The beginning of a trend

Welcome to “Cut the Copper.” In this blog, we’ll discuss the topic of power distribution in data centers. For now, let’s just get acquainted.

03/20/2012



One evening back in January [2012], around midnight, I was brushing my teeth in preparation for bedtime in a hotel room in New Jersey. I was startled by a call on my cell phone, from a young man who identified himself as a project manager for a contractor building a data center in Texas. He sounded agitated, and said that during commissioning activities at the site that day, two 2.5 MVA VPI dry-type MV substation transformers catastrophically blew up when switched by an upstream vacuum breaker at 25 kV. He asked if I’d ever heard of such a thing before.

I said, “Yes, indeed, Paul (not his real name), maybe at least a hundred times by now…I’ve had 35 years of experience with the phenomenon, and know it well…”

After reflecting on the problem at this particular site, and the complete turmoil into which it threw the project completion schedule, and the instant disintegration of that construction team - innocent and unwitting contractors, Owners, consulting engineers, suppliers, who suddenly became each other’s adversaries, after working together cohesively for months - I decided to write an article, relating my own experiences about such events.

I blasted out a very long paper, words gushing out my head, and sent it into Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine. What I wrote was so lengthy, it came out more like a book than any sort of a “paper.” The editors were interested in the story, but obviously couldn’t publish an article that would triple the thickness of the issue it was published in.

The article had a working title New Trends In Major Power Distribution In Large Data Centers, and the Rebirth of the “Loadcenter” Unit Substation Concept. By no means a great title, but it needed to be called something.

The editors of CSE and I agreed that we would break this story down into series of blogs over a period of months, and publish online, instead of in print. There will be links included to related photos and videos and IEEE white papers.

The first installment will be coming soon. It will be strongly opinionated and controversial, and I expect that knowledgeable people and good engineers who have studied the problem will both agree and disagree with those opinions.



Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
2017 MEP Giants; Mergers and acquisitions report; ASHRAE 62.1; LEED v4 updates and tips; Understanding overcurrent protection
Integrating electrical and HVAC for energy efficiency; Mixed-use buildings; ASHRAE 90.4; Wireless fire alarms assessment and challenges
Integrated building networks, NFPA 99, recover waste heat, chilled water systems, Internet of Things, BAS controls
Transformers; Electrical system design; Selecting and sizing transformers; Grounded and ungrounded system design, Paralleling generator systems
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; VFDs in high-performance buildings
Tying a microgrid to the smart grid; Paralleling generator systems; Previewing NEC 2017 changes
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
2017 MEP Giants; Mergers and acquisitions report; ASHRAE 62.1; LEED v4 updates and tips; Understanding overcurrent protection
Integrating electrical and HVAC for energy efficiency; Mixed-use buildings; ASHRAE 90.4; Wireless fire alarms assessment and challenges
Integrated building networks, NFPA 99, recover waste heat, chilled water systems, Internet of Things, BAS controls
Transformers; Electrical system design; Selecting and sizing transformers; Grounded and ungrounded system design, Paralleling generator systems
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; VFDs in high-performance buildings
Tying a microgrid to the smart grid; Paralleling generator systems; Previewing NEC 2017 changes
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
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