SPR’s impressive portfolio of renewable energy developments across the UK and Ireland includes over 40 operational wind farms producing over 2.5GW of power through onshore wind dating back to 1992 and offshore from 2014. The company also develops and operates solar PV and BESS with further ambitious investment and growth plans moving toward Net-Zero.
An ongoing problem
ScottishPower Renewables’ power plants require a grid connection agreement - formally known as the Connection and Use of System Code (CUSC). It is the contractual framework for connecting to and using the National Electricity Transmission System (NETS). A requirement to obtain an agreement is compliance with a set of technical requirements known as the Grid Code (GC) which includes the provision of reactive compensation to cover any shortfall in reactive power capability to maintain effective voltage control.
A number of SPR wind farms employ reactive compensation in the shape of statcoms, shunt reactors and capacitor banks. These expensive capital plant assets, typically connected at the wind farm 33kV distribution level, form an essential part of the network in order to export electricity and generate income. Their safe and continuous operation throughout the wind farm’s design life (typically 25+ years) is paramount, particularly as they operate within some of the harshest environmental conditions.
A perfect solution
In order to consolidate some of the company’s ongoing maintenance programs to safeguard and ensure the longevity of its capital investments, SPR entered into a three-year maintenance framework agreement with Enspec. The agreement covers the annual maintenance of the company’s statcom transformers, shunt reactors and capacitor banks at eight wind farms across Scotland, Northern Ireland and England.
Finding issues before they become problems
Most of the reactive compensation equipment was found to be in good working order. However, an existing statcom transformer already known by SPR to have a fault was quickly lifted and removed from site, fully refurbished and re-installed. The preventive maintenance identified one or two other similar reactor and transformer problems elsewhere that enabled remedial plans to be put into place for year two.
"It was a long time in the making, but it’s great to finally have the maintenance framework agreement up and running with Enspec. It’s tough to put a tangible figure to the return on this ongoing investment, but it provides peace of mind and reduced risk knowing that assets are maintained to the highest standard, with any potential issues highlighted and corrected before they become problems. Suffice to say, in extreme circumstances, failure of this type of equipment could be the difference between operating and not operating a wind farm at an enormous revenue loss. As an operations and maintenance engineer, confidence in the people around you is imperative: Enspec provides just that. Their proactive, professional and consultative approach has become a valued part of the team" - a representative leading the project from ScottishPower Renewables