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Turnkey & Rental Divisions of the Southern African Caterpillar dealer Barloworld Power help keep the ball in play for South Africa’s FIFA 2010 tournament

Thanks in part to the vision and leadership of South Africa’s first democratic president, Nelson Mandela, his dream of a FIFA Soccer World Cup on African soil has become a reality, and with it the creation of imposing new stadiums that will serve both to host the games, as well as providing a sporting legacy for years to come.

And like the striking and unique architectural statements that now stand ready for the fans, as can be imagined, preparations for such an event – the largest of its kind in the world – have taken years of planning and exacting execution, leaving no room for error. Naturally, the same will be true when millions of people around the globe turn on their TV sets to view their favourite teams battle it out to the final. So whether the fans are in the stands or at home watching, a power failure at any point during the games is not an option.

Nor too is spectator and player safety, which is of paramount importance, making the need for constant, uninterrupted electrical supply absolutely essential: an area where Barloworld Power as the Cat power systems dealer in southern Africa has made its own contribution to ensuring that FIFA 2010 is the best tournament ever.

“The regulating authority, FIFA, has laid down strict compliance standards that are non-negotiable and these aren’t restricted purely to the stadiums, but apply to the overall backup infrastructure which will support this amazing game,” explains Kenny Gaynor, Barloworld Power’s chief executive.

“More specifically this applies to installations such as medical care facilities, police stations and public transport networks that need to operate 24/7, keeping people safe and getting them home.”

Within South Africa’s most populous province of Gauteng, for example, Barloworld Power has been responsible for revamping emergency standby power systems at various medical facilities neighbouring Johannesburg’s Soccer City, the FIFA 2010 stadium which will witness the first opening game of the tournament as well as the final. These include Johannesburg’s Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, the world’s largest such facility, with over 3 200 beds. (Typical installations comprise Cat gensets in the 800 to 1 000 kVA band.)

Those flying into Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) will also have the opportunity to ride on the first recently commissioned section of the Gautrain Rapid Rail System, which is now largely completed.

Considered one of the world’s largest railway projects to date, this sophisticated network, comprising both underground and surface rail sections (running overland and across viaducts) is a true engineering marvel, with Barloworld Power having secured the contract for the installation of generator sets at nine of the stations on the route stretching from ORTIA to Pretoria via Midrand and Hatfield.

For the World Cup, the train service will link stations at Sandton, Marlboro, Rhodesfield and ORTIA, travelling in some instances at speeds up to 180km per hour.

“We cannot have international or local visitors stranded at the various stations during the FIFA World cup should the power go out for some unknown reason,” explains Gaynor. “The Cat gensets we are supplying will ensure that power is maintained at the stations 24/7.”

The same priority will apply during the games themselves and all ten official FIFA 2010 stadiums will run purely on generator sets, with Barloworld Power having secured contracts for fixed plant room installations at two of these venues, namely Cape Town’s Green Point Stadium on South Africa’s Atlantic seaboard, and Limpopo Province’s Peter Mokaba Stadium outside the city of Polokwane. (Both projects also entailed the design and fabrication of the control and synchronisation panels.)

This is in addition to orders for in excess of 100 Cat rental units that will supply power on demand at World Cup related sites that include Fan Parks, plus Park and Ride facilities linked to specified stadiums. Sections of Cape Town’s world famous Victoria & Alfred Waterfront precinct, which neighbours the Green Point stadium, will also derive their prime power from Cat generators during the games.

For all the stadiums, the FIFA requirements are the same, explains Barloworld Power project manager, Jac Hough, who was responsible for the Green Point installation. “When switching to ‘island mode’, the generators power-up about an hour before the actual kick-off time, run continuously during the course of each game, and then for about one hour afterwards,” he explains. Two 2 000 kVA Cat 3516 generator units were specified for Green Point, one of which will run during the games with the other serving as a reserve unit.

Barloworld Power’s contract for the Peter Mokaba stadium in turn entailed the installation of a Cat 3412 (800 kVA) unit and a Cat 3512 (1 600 kVA).

Keeping the lights burning brightly for generations to come, these units at Green Point and Peter Mokaba will continue to perform faithfully, as will Barloworld Power’s and Caterpillar’s growing population of power generation systems across the southern Africa region, providing impetus to socio-economic development in areas that extend to include industrial, commercial, mining and, of course, recreational pursuits. Let the games begin.