Irish companies expand to supply U.S. power industry

Sinead Lonergan, Enterprise Ireland

When it comes to deregulated energy markets, the Irish have seen it all before, and they are bringing their experience to the United States. In recent years, several Irish suppliers have opened offices here, and are working with a growing number of North American utilities to develop solutions to an industry undergoing rapid change.

Irish companies have been supplying the deregulated world power market for the last decade, as they grew beyond the relatively small Irish energy market. In the process, they gained extensive experience in the deregulated markets of the UK, Europe, Australia and Asia. Now they are basing new operations here in the United States, providing sales and support, and partnering with American companies who are interested in reaching the world. “Our main focus today is to continue to provide cost effective & efficient construction management & plant maintenance solutions for our customers operating in the global power industry, on the full range of high speed rotating equipment,” according to Earl Saville, U.S. Operations Manager for Shanahan Engineering.

This expanding role of the Irish in the U.S. power industry is due in part to the ability of these small- to medium-sized companies to be flexible and creative in their approach to challenges in the changing U.S. market. They also offer a diverse ability in languages and geographic understanding that makes them nimble partners in the world markets.

“We are applying globally proven technology to provide substation automation and asset management solutions to help U.S. utilities meet their growing requirements for real-time information from their T&D networks,” said Denis O’Connor, CEO of Microsol.

Several Irish-based companies with operations in the U.S. include:

“- Microsol Inc.–Utility Information Systems (http://www.microsol.com), Minneapolis, supplies a range of information, communications and automation products for T&D networks. Modern IT solutions are combined with traditional plant monitoring to open up access to real time information. The product range covers all types of plant environment, communications media and protocols.

“- LeT Systems (www.letsys.com) with U.S. offices in Pittsburgh, Penn., is a leading provider of network operations software to the global utility industry. With headquarters based in Ireland and offices in the U.K. and North America, LeT has been in operation since 1992, delivering software strong on industry relevance and daily business process improvement. Their core product includes outage management and workforce management solutions and mission critical tools such as network modeling, customer contact management, and regulatory reporting.

“- SupaRule Systems Ltd (www.suparule. com) supplies Ultrasonic cable height measurements, currently being distributed by Megger Inc. of Texas. The SupaRule Series of cable height meters utilizes ultrasonic sound to determine the height of up to six overhead cables and wires. Inherently safe, as there is no contact with wires, it is a fast, accurate way to measure distance from ground to overhead cables. Applications include height measurement of distribution lines/transmission lines, telephone lines/cable television, street lighting, sag (lowest point to ground), and clearances on construction sites. The unit also provides a safer way to measure cable heights on highly congested roadways.

“- SIFCO Turbine Group (www.sifco.ie), Minneapolis, Minn., is a division of SIFCO Industries Inc (Amex-SIF), which brings its manufacturing and repair operations experience together to provide an after-market service for the power generation industry. Well known for its reputation in aerospace and power industries, SIFCO has the latest in repair and coating technologies to service the needs of owners, operators and service providers. Refurbishing the critical high temperature components is the cost driver delivered by SIFCO. From facilities in Minneapolis and from Ireland, SIFCO can provide services for small and large turbines.

“- Shanahan Engineering (www.shanahaneng.com), Orlando, Fla., is a leading engineering service company operating primarily in the power and oil & gas sectors, providing construction management, operation & maintenance and technical field services to a blue chip client base (GE, MHI, Alstom, Toshiba, EDF, SWPC, Marubeni, DFD and Reliant). They install, commission, operate, maintain and provide training services on the full range of high speed rotating equipment. This year they will complete the installation of the world’s first and largest industrial gas turbine, as construction management contractor, on a GE Frame 9H unit as part of the Baglan Bay 480 MW combined cycle facility in the UK. In the U.S., they are also supporting many F & G class gas turbine installations, as technical advisors and construction engineers during plant installation and commissioning. In the UK, Shanahan Engineering is maintenance manager on over 2000 MW of operating plant, responsible for long-term service of both gas and steam turbines.

“- Roco North America (www.rocona.com), Scottsdale Ariz., distributes an Irish-made pole erector which picks, carries, and positions utility poles with a hydraulic grip, using a skid-steer loader or a tractor loader backhoe. The equipment is versatile and can be mounted on low-cost vehicles and allows pole planting in the most difficult positions. A crew of three using the pole erector can safely install most poles in about 20 minutes. The Roco pole erector has been tried, tested and proven by PG&E, AEP, Duke Power among others.

“- SELC (www.selc.ie), Co., Mayo, Ireland, offers a range of highly reliable and sophisticated electronic controllers and timing devices tailored to the public lighting sector. SELC was established in 1982 and in the last 20 years, the company has grown to become the world leader in the design, development and manufacture of lighting control systems. Their product range includes state-of-the-art photocell devices, for switching lighting on or off depending on the prevailing daylight levels as well as user-friendly timing devices that automatically adjust switching times according to inbuilt software algorithms.

For additional information, Lonergan is available at 212-371-3600 or via e-mail at sinead.lonergan@enterprise-ireland.com.

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