Upgrading Shore Power Supply for the Royal Australian Navy


The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) needed to replace the existing Ship’s Shore Connection Panels with new, higher capacity panels that could handle a rating of 1600 Amps. The existing shore power infrastructure was not meeting the Navy’s operational needs and required rectification.


McKay, a company known for their successful shore power upgrade work on HMNZS Canterbury, was selected by the RAN for this project. McKay proposed a solution to address the shore power deficiencies, which the RAN accepted and implemented.

The proposed solution involved replacing the existing 4 Shore Power Boxes with 4 larger capacity units. Additionally, the main distribution system needed to be upgraded to accommodate the increased power capacity.

To ensure the effectiveness and reliability of the upgraded system, comprehensive testing was conducted. The first shore Box was tested in a controlled environment with temperatures between 45 and 50 degrees Celsius. McKay ran 1600 Amps through the Shore Boxes for 8 hours, using 2 Megawatts of generation and 1.5 Megawatts of load bank. The heat rise was closely monitored using wireless temperature sensors placed at different sections of the panel.


The testing showed that the upgraded Shore Connection Panels could effectively handle the 1600 Amp rating without any significant increase in internal temperatures. Further tests were conducted to evaluate the impact of disconnecting fans on the internal temperature of the panels. It was found that when both fans were operational, the internal temperatures were close to ambient, ensuring the reliability of the system.

Following the successful testing and implementation of the initial scope, McKay completed and installed an additional 6 Shore Connection Panels. Additionally, 6 Distribution Centers were upgraded to accommodate the increased capacity of the 1600 Amp shore supply.

The project was completed within the scheduled maintenance period and allocated budget. The upgraded shore power supply infrastructure provided the Royal Australian Navy with the necessary electrical power to meet its operational needs, ensuring the smooth functioning of their ships and operations.