstances. Electricity outages can be caused by several reasons, including plant shutdowns, overloaded facilities, peaks in seasonal demands, natural calamities and operational errors, among others. Whatever the cause of interruption is, it is important for pharmaceutical companies and other allied entities to be prepared and proactive in case of power-related problems.

One of the most efficient ways to prepare for and counter the effects of a blackout is to engage the services of temporary power providers. Rental generators represent a cost-effective and rapid solution in times when power is cut off. With interim power plants, the temperature across the pharmaceutical cold chain can be maintained, and temperature abuse can be avoided. Because temporary power stations are relatively affordable compared to constructing dedicated permanent electrical energy plants on site, pharmaceutical companies and their allied entities can procure the systems without needing to dent their budget allocations for a particular period of time. Since rental power plants are operationally efficient when used temporarily, the cost that will be involved running them will largely be lesser than the lost profit, opportunities, production time and raw materials should pharmaceutical firms stay without power. Because mobile generators are flexible and scalable, their output can be fitted to the exact requirement of the customers, precluding the chances of over- or under-sizing.

Nowadays, medicines have become part of the world population’s basic necessities. With the delicate illnesses that are now existent, like HIV, Ebola and MERS, to name a few, pharmaceutical products are highly essential to keep people healthy and to prevent the spread of deadly ailments. Temporary power plants can help supply the necessary electricity in times when dependable, sustainable and viable power is crucially needed, as in maintaining the prime temperature for medicines and pharmaceutical products.


Robert Bagatsing
Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mobile Gensets for Renewable Energy Sources

Rising above the electricity-related challenges that have hounded the country for decades, India is now said to have the fifth-largest power generation portfolio and is regarded the fifth largest wind energy producer in the world. As a response to the observed electricity supply shortage in India, feared to worsen as months of peak consumption draw near, power generation from renewable sources are currently being maximized and optimized to support the country’s permanent traditional energy facilities. In 2013, for example, the share of renewable power in India’s total energy mix stood at 12.3%, up from 7.8% in 2012. Wind power accounted for the lion’s share of the renewable energy generation figure, at 68% and an installed capacity of 19.1 GW.

Recognizing the merits of harnessing the potential of renewable energy sources, the government of India has launched various initiatives to encourage efforts to transition from fossil-based energy options, including offering tax holidays and generation-based incentives or GBIs. The benefits of renewable energy sources are gradually being recognized by different sectors of society, and as the government opened renewable energy projects to foreign and local venture and investment, alternative power generation technologies are seen to have a bright roadmap ahead.

Though renewable energy sources are seeing much support from the government, citizens and investors alike, energy industry professionals observe that renewable technologies have so much more potential to be developed. First, at the policy level, experts suggest the fortification of renewable purchase obligations (RPOs) to drive the demand for electricity from renewable energy sources. They are also advocating a more intense motivation to construct power transmission infrastructure, so more electricity generated by alternative energy sources reaches the grid.

At the technology level, renewable power sources have much room to be enhanced. As we speak, research and development efforts are being taken to improve on their performance predictability and dependability, despite the fact that their “fuels” (such as water, wind or sunlight) depend on natural conditions, which could not be controlled or completely projected.

As renewable technologies are being planned, constructed or augmented, and are still in diffusion to more communities and industrial areas in India, other alternative technologies can supplement them, bridging the gap in power supply and electricity demand. It has been documented that a 50 MW wind farm, for example, can be built in six months, and if one factors in the time needed for planning, designing, and receiving necessary approvals and permits, a wind farm may be operational after only a year or so. During the months when wind farms (or any other renewable energy facility for that matter) are not yet operational, mobile generator sets have the capacity to temporarily provide power to the communities planned to be beneficiaries of renewable energy.

Temporary generators are cost-effective immediate solution to power supply shortages and instability, which do not require a huge initial capital to acquire and install. Because rental gensets are modular and flexible, interim power stations can be installed in most places where renewable energy facilities find applications. Owing to their adaptive configuration, temporary gensets can be easily installed and commissioned, and can be run in as little time as a few days. Additionally, as they are containerized and have relatively small dimensions, mobile generators can be delivered from any point in the world to another.

With the support of temporary power plants, the perceived limitations of renewable sources of energy can be surmounted, and the deficit in supply of power can be filled. As renewable facilities ramp up their reliability and predictability, interim power stations can provide a viable and sustainable supply of power when needed and as needed by communities and industrial facilities in India. Alternative power sources, when enhanced and properly utilized, have the capacity to support permanent traditional sources of electricity to avoid further energy outages and load shedding, and to extend the coverage of the electricity supply even to the most remote communities and industries in India.

*The foregoing article was originally published in the September 2014 edition of The Energy Outlook, India.*


Robert Bagatsing
Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bringing Power To Africa’s Mining Industry

Experts herald the mining industry as the light of Africa’s future. With the prevailing power deficiency, however, will the roadmap ahead be dim? Robert Bagatsing Marketing Manager; Peter den Boogert, General Manager and Majid Zahid, Strategic Accounts Director, of Altaaqa Global CAT Rental Power provide the answer.

The tenacity that Africa has shown in the face of the recent economic crisis is nothing short of commendable. If numbers from the African Development Bank’s African Economic Outlook for 2014 are any indication, the continent’s future looks bright. Experts forecast growth rates of 4.8% in 2014 and 5.7% in 2015, and financial in-flows in the area of USD 200 billion.

Playing a major role in Africa’s notable economic performance is the mining industry, widely regarded as one of the chief pillars of the African economy – and not without reason. The mineral industry in Africa is one of the largest in the world, riding high on the continent’s vast 30-million-square-kilometer land area. Africa is richly endowed with mineral reserves, including bauxite, cobalt, diamond, phosphate rock, platinum-group metals (PGM), vermiculite and zirconium. Naturally, gold mining is the African mining industry’s bread and butter.

The world sees the enormous size of Africa’s mining territory, but much of the continent’s potential still remains unearthed. Experts say that a considerable percentage of Africa’s precious metal reserves are underexplored, owing to several financial and operational motivations, among which is the observed lack of dependable, viable and sustainable power. For instance, in a recent release, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has advised mining companies to suspend any expansion plans or contractual modifications that would require extra power until further notice, in an effort to control the country’s demand for energy. The foregoing initiative from the government may have its benefits in the context of energy conservation, but it may definitely create economic and social deviations in the operations of the mining companies.

In light of this recent conundrum, from the prism of transitivity, a shortage in power supply could mean lost opportunities. With the postponement of mining expansion projects, additional mineral reserves, which could mean additional sources of revenue for operators, will remain unexplored for a longer period of time. A deficiency in energy could mean lost time, as plans that took years to finalize have already been chalked up, only to be discarded or shelved. A deficit in electricity could mean lost employment and income, as halting a project could lead to retrenchment.

With mining playing a major role in most of the African economies, an insufficiency in energy, leading to suspended operations, may have catastrophic wide-scale economic repercussions. Looking back in 2008, blackouts in the Republic of South Africa halted Anglo American, Impala Platinum Holdings and Harmony Gold Mining mines for five days – an incident that spelt a notable difference in the companies’ and in the country’s growth rates that year. A repeat of this predicament would imperil South Africa’s present economic projections, and in this day and age when economies no longer exist in a vacuum, particularly in Africa, where there is remarkable interdependence, a slight drop in one country’s economy may set off a domino effect.

The effects of load shedding on mining operations

In a recent communication, Eskom, the largest producer of electricity in Africa, announced that power cuts could potentially take effect if the surge in power demand in South Africa could not be tapered. This, according to industry experts, might bring about negative operational and financial consequences to mining companies. Mining consultants estimated that the rotational load shedding could result in losses in the area of millions of SAR (South African Rand) a day. Though efforts are being taken to ensure that production would continue in most of the mines around the country, studies pointed to the fact that the deepest underground mines, touted to be the largest employers in the mining industry in South Africa, would be most affected by load shedding. While this happened in South Africa, the same adverse effects to mining operations should be expected had the load shedding happened elsewhere.

Making a difference with power

Before looking at possible solutions to Africa’s power woes, let us take a closer look at the anatomy of a power deficit. An electricity shortage may be caused by multitudinous reasons, including major planned or unplanned power plant facility refurbishment, a sudden spike in electricity demand, unstable electrical grid, emergency situations, turnaround and peak lopping or shaving, among others. In cases such as these, mining companies may opt to hire temporary power plants such to instantly supply viable and sustainable electricity to their facilities for an uninterrupted operation. Cost-benefit studies conducted across different mining facilities around the world show that the cost of renting interim power generation plants is marginal compared to the economic and financial impact that delays or suspension could bring to operations.

In other cases, mining operations that have localised electricity generation facilities, for instance, may experience energy shortage during summer or winter months, when there is a need to dedicate electricity for climate control. Without supplementary power, mining facilities could not meet the seasonal energy requirement, making the production environment unsuitable for working. Studies show that days with extreme temperature aberration are few in a year, thus mining facilities are discouraged to devote permanent power generation facilities solely for this purpose. This, therefore, makes a strong case for employing rental power plants, which is not as capital intensive as constructing a new, dedicated permanent power generation facility.

Interim power facilities, like the solutions offered by Altaaqa Global CAT Rental Power, a global provider of temporary energy solutions, could spell the difference between lost opportunities and breakthrough. Because Altaaqa Global’s solutions are flexible and scalable, they can be employed in a wide range of applications, be they underground mines, open-pit mines or ore processing facilities. As the company’s products are customizable in size, capacity and, even, in cost, they can be rented by large international mining corporations and smaller regional or local aggregates producers, quarry operators or miners. Thanks to Altaaqa Global’s extensive product range, the company can address any requirement, including the need for standby power, prime power, continuous power, load lopping, peak shaving, or for utility power distribution.

Altaaqa Global’s offerings could spell the difference between lost time and progress. The company has a stellar record in providing interim power generators where needed, when needed, even at a moment’s notice. With Altaaqa Global’s industry-proven experience and reliability, the company has delivered executable, measurable and sustainable solutions to myriad projects across the Middle East and Africa. Owing to the availability of spare parts and expert teams on the ground, Altaaqa Global has proven that it can provide after-sales support to installed and commissioned projects at any given location, at any given time.

Altaaqa Global’s presence could spell the difference between lost jobs and success. The company has an avowed corporate social responsibility program, one of which tenet is to alleviate the social challenges of where it operates through providing job opportunities, extending educational assistance and conducting awareness campaigns on energy conservation and environmental stewardship. Not only could Altaaqa Global’s products ensure the continuous operations of mining projects, thus of one’s employment, the company actually employs competent and talented locals in areas where it sets up its facilities.

The future, electrified 

As one of the cornerstones of the African economy, the mining industry deserves a keen attention, particularly in light of the looming power insufficiency. Experts say that Africa’s future is crucially anchored on the mining industry, and for this reason, stakeholders in the mining industry, including the governments, the operators and the investors, are investing thought, labour and money to keep the sector thriving. Permanent power generation facilities, which could provide a long-term solution to the continent’s power woes, are gaining ground in most parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, but their fruition could take some time. While these are in progress, mining companies could opt to rent interim power generation facilities, which are capable of satisfying urgent requirements in a considerably shorter time, precluding disastrous repercussions of operational delays and suspension.

Post-scriptum: Power Solutions for Power Problems

As a response to the looming power supply instability, governments in the Sub-Saharan Africa are mapping out alternative power generation projects, which end is to supply more energy in the long haul. In DRC, for instance, the Grand Inga hydroelectric project, forecast to add 44,000 MW to the country’s power supply, is said to be underway, while in Zimbabwe, upgrades to the Kariba South hydropower and the Hwange thermal coal plants are well in the pipeline. South Africa is keenly looking at Kusile and Medupi coal-fired power stations, with each plant expected to have a generating gross capacity of nearly 4,800 MW.

*The foregoing article was originally published in the Electra Mining Africa Preview Supplement, produced by Creamer Media, South Africa.*


Robert Bagatsing
Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The 10 Industries Most Affected by a Power Outage

With news of power interruptions abound, your industry may not want to be part of this countdown.

In an era when almost all the sectors of the economy need electrical power to run, even a short outage in power may lead to unspeakable economic, financial and operational consequences. The degree of the impact brought about by load shedding to an individual entity varies by industry and the nature of applications. It can range from being operationally disruptive to terminal or life threatening. 
Here’s a run-down of industries and business functions that are severely hampered by power failures:

1. Manufacturing Industries 
Power interruptions can bring production lines to a full, abrupt stop. This may result in malfunction of machinery, and loss of material and of productive time. This may also lead to supply chains to shutting down altogether.  

2. Financial Corporations
The stock market can be thrown into chaos by a power outage. In an industry where a second can be the difference between making millions of dollars and losing them, power outages can render financial corporations unable to carry out vital transactions on time. 

3. Consulting and Information Technology (IT) Services
In this day and age where IT operations are an institution’s window to the rest of the world, power outages can result in crashed computer systems, lost data and sudden termination of transactions with clients. What is worse is that, even after the power is restored, these companies often need several weeks to recover hundreds of man-hours of work. 

4. Data Centers
Data centers are vital for the operations of several organizations, such as financial services firms, insurance companies, and IT services firms, to name a few. Load shedding here can cause massive and irreparable loss of thousands of records stored over time and can disrupt ongoing transactions, as well.

5. Perishable Items
Pharmaceutical, petrochemical and food processing industries heavily rely on a dependable supply of power for storage and preservation of perishables that have critically limited life spans. Power interruptions can cause the spoilage, contamination and eventual discarding of in-process products worth several millions of dollars.

6. Control Centers
Traffic signal operations, public transport systems, air traffic management centers, telecommunications and utilities – All of these operations largely rely on continuous power supply for efficient functioning. Disturbance in such critical operations can endanger the safety and security of millions of consumers in an instant.

7. Medical Facilities
In healthcare facilities, the patients’ lives are essentially supported by health monitoring systems. Any discontinuity in the normal functioning of medical systems can directly cause the loss of many lives.

8. Military Operations
Blackouts expose valuable equipment, weaponry and even personnel to the risk of attack.

9. Entertainment Venues
Cancellation of events even for brief periods of time can lead to huge losses of profit for entertainment venues. More than resulting in forced losses of revenues, unexpected termination of routine operations can also prove to be risky to visitors and operating personnel.

10. Safety and Security
Power outages have the potential to endanger the safety of the common citizens. For instance, power interruptions can prove to be hazardous for people trapped in or out of facilities with automated access control systems, passengers of elevators that come to a sudden stop, or residents of buildings with fire alarms and water sprinklers that cease to function.

In the next part of this article, we will explore the industry solutions available today, which are capable of mitigating the effects of load shedding and blackouts, not only on the above-listed industries, but on other residential, commercial and industrial operations as well. 

*Thanks to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) for providing key insights to the article.


Robert Bagatsing
Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Solar power is buoyant…literally

The world’s largest floating solar power plants are underway.

Did you know that Japan is currently building two gigantic solar power plants that are to be operational by April of 2015? Seems like the limitation of available land in the country is no match for Japanese ingenuity.

According to reports, solar panel firm Kyocera, Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation and Ciel Terre have announced a collaboration to build a total of 30 floating solar power plants, capable of generating a combined 60 MW of power. As per a joint release, the first of these plants will have 1.7 MW of power capacity, making it what is believed to be the largest floating solar power plant in the world. The solar power station will be placed on the surface of Nishihira pond in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture, and the construction activities are said to start this month (September). 

On the other hand, the second solar plant is said to have a capacity of 1.2 MW and is planned to be built on Dongping pond.

Based on industry studies, the two solar power plants as specified will have enough capacity to power anywhere between 483 and 967 American homes, based on their present energy demands.
The thought of building floating solar power plants is fast gaining traction, as they are expected to have lower temperatures (because they are on water) and are seen to be more efficient. In fact, India has also been cited to have invested in floating solar panels.

Onwards to an energy-secure world
The attention that countries are affording the issue of energy security is heightened, as the calamitous effects of the ever-increasing demand for electricity are gradually being felt. Recent news items reveal that rotating blackouts are being experienced in certain cities, even regions, in the world, and that more people are suffering from power interruptions due to the inability of electric facilities to satisfy the demand. As the world’s oil reserves recede, owing to the greater rate of consumption, the situation is only expected to worsen. 

The increasing popularity, acceptance and establishment of renewable energy sources, like solar in this case, greatly help the cause of global energy security. As years pass, and as more attributes of renewable energy sources are discovered, alternative power technologies will only prove to be better, more efficient and wider in reach. 

As renewable energy systems are optimized, other alternative power sources, like rental power plants, can support their present electricity generation capacity. When renewable facilities are still not able to support the existing power requirement, mobile power stations can fill in the gap in supply and ensure a viable and sustainable source of power. Being modular, scalable and affordable, temporary energy facilities pose no challenge in terms of delivery and installation, operation or procurement.

Renewable energy technologies need to be allowed to develop. Often criticized for their perceived lack of dependability and predictability, these sources are currently being studied and improved so their users can reap maximum benefits from them. The process will take time, but with the support of other alternative energy technologies, renewable energy facilities will sooner than later come of age.  

Robert Bagatsing
Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

Sunday, September 7, 2014

How do you keep your food safe during a power outage?

Food safety can largely be ensured by being proactive.

Did you know that aside from heat and darkness, load shedding and electricity interruption can also bring a serious threat to food safety? A knowledge of how to determine if food is still safe after the power is restored, and of how to keep food safe during blackouts will aid in minimizing the potential wastage of food and in reducing the risk of exposure to food-borne illnesses. Below, we present to you a run-down of boxes you have to tick to keep food safe during an electricity outage.
  • Under normal circumstances, meat, poultry, fish and eggs should be refrigerated at or below 40°F (4.4°C), and frozen food at or below 0°F (-17.8°C). Though this may be difficult during times when power is out, there are ways to work around the effects of electricity interruption.
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator is observed to keep food safely cold for about four hours it is left unopened.
  • A full freezer is shown to be able to hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours if the door remains closed.
  • When the freezer is not full, you can keep items close together to make the food stay cold longer.
  • If you have an idea that a power outage is coming, you should obtain dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during the blackout. Fifty lbs. of dry ice is observed to be able to hold an 18-cubic foot full freezer for two days. 
  • Coolers can prove to be a great help for keeping food cold. It is advisable to have some coolers ready, along with frozen gel packs. 
How can load shedding be avoided?

Load shedding is always expected to cause inconvenience, like food spoilage and wastage, wherever and whenever it is applied. But the truth is, it is a necessary procedure to avoid overloading electrical systems, which can result in a total blackout. An advisable way to preclude the disastrous effects of load shedding and power outages in homes and industrial & commercial sites is to hire the services of temporary power providers.

In times when a spike in power demand is expected, utility companies can invite mobile generator service providers on board to support the increase in electricity requirements. With the help of rental gensets, overloading of permanent power generation systems can be avoided, hence, load shedding will be unnecessary.

On the other hand, in instances of unforeseen power outages, utilizing temporary power plants will help restore electricity at the soonest possible time while waiting for the problem to be resolved. In this way, residents will not suffer the consequences of prolonged power interruptions, and businesses and industrial operations will not face sizable financial losses.

Being proactive is key

Be it at home, in the office or in the premises of utility companies, anticipation is vital in mitigating the effects of planned or unexpected power interruptions. From ensuring that food is safe and that cellphones are fully charged, to taking steps in bridging the power gap and reestablishing the supply of electricity, foresight and preparedness play an indispensable role.

To quote Stephen Covey, the world-renowned author of the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People:

“Look at the word responsibility—“response-ability”—the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling.”


Robert Bagatsing
Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Did you know that there are other “electric” animals other than eels?

It is the name – electric eel. If you randomly ask someone to name an animal that “generates” electricity, bet your bottom Dollar that he or she will say “eel”. However, thanks to convergent evolution, electric eels are not the only ones “electric” in the animal kingdom.

  1. Researchers have found certain types of microbes, dwelling near hydrothermal vents, that produce electrical current as a byproduct of their feeding on the chemicals that are being spewed. Researchers discovered that the more you feed the microbes, the greater electrical current they produce. But, it is not just their feeding habits that render these microbes electric. As they usually live on conducting minerals in the hydrothermal vents, the microbes are able to move electrons across the metallic surface of their home to produce a current.
  2. The nose of an Elephant-nose Fish is not actually a nose, but a sensitive extension of the mouth used for self-defense, communication, navigation, and finding food. This organ is covered in electroreceptors, as is much of the rest of its body. The Elephant-nose Fish has visual challenges and, thus, uses a mild electric field, generated by muscular contractions, to find food, to navigate in dark or murky waters, or to find a mate.
  3. As eels are closer in classification to catfish, it is not strange that another member of the catfish family has a similar trait. Can you believe that an electric catfish can generate enough electricity to power a computer for an hour? It uses this adaptation to stun its prey.

“Electric” as they are, these animals may one day in the future be able help the cause of energy security. Don’t you think that powering an electrical device for an hour is a good start? But, as science still finds a way to harness the “electrifying” traits of these animals, there exist sources of energy that are already proven reliable and sustainable. Rental power plants are technologies specifically engineered to support existing conventional electricity sources and nascent renewable energy generation facilities. Mobile gensets are economically and logistically beneficial sources that are capable of supplying the required amount of power as needed, when needed, where needed and how needed. Interim power stations are scalable technologies that can supply electricity from 20 MW to 200 MW, or tailored according to specific customer requirements. They are modular and pre-fabricated, making them easy to transport from any place on Earth to another, at any time. They are infused with cutting-edge innovations, allowing them to switch from island mode to grid mode to stand-by mode in just a push of a button.

With the way technology is making things possible these days, using "electric" animals as energy sources is no longer far from reality. What is important is that there should always be a balance among conceivable electrical power sources, so resources don’t dry up and ecological and environmental balance is maintained.


Robert Bagatsing
Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505