The Support behind the “Power” of the Olympic Games
Aug 05, 2016
Nate Manning

When the final inventory of the power distribution and protection systems that GE is delivering to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is tallied, the numbers will be impressive — 3,000 power backup systems, 65 power transformers and a comprehensive network of electrical distribution equipment (from low-voltage panels to switchgear) all providing power to 32 Olympic Games venues and facilities.

Equally impressive is how all this equipment is being delivered, installed, tested and connected to a centralized power monitoring center in time for the Aug. 5 Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. Having supported the Olympic Games since 2006, GE has learned some valuable lessons about how to deploy comprehensive power systems across multiple sports venues and facilities under a highly compressed timetable.

GE’s Energy Connections Puts Power on Track

Working with fast-track methodologies developed from GE’s FastWorks processes, the company looked at every aspect of this project to make sure every power system would be installed and ready for the Olympic Games.

Even before final specifications were in place, GE shared the depth of data it collected from prior Olympic Games projects with the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee to develop an optimum list of power requirements. This early consultative process saved valuable time upfront, helping to ensure the right technology, system configurations and support services were correctly specified.

Unlike many of GE’s commercial deployments when deadlines sometimes vary, the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games on Aug. 5 is a can’t-be-missed deadline. GE’s expertise in fast-scaling helped it to allocate the right team at the right time and place to quickly test and install equipment as soon as the site or facility was ready.

Meeting the August deadline also involved an extensive training regime for both GE’s services team and its channel partners in Brazil to get the team ready for the quick deployment strategies. 

Olympic Power Insight

At the center of this vast power system is a dedicated power monitoring facility built by GE and staffed by a team of more than 35 GE Energy Connections service experts. The team will monitor 110 large kilovolt-ampere emergency power backup systems used for Olympic Games.

The networked communications between the backup power systems and the monitoring center provides ongoing, real-time status of the equipment’s condition, “alarms” (i.e., system performance that might require maintenance) and/or power “events” (i.e., when the equipment responds to power quality shifts or power failures). This data is constantly analyzed to ensure the GE gear is delivering the power quality and protection required to keep the Olympic Games up and running.

Power distribution and protection standards are often measured by uptime over the course of year. During the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, GE will be measuring its performance every second of every minute. 

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Nate Manning
Nate Manning

Nathan (Nate) Manning is the general manager of global services for GE Energy Connections and has more than 15 years of experience with GE. He leads a team of service professionals that connects the brilliant machines, grids and systems that deliver energy to the people and places that need it most.