Prime Power - Mountain Resort

The Client: Lake Mountain Resort

Caterpillar gensets were provided to power snowmaking machines and expanded to provide prime power for the entire resort.

The Background

February 7, 2009, entered Australian history as Black Saturday when extreme bushfire conditions saw over 400 individual fires reported across Victoria, resulting in the tragic loss of 173 lives and over 2,000 buildings.

The aftermath that followed saw Australians rally to the cause of those effected like never before to rebuild devastated communities across the state.

Marysville, on the heavily forested Great Dividing Range about 80 kilometres from Melbourne, was one such town that was devastated, along with the surrounding bushland that was a Mecca for nature lovers.

As the major provider of accommodation for the region, the Victorian Government realised the implications that substantially reduced tourist traffic would have on the town and moved swiftly to provide funding for upgraded snow making equipment at the nearby Lake Mountain Resort.

Lilydale based Deacam Electrical Contractors specialise in heavy industrial control and automation systems and as a tier one supplier to a number of specialist manufacturers in the ice, water filtration and process industries became involved in the project through their client, Grant Ice.

According to Deacam’s Warren Bradford, the Lake Mountain operator sought expressions of interest from the world’s leading ice machine manufacturers based on a specific volume requirement of 60 tonnes per day – making it the biggest ice maker in Australia and only the second of its size to be installed anywhere in the world.

“Following the tender process Grant Ice was awarded the contract, as according to the operator their locally designed solution was on par with the world’s best, was slightly cheaper and offered a turnkey package that included the ice maker’s design, manufacture, installation, power generation plant and local ongoing support and maintenance.

The Requirement

“Being an extremely remote location, power generation was of critical importance to the operator, as without a reliable power source the affectionately named ‘Yeti’ could not produce the required amount of ice.

“Because of my experience with Cat® gensets over the years working as a sub-contractor to high-end generator specialist company Systems Insight, we only ever considered specifying a Cat in our tender. The support you get on Cat products from Energy Power Systems Australia (EPSA) and the Cat dealer network is second to none.

“Originally our tender included supplying an 800 kVA Caterpillar generator set that was large enough to power all the facilities at Lake Mountain and, while our innovative approach was extremely well received, their budget wouldn’t stretch that far.

“Working closely with Dave Heard at EPSA, once it became apparent that the Cat 800 kVA was out of the
question, Dave came back to us with the option of a Cat-built 450 kVA Olympian GEP450 genset that enabled us to get the price right, while still giving the client the benefit of the ‘yellow pedigree’.

“Another of the operator’s main concerns was the site’s environmentally sensitive nature, so it was very important that the genset was as ‘green’ as possible and that the fuel delivery system to the genset was as robust as possible.


The Solution

“The Olympian offers state-of-the-art engine management technology and EU Stage 2 emissions compliance, making it one of the cleanest gensets on the market. While on the fuel delivery side, we designed a PLC fuel delivery system with fail-safe alarms that enabled us to automatically float feed the Olympian’s 230 litre day tank from the resort’s 10,000 litre main fuel tank.

“Following commissioning of the system the Olympian GEP450 ran for 90 days straight and produced an average of 45 tonnes of ice per day, so that’s just over 4,000 tonnes in total without one single hiccup.

“The Olympian has proved itself to be an unbelievable piece of engineering, and the resort operator was so impressed with its performance, the support that comes with it, and how we handled the entire project that they assigned the service and maintenance of all their gensets – even their non Cat gensets – to Deacam and Cat dealer, William Adams.

“This trust and service support subsequently led to the resort operator asking us to prepare a report on their ageing synchronised generators and the risks associated in the event of a catastrophic failure.

“When the Olympian GEP450 was installed to run the ‘Yeti’ snowmaker, budget constraints meant that there was no way of accessing emergency power from the unit, so we recommended installing a 1,000 amp capacity distribution system that linked two new gensets with the original GEP450.

“This solution enabled the two ageing and extremely complex synchronised gensets to be retired and put the resort staff back in control of their power generation requirements without relying on highly trained and expensive technicians.

“This vastly improved flexibility meant that the resort not only saved money, but was now in a position to guarantee services to its customers and a number of communications companies that buy power from the resort to power their repeaters on the summit via a high voltage link.

“We quoted a number of options for the job, including supplying two Olympian gensets – a 700 kVA GEP700 and an 88 kVA GEP88. In the end the Olympian package was the resort’s first choice, based on the faultless performance of the original GEP450, its quiet operation and the seamless support they had received.

The Results

“We installed the entire system in just five days and it has been running like a top since entering service in May. Lake Mountain now has a power generation plant to meet its current needs and one that is easily expandable in the future if demand increases.

“Plus they now have the added insurance of built in redundancy, with enough capacity to maintain services
even if the 700 kVA Olympian was to be taken off line for any reason.

“Another interesting aspect of the power system upgrade was that we were able to arrange for Alpine XSP to finance the total package, with Lake Mountain paying a power-by-the-hour fee.

“From our point of view, we’ve got EPSA and William Adams to thank for being awarded both contracts, with
their unique approach to business making us feel like we are part of the team, not just a name at the end of
the phone – which made our job considerably easier.

“In fact we would never have contemplated taking on projects of this size without their support as everything we had was on the line. But with EPSA and William Adams behind us we were able to deliver on our outstanding customer service promise.

“From our experience Cat sets itself apart with its focus on solutions and solid support, so the customer is not
left in the lurch.

“So my advice for anyone considering taking on a project that you think might be a little too big or complicated is to choose your supply partners based on their track record. And from our experience you won’t find a better track record than EPSA’s,” Warren said.

Deacam Electrical Contractors

My advice for anyone considering taking on a project that you think might be a little too big or complicated is to choose your supply partners based on their track record. And from our experience you won’t find a better track record than EPSA’s.

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