In my last blog post entitled "Are we ready for the Hydropower Wave" I touched on how our existing hydro infrastructure is reaching the limits of its intended life and how there is a huge need to reinvest in this important regional resource. I also posed several difficult questions aimed at provoking thoughts and ideas about how the region plans to rejuvenate hydro plants and transmission systems with mounting pressure on shrinking or stagnant capital budgets. One of the keys to keeping ahead of this curve is to have a solid and well-managed maintenance and equipment tracking system that will save you time and capital dollars by improving the timing and replacement of these critical pieces of electrical and ancillary equipment at your facilities.
In my tenure with the US Army Corps we used a detailed tracking system for maintenance and reliability to manage generator life cycles. In addition, this tracking system inventoried ancillary equipment associated with the generators, including transformers. This provided us not only a snapshot on how many years we could expect out of a piece of equipment, but it was also a very powerful planning tool to help us focus on priorities for rehabilitation or replacement that would yield the greatest benefit to the system and the customer. These software tracking tools allow managers to carefully watch and manage the reliability of thousands of pieces of equipment without physically looking at each piece annually or bi-annually. This not only provides accurate information but does so without significant staff time (or consultant fees) to assess your equipment. It also allows you to manage supporting equipment that ages at different rates. If you don’t have a software tracking system in place, it’s an absolute must.
From my experience here are a few examples of the benefits:
Improved plant performance.
Routine and well-planned preventative maintenance practices limit revenue loss by controlling down time.
The ability to budget and schedule large lead time items such as transformers and specialty generation equipment well in advance of replacement.
Ability to identify upcoming workload and determine if your in-house staff can perform all the work or if consultants may be needed.
Better ability to manage large capital spending costs.
I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on how we can prepare to finance and track the impending hydropower rehabilitation wave. Do you have a tracking system in place? Tell us how you are solving these complicated but important challenges. Contact me at 360-597-2638, I’d love to discuss with you how we can help provide solutions to your hydropower needs.