Loadbanks: A critical component in power system resilience 

In a world that is reliant on power, ensuring the reliability and efficiency of our power systems is paramount. In facilities that demand uninterrupted power supply – critical infrastructure, data centres, hospitals, and industry – loadbanks are employed to simulate load scenarios to test, commission, validate, and maintain crucial power systems. Paul Brickman, Commercial Director at Crestchic Loadbanks, explores how the use of loadbanks will continue to evolve in 2024 and beyond, driven by advancements in technology, increasing demands for sustainability, and the need for resilient and robust power infrastructure.

Energy transition – balancing supply and demand 

While demand for oil and gas looks set to rise before it eventually plateaus in 2031, renewable energy is also on the increase, with global combined solar and wind energy consumption anticipated to grow by approximately 11% each year.  Negotiators at COP28 in December 2023 agreed on commitments to triple renewables capacity and double energy efficiency by 2030 – reaffirming a global commitment to net zero. 

However, the commitment to achieving this target is not without its challenges. The fact that renewable energy supplies are dependent on natural phenomena means that they can be intermittent – resulting in under and oversupplies of electricity to the grid. If the grid is not correctly balanced, the excess voltage can cause damage to electronics connected to the system, while undersupply can cause blackouts.

To overcome issues associated with over and undersupply, levels of power generation – including voltage and frequencies – must be managed so that they are exactly equal to the levels being used. This relies on the National Grid working with various suppliers to manage and implement a frequency demand programme, which helps to mitigate the risks of these fluctuations. This includes having access to additional backup power sources in times of need; an important move both for the grid and – at a more local level – for any facilities where power is business-critical.

In this scenario, loadbanks are used to test the resilience of power systems in the face of fluctuations and intermittent power generation. By simulating varying loads, loadbanks help assess the stability and reliability of power systems that increasingly rely on renewable energy sources, ensuring they can seamlessly integrate into the existing infrastructure.

Loadbanks: Growing demand and reliance on electricity 

Although demand for electricity in Europe and the United States declined in 2023, many emerging and developing economies recorded robust growth that is set to continue through 2026 – causing an overall growth in global demand. While growth itself is indeed a driver, it is not just our consumption levels, but our increased reliance on power that is driving the market. 

As industry, homes and society become more digitalised – and the electrification of transport and heating continues – our reliance on electricity increases. Competition amongst data Centre providers, for example, has driven the expectation of a 100% Uptime Guarantee. The sector isn’t the only one with stringent uptime targets. Hospitals, infrastructure, and businesses must remain fully operational at all times. At the heart of these rigorous service expectations lies a reliance on power. Downtime is not an option. The only way to guarantee constant power is to have backup power systems in place that are correctly commissioned, tested and subject to ongoing maintenance. By subjecting backup power systems to controlled loads, using a loadbank, operators can measure their performance under different conditions, ensuring that they provide uninterrupted backup power if an outage occurs. 

Weather events and power cuts 

In late November 2021, Storm Arwen, described as one of the most powerful winter storms in the last decade, caused extensive damage to energy infrastructure and power cuts to more than one million homes in the UK. Storms Dudley, Eunice, and Franklin in February 2022 also had severe impacts on the UK’s power supply, leading to water shortages in southeastern England during Storm Eunice. Since then, in less than 10 months, storms Agnes, Babet, Ciarán, Debi, Elin, Fergus, Gerrit, Henk, Isha, and Jocelyn have hit the UK. 

While the winter is hit by storms, the summer of 2022 also saw intense heatwaves, with temperatures boosting reliance on air conditioning and power-hungry fans – putting further strain on the grid. This extreme weather is attributed to climate change, underscoring the need to ensure the UK’s energy system is prepared for extreme weather events. 

At a national and global level, ensuring the resilience of the grid requires input and action from policymakers – a process driven by the energy transition itself. However, on a local level, businesses and infrastructure that are reliant on power must start to assess the risk and develop a local power resilience strategy as part of their overall business continuity planning. In most cases, as ongoing growth in the genset market indicates, businesses are indeed investing in backup power to mitigate risk. However, these systems must also be tested, in full, using a loadbank, to ensure true resilience in the event of an outage – making loadbanks a critical part of any contingency plan. 

A growing market for generators 

Loadbanks for Generators






The Global Generator Sales Market Size was valued at USD 27.6 Billion in 2022. It may come as no surprise that the market is growing, and is set to achieve a size of USD 51.7 Billion in 2032 – a CAGR of 6.6% from 2023 to 2032. According to industry analysis, diesel generator sales dominate these figures, with their reputation for efficiency, reliability, and durability making them a popular choice for applications requiring a dependable backup power source, such as data centres, hospitals, and construction sites. As the demand for backup power intensifies, so too does the need for loadbanks – an essential piece of testing kit that plays a crucial role in ensuring that diesel generators work efficiently when called upon. 

Economic growth 

The APAC region is expected to be the fastest-growing economy in 2024. Rapid economic growth often goes hand in hand with increased industrialisation, urbanisation, and infrastructure development. The construction of power plants, transportation systems and other infrastructure requires stable and reliable power sources. Loadbanks are used in these industries to simulate real-world electrical loads, helping to commission, test and maintain the efficiency of power systems.

With the increasing importance of energy security, countries in the APAC region are focusing on diversifying their energy sources. This involves investments in both traditional and renewable energy infrastructure such as solar, wind, and hydropower. As these sources are integrated into the power grid, loadbanks should be used to simulate and test the response of the grid to varying loads and ensure stability.

Regulatory compliance and best practices  

As energy regulations become more stringent, loadbanks are instrumental in helping organisations comply with standards and guidelines. Regular load testing is often mandated by regulatory bodies, electricity providers and industry best practice guidelines to ensure that power systems can meet specified performance criteria. In many cases, the need arises when connecting decentralised or green energy sources to the grid. 

A good example of this is Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS). These industrial-sized battery power stations connect to the grid to store energy and then supply it back to the grid at a more advantageous time – for example, at night, when no solar power is available, or during a weather event that disrupts electricity generation. While loadbank testing is not a mandatory requirement for all BESS installations, the benefits by far outweigh the risks. Using a loadbank enables distribution network operators to energise the new connection line under load to verify the operational integrity of the connection before it is connected to the network; comply with Engineering Recommendation G99; and test BESS system components and connections, including the automatic transfer switches, transformers, and circuit-breakers. 

In 2024, loadbanks continue to be indispensable tools. Their ongoing use is closely tied to the changing landscape of energy generation, the increasing demand for sustainability, and the imperative for resilient infrastructure. As we move forward, the integration of loadbank technologies will be pivotal in ensuring the reliability and resilience of our changing power infrastructure.