Potential Savings: An Introduction to the Generator Power Market

There are two generator power markets – standby (emergency) power and prime power.  Prime power means that the generator is the sole source of electrical power and runs whenever power is needed.  For example, at a coal mine, this might be 8 hours a day. Meanwhile, standby power is used only during emergency situations. Many would argue that because this a generator that is rarely used, it doesn’t justify the investment.  The savings equate to kW-hr savings.

Diesel Generator

Diesel generators use 7 gallons fuel per 100kW-hr., meaning the cost of fuel would be $28 per 100kW-hrs.  On a larger machine (1-2MW), it may use 50kW of radiator power. However, if you apply intelligent rad controls, that cut costs in by half, saving you $5,000 in fuel savings over a continuous month.

Natural Gas Generator

Similar math, except natural gas may be 1/3 the cost of diesel fuel.  So savings is now $1,500/month-ish.  The thing with natural gas machines is they tend to require more cooling per output kW.  So where the above case might be true for 1-2MW diesels, this swings down to 500kW on the low end for natural gas machines.

The cost of intelligent radiator controls over dumb radiator controls may be a $2500 to $4000 premium.  So, on a continuous site, pay back should be 4 months or less.  On an 8 hr/day site, this should be < 1 year for payback.