The survival of major City banks and institutions can hinge upon the safe storage of highly sensitive and valuable information at their data centres. Loss of power even for a few minutes can lead to this data being lost or corrupted and can cost millions. Optimum reliability is absolutely essential.

Glasgow-based national generator specialist Dieselec Thistle has undertaken a £3 million plus project comprising its largest-ever witnessed load test with generators providing back-up power equipment for a major financial institution in the event of a mains power-cut.

The four 11kV, FG Wilson diesel generators, each capable of delivering 2mVA of power, were ordered by specialist contractor Skanska Rashleigh Weatherfoil (SRW) as part of a major upgrade to a data-centre in central London. SRW is a specialist in undertaking projects of this size on a turnkey basis, where “live working” (major installations in occupied buildings) is essential.

Before delivery, the generators were set up and subjected to a continuous load test at Dieselec Thistle’s headquarters. Substantial temporary equipment, including reactive load banks, flues, a synchronised 11kV switchboard, and four remote electric-driven cooling towers, were required for the test, which was witnessed by representatives from SRW and the client company.

The four new generators replace five smaller generators located in the basement of the client’s central London building. The old power plants have been decommissioned and removed via a 2 m x 3 m hole punched in the concrete slab of the building’s car-park.

The client’s data centre remains occupied and fully operational throughout the 12 month project, which is due for completion in November 2011.

This article will explain the demanding logistical task of replacing the old generators with new models and examine the high level of performance required of the equipment.

It will also look at the test procedure, explaining why such exhaustive testing was required, and why this was necessary before delivery of the equipment to site.

Main Contractors Listed in the Main Contractors section of the B2B Index