DCC helping keep the lights on at CFS Alert

The new generator arrived successfully in Alert the week of April 23, 2018.
The new generator arrived successfully in Alert.

When one of the critical generators fails at the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world, getting it replaced is no mean feat. But DCC recently pulled it off with a successful team effort by all partners involved.

CFS Alert, on the northeastern tip of Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, relies entirely on jet fuel-powered generators for its electricity. When one of those generators had a catastrophic failure in the late summer of 2017—at the same time as another was undergoing a scheduled rebuild—DCC got the call to replace it.

A true team effort by DCC staff across various service lines and our partners quickly got a contract in place to purchase a new generator, says Nathan Koutroulides, Technical Specialist, Project Management, from DCC Trenton, who oversaw the $2.5-million project. What made it possible was the strong capabilities of team members, he explains, and clear lines of communication—about what the task was, how we were going to do it and the nature of the emergency.

Then, after Koutroulides arranged a technical evaluation trip for local 86 ASU Electrical Generation systems Technicians to visit the manufacturer in Austin, Texas, to make sure the new generator functioned properly, came the challenge of getting it from the Deep South to the Far North.

The 15,000-kg machine first travelled to 8 Wing Trenton by truck, arriving in mid-December. The generator was broken down into three separate parts to be crated and prepared for air lift. The next stage of the journey involved a trip by C-130J military transport to Alert, with refuelling stops in Yellowknife, Iqaluit and Resolute.

This was easier said than done, Koutroulides says, since there was a wait before an aircraft and crew could be spared from other operational requirements to make the trip. In addition, the weather—which is known to prevent aircraft from landing for several days or more—had to clear.

The new generator finally arrived in Alert on March 29, 2018, and is being prepped for installation.


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