Year 2018 news

We commissioned 8 new gas turbine generators, one 132 kV mesh corner and, too many to count, gas engines of the type that look like diesel engines and switchboards at 33 kV and 11kV.  Our work overseas was in France, Italy, Netherlands, Indonesia, Iraq, Thailand, UAE and Ghana.  Our best friends know that we get each job done completely and efficiently and all the technical glitches are resolved quickly and painlessly.  Overall, we are probably the best value of any company anywhere.

We made a break-through due to our very successful commissioning of the HV switchboards at 22 Bishops Gate, the second highest building in Europe.  Only a neighbour, the Shard, dwarfs it.   Following this we were invited to commission HV supplies at four new Data Centres in London and Paris.

Data Centres

Data Centres are the new factories.  They are owned or used by big hi-tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.  They are networked with other Data Centres to create an indestructible ultra reliable storage facility.

Hundreds of racks of serversData Centre buildings vary in size and shape.  Typically, each one looks like a windowless cube with a 50 m side at the base and 10 floors high.  Total usable floor area is 200,000 square feet and computers, called servers, are arranged in racks.  Each server stores 2 T bytes of data and there are 120,000 servers per Data Centre. 1 T bytes is (1024)4 bytes.  Instead of referring to data storage capacity, it is common to refer to the MW rating of the site to describe the capacity to provide data storage.  One server consumes 215 W and requires a similar amount of power to provide the cooling to get rid of the heat.  A massive 38% of total electricity consumption is taken up by cooling.  The sums work out, in this typical example, to be about 25 MW for the power of the servers and about 50 MW for the total electrical demand of the Data Centre.  This load is 24/7.  It is difficult to think of any other industrial process having such an electricity demand footprint.  Our friends in the electricity supply industry will easily relate this amount of consumption to an entire town of reasonable size. 

Handling the cooling requires a lot of plant. The bicycle is to help operators get around.In order to support the mass of computer systems contained within a Data Centre, there are many backup components and much infrastructure for power supply, data communications connections, environmental controls and various security devices. They all require reliable electricity to ensure continuous operation. Those we worked on have multiple interconnected switchboards and up to four backup generator switchboards.


Our regular readers might be expecting our comment about Brexit which is dominating UK news channels.  Well, we are fed up with the subject !  Instead we include an item that is probably of far greater significance for the power industry and the world.

French Government Announces U-Turn On Carbon Tax

France’s violent Yellow Vest protests are now about many domestic concerns, but it is no accident that the trigger was a fuel-tax hike. Nothing reveals the disconnect between ordinary voters and an aloof political class more than carbon taxation.  After decades of global conferences, forests of reports, dire television documentaries, celebrity appeals, school-curriculum overhauls and media bludgeoning, voters do not believe that climate change justifies policies that would raise their cost of living and hurt the economy.  The US, Canada, Australia, China, India, Russia and Brazil have all in effect abandoned CO2  policies.  Amongst developed economies, the EU is almost alone in pursuing CO2 reduction - a subject that does not appear to have a sound scientific base.  

In terms of electricity generation, France is extremely well placed and, by the standards used, it is very green.  This is because it has a very efficient nuclear generation and transmission infrastructure.  Nuclear generation is classed as renewables.  The French government foolishly presented its planned additional taxes, on diesel fuel in particular, as being necessary to reduce carbon emissions and to keep up with increasing demands from the UN to reduce CO2.  

The truth is that diesel cars and lorries do nothing of the sort.  They are the most efficient engines on the road.  What they do do is emit hydro-carbon by-products which are almost certainly unhealthy and are thus truly pollutants.  Of course the French Government wanted also to generate additional tax revenues and it already has the highest tax rates in Europe.  We suspect that one reason why carbon reduction is so well regarded by many governments is that it enables taxes to be increased, ostensibly to save the planet.  Who would not want to pay double the price for electricity if it meant saving the planet?  Well, the French government has overdone it.  It was dishonest and presented a tissue of lies.  The population rose up as latter day Sans-culotte revolutionaries and they forced a climbdown on the so-called carbon tax increases.  The Sans-Culottes are now pursuing other agenda items and after weeks of demonstrations, many are injured and some have died.

As things stand today, there is clearly no global consensus on a climate catastrophe, or on the way the world should tackle it. We think the UN should sober up. It is its responsibility to review its climate message. If by the end of the Katowice summit on December 14, there is still no consensus on a plan of action, the UN should pull the plug on its climate agenda.  Many will say they should pull the plug anyway.


The directors of the company thank all our staff and our clients and consultants and friends for their loyalty and trust during 2018.

We wish them all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.


John Sanderson, Director, December 2018