Behind the Scenes: Generating Power

Fgallery6-2With this blog, we like to give you a more complete sense of ThorpeWood – the many ways that you can be involved with ThorpeWood, and a “behind the scenes” look into the inner workings of a nature preserve of this size.  Today we thought we would share with you some details of our recent Alban Cat semi-annual service.

Now, our Alban Cat semi-annual service of our generators is not terribly exciting, but it is a necessary part of insuring that events at ThorpeWood go off without a hitch no matter what is happening to our stream of electrical power coming from the grid.  We can continue to operate, albeit under limited power, and generally guests and visitors will not know the difference.

Generators are basically car engines with a generator attached that produces a certain amount of AC volts. Our Lodge generator is 25 KW (kilowatt) and can provide 100 amps of serviceable electricity. These engines can be operated on diesel, gasoline, propane, or natural gas.  Our generators are propane. The service performed is much as you would have done routinely on your vehicle: oil is changed; coolant checked and topped off; temperature gauges checked; hoses and belts inspected; belt tension checked; fuel lines inspected; and battery condition checked.  Some inspection items are specific to the AC generation and differ from our routine car or truck inspections that can be found on site – engine oil heater checked for proper operation; AC output checked; starter for automatic power failure tested; and generator is operated under load to simulate a power outage.


Our generators are automatically exercised weekly.  Every Wednesday morning at 7 am, the Lodge generators automatically simulate a power outage by starting and running for 20 minutes.  Our property manager, Scott Slonaker, is present every Wednesday to make sure that the exercise occurs without incident. However, should a problem happen, there is a basic diagnostic panel that identifies the cause of the failure.  Service may be required and the beauty of weekly exercising of the generator is that we can schedule the repairs while we still have power and before a real power failure occurs.


Being as remote as we are and with electrical service coming to our facilities via overhead wires carried on poles and the many opportunities for trees to come across the lines …having generator service is a basic requirement for life here at ThorpeWood.


So there you have it – a behind the scenes look at how we make sure the power is always able to flow up here on the mountain.  You have probably never thought about that aspect of daily life here at ThorpeWood.  We sure hope you enjoyed the perspective!