Sunday, August 30, 2015

Load Shedding, the Pharmaceutical Industry and the Quest to Save Lives

In light of the constant increase in electricity demand and a relatively moderate investment in the construction or refurbishing of power infrastructure, many countries around the world face the problem of regular load shedding and continual power outages. The effects of load shedding and power interruptions are felt by almost all sectors of the society and economy, including residents, the government, primary resource businesses and manufacturing/processing industries. One sector that has been ailing from constant power outages is the pharmaceutical industry.

Industry spokespersons cite that constant load shedding has been making it difficult for their companies to manufacture drugs and other pharmaceutical products, including potentially life-saving medicines for serious diseases, including cancer and hepatitis. “Shortage of power,” says one pharmaceutical facility operator, “is not only affecting our production, but has also been making the lives of patients around the world more difficult.” He said that power outages render more challenging not only meeting the local demand for medicines, but also fulfilling export requirements. “Before load shedding,” he continues, “we have been satisfactorily meeting the domestic pharmaceutical requirements, but now, we have found it increasingly difficult to meet our targets here and abroad.”

Industry players have been clamoring for the pharmaceutical sector to be exempted from daily rounds of load shedding and peak shaving, but the governments and the utility providers cannot always guarantee this. “There are days when we experience continuous power,” says another operator, “but most of the time, power is cut at unexpected times, and the outage lasts for hours.” He understands that residents, businesses and industries all share a limited supply of electricity, and a privilege of a continuous supply of power extended to the pharmaceutical industry will be at the expense of another industry or the residents. “We know that it is very difficult at this time for the utility providers to exempt us from load shedding or peak lopping,” the same operator continues, “so we have installed local power generation facilities within our sites.” The problem, however, is that their power production is not always reliable, and is not always sufficient for large-scale production.

Pharmaceutical facility operators may find benefits in supporting their local power generation facilities, like renewable sources, with large-scale standby power equipment, like rental power plants. Rental power plants are capable of providing a reliable and consistent electricity supply to industry-scale operations, and generating the exact amount of power as they are designed to produce. They can be ramped up or scaled down depending on the precise need of the customer, hence precluding instances of under- or over-sizing. So, for instance, if the local power facility produces sufficiently, then the rental power plants go on standby mode; but once the electricity supply diminishes, the temporary power plants activate and ensure that the desired amount of electricity is supplied.

As constructing rental power plants do not require a huge capital expenditure, implementing them does not mean an additional burden for pharmaceutical companies. The companies can pay the electricity supply as they go, and do not have to think of the maintenance and servicing of the plants.
With rental power plants, pharmaceutical production facilities can continuously operate to meet the local demand for medicines, and fulfill their export requirements. They can go on creating life-saving medicines for the most pressing illnesses of the world. While the governments and the utility industries construct and improve power infrastructure to eliminate load shedding, temporary power plants can ensure that life goes on not only for patients but also for the pharmaceutical industry.


Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

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