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Staying safe

by Utilities ME Staff on Oct 15, 2012

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Fire detection and protection systems are needed to prevent severe disruption to power operations. (GETTY IMAGES)
Fire detection and protection systems are needed to prevent severe disruption to power operations. (GETTY IMAGES)

Despite worldwide concern about the environmental impact of traditional power plants, demand for energy continues to grow in line with industrial development and population growth.

As developing countries seek to fuel their economic growth, global demand is expected to increase by 30 percent by the year 2040 over that of 2010.

No two power plants are the same, but all have one thing in common: operational success is seen to be dependent upon the ability to manage risks and provide continuity of supply.

Safeguarding power facilities against the diversity of internal and external safety and security threats calls for an integrated risk management strategy.

Most recently, no region has experienced a greater boom in demand for energy than the Middle East, where the region’s rapid change is a key driver in its current push to maximise efficiency and to pursue sustainable energy goals.

The Lower Gulf Region, comprising the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Yemen, is continuing to invest heavily in critical infrastructure during a challenging time for the power industry, as producers and consumers alike re-think the ways in which energy is produced and used.

Against a background of change in political circumstance and global megatrends such as urbanisation, growing as well as ageing population and climate change, the region is seeking to create ways in which a constant, stable and sustainable supply of power is guaranteed to provide optimal conditions for continued social, political and economic development.

No two power plants are the same, but all have one thing in common: operational success is seen to be dependent upon the ability to manage risks and provide continuity of supply. All facilities carry many different operational, security and fire risks that threaten daily production - such as theft, vandalism, equipment failure, fire, leakage of potentially hazardous materials and deliberate attack.

For, however it is caused, any disruption in the power supply, as well as causing massive inconvenience to possibly millions of people, could have a significant economic impact on the area affected. In such a scenario there will also, of course, be the financial losses to the plant operator, as well as the damage to reputation.

Efficiency is obviously key in meeting the challenge of supply continuity. But as well as making the generation, transmission and distribution of energy as efficient as possible, the effective safeguarding of existing facilities is also critical.

At a time when fossil-fuelled power plants face a greater risk of politically motivated attack and when fires represent 50% of actual losses sustained, safety and security are more important than ever in keeping the region’s operating plants at maximum continuity.

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