Scottish Power/Community Windpower
Location: Aikengall Windfarm, Dunbar
Storage Use: Renewable energy switchgear housing
Wind power is becoming an increasingly important energy source for the UK, as the Government strives to achieve its target of meeting 20% of the UK’s electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020. When Community Windpower Ltd, a leading UK windfarm developer, constructed Aikengall Windfarm near Edinburgh, it worked closely with Scottish Power to establish electricity connections to and from the site and to source bespoke equipment housings for the essential substation switchgear.
Scottish Power worked with switchgear solutions provider Lounsdale Electric to supply the substation buildings, requesting that they use equipment housings supplied by its tried and trusted supplier, Portastor.
John Gray, Programme Manager at Scottish Power, says: “We have used Portastor equipment housings for more than ten years on our conventional substation sites and we know that they provide the quality of building we demand. This was the first time we had asked Portastor to supply switchgear housings for a windfarm and the buildings had to be individually designed to fulfil this new application.”
By collaborating with Lounsdale and Scottish Power, Portastor was able to adapt its building design to meet the precise requirements of the new windfarm. Cable access and egress points and emergency exits were positioned precisely to suit the requirements of the windfarm switchgear. Two 33kV housings
were supplied for the windfarm, used for controlling the power supply into the site. One houses Scottish Power’s switchgear and the other Community Windpower’s control panels and switchgear.
A third 33kV switchgear housing was supplied for the nearby Dunbar substation, where the windfarm is connected to the National Grid. By choosing a compact, self-contained equipment housing from Portastor, Scottish Power was able to clear a quarter-acre compound on its substation site and replace it
with a single 35m2 building. Currently, Aikengall Windfarm operates 16 turbines, generating 48MW of clean electricity for around 35,000 homes in the local area. There are plans for future expansion, and Portastor designed its switchgear housings so that they could easily be adapted to cater for greater capacities.
Like all Portastor equipment housings, these buildings were manufactured, fitted out with third-party equipment and tested off-site, before being delivered to the windfarm for rapid installation and connection – providing a complete consultation to commissioning service. They are the ideal solution for remote or difficult-to-access sites where conventional bricks-and-mortar construction can be difficult and hazardous. Off-site manufacture also removes all construction work from the operational site and provides assured-quality buildings, manufactured under carefully controlled conditions.
Roy Wood, Managing Director of Community Windpower, is delighted with the Portastor solution. He says: “We are particularly pleased with the containerised substation which provides an environmentally sound and sustainable solution to windfarm grid connections; particularly as the locations are generally inhospitable and schemes always run into bad weather. The fact that the electrical fit out is carried out in a factory and pre-tested will greatly improve the quality of the finished product and the time and money benefits are valuable to all parties.”
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