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Enspec Wins Point-on-Wave Switching Project for 'Strength of the Wind' Offshore Wind Farm

Power quality engineering specialists, Enspec Power Limited, today announced a new contract to provide Point-on-Wave switching relays for shunt reactors, and to conduct a grid compliance system study for the Neart na Gaoithe wind farm

The Neart na Gaoithe wind farm is situated in the outer Firth of Forth, 30 km north of Torness on the Scottish east coast. The development is designed to deliver 450 MW of power to the national grid – enough to supply every home in Edinburgh - and will use four Point-on-Wave (P-o-W) switching devices to allow for regular switching of the shunt reactors and to avoid inrush currents and DC offsets. The offshore wind farm is connected to inland systems (and ultimately the national grid) via huge cables. The shunt reactors are needed to compensate for these offshore cables.

Enspec was chosen by engineering consultants, EDF Renewables, to deliver the £80k P-o-W switching system because it could conduct the system study, design and build the switching system as a single project. Rob Mitchell, Senior Electrical Engineer at EDF Renewables, explained; “£80k is a tiny proportion of the overall investment in this project, but the work Enspec is doing is vital to making it a success. Using Point-on-Wave technology provides increased operational flexibility, and increases the lifespan of circuit breakers and other electrical assets while ensuring grid code compliance”

The contract was placed on 20th June, and the switch panels were delivered to the test site during October with installation and commissioning planed for Q1 2021. The circuit design is unique with the inclusion of IEC 61850 communications capability for integration with a SCADA process control system.

Grid code compliance is always an issue for wind farms because of the complex switching requirements, and Enspec has built a strong reputation for analysing, modelling and designing wind farm switching systems. Enspec director, Tim Rastall, said; “It's important to model switching at an early stage, otherwise you can store up delays for later in the project. We're increasingly carrying out studies early in projects, and also integrated analysis, design and build projects, such as the Neart na Gaoithe wind farm.”

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