Generators are used as back-up power supplies and are mostly powered by either gas or diesel.

Diesel generators play a vital role in the power grid. All the power that comes into our buildings comes to us with the help of prime power generation. Prime power generation is when the main power station sends the source to our smaller local power grids which then send the power to individual buildings through power lines.

When we are thinking about larger power stations where this process begins, different power stations work in different ways – some gaining their energy from fossil fuels, some from hydroelectric energy generated through dams, some through the reactions created within nuclear power stations and some from the energy generated by wind turbines. The most common ways for power to be generated is through nuclear energy and the burning of fossil fuels. There are some instances, however, when these power sources cannot be relied on, particularly in emergencies. During emergency situations, there is a need for a standby source of power, and this is where generators come in. Generators are used as back-up power supplies and are mostly powered by either gas or diesel.

Diesel Generators as a Back-Up Power Supply

The process of prime power generation is one that works for the vast majority of the time, however, it is important to always have a back up so that vital services that need power can still be supplied. On occasion, the power grid can become overpowered, and this is where emergency diesel generators kick in to help provide power to businesses, services and residential areas. Usually, when the prime power generation is down, diesel generators are relied on for periods of time from 8 hours up to around 24 hours at a time.

Diesel generators can run for longer, but any longer than 24 hours means that a large number of resources would be needed to power this for this length of time.

Another use for Diesel Generators within the power grid is to top-up the power grid during peak periods. During this time, the generator will work with the prime power generation to ensure that there is enough power.

Diesel Generators As The Main Power Source

Diesel Generators can also be used in areas that do not have a connection to the power grid. This can include construction sites where power lines have not yet been established, or in remote locations. When one generator is not large enough to supply the amount of power required, diesel generators can be connected in a parallel formation – this is known as synchronising. Synchronising your generators will give you a large power source.

How do Diesel Generators Work?

Diesel engines inside the generators create an AC current by spinning an alternator. Most diesel generators will be in a stand-by mode for the majority of the time, and usually have a feature known as a transfer switch. A transfer switch inhibits the generator from being connected when the mains supply is working well, to stop the generator from being overwhelmed, which can potentially lead to fires.

When the Diesel Generator is used as the main power source, it is usually described as being in ‘island mode’.


Diesel generators are a vital part of a power grid, they help prevent large-scale power loss. While maintaining prime power generation sources is vital, it is also reassuring to know that diesel generators are there are a reliable back-up option if required. Many businesses and services also have their own backup generators, and those not connected to the main power grid will also utilize diesel generations as their main source of power. Diesel generators keep things up and running when challenges arise.