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Standby Power System at Florida VA Hospital Heals Outage Fears


   After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) called for upgrades to emergency power systems at VA hospitals in hurricane zones — upgrades that could ensure continuous air conditioning, not just the operation of life-safety and other critical equipment.
   The James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Florida, answered the call with a renovated power plant.  Completed at a cost of $47 million, it includes SCADA and a backup system capable of covering all electrical loads for 120 hours, without refueling, in the event of an outage.
   The busiest of four VA polytrauma facilities in the nation, Haley Hospital serves a four-county area and four outpatient clinics. It has 548 beds, plus another 118 beds in an on-site long-term care and rehabilitation facility.    
   The hospital’s former backup power system included nine on-site generators, yet it could only cover life-safety loads — 45 percent of the hospital’s total load — in the event of a utility outage. With seven 13,200-VAC Caterpillar diesel generators that produce 2,200 kW each, the new backup system covers every load for nine buildings, 15 trailers that make up an on-campus clinic, and a parking garage .
   Very important to the power control system upgrade is the Russelectric SCADA system, which includes software and screen displays customized for the hospital’s needs. In addition to monitoring power quality, the SCADA system includes continuous monitoring of fuel consumption by each generator and the level of fuel in every tank.  A dynamic one-line diagram display uses color to indicate the status of the entire power system, including the positions of all power switching devices.  
   Thanks to the new system’s capability for closed-transition transfer, the monthly backup generators tests inconvenience no one. Because there is no interference with hospital loads, there is no power interruption.

posted:  8/13/2012