Weekly Intelligence Brief: March 22 – 29, 2015

Enel Green Power starts Little Elk construction

The Little Elk wind project, located in Kiowa and Washita Counties, Oklahoma, is adjacent to the company’s 150 MW Rocky Ridge wind farm. The group currently operates three wind farms in Oklahoma, for a total installed capacity of 534 MW.

By Ritesh Gupta

Enel Green Power starts Little Elk construction

Enel Green Power North America has initiated the construction phase of a new 74 MW wind farm in Oklahoma in the U. S. The wind farm is expected to be online by the end of 2015.

The parent company, Enel Green Power, has marked an investment worth $130m to construct the Little Elk wind project.

The plant is supported by a 25 year-power purchase agreement with People’s Electric Cooperative of Oklahoma.

The Little Elk wind project, located in Kiowa and Washita Counties, Oklahoma, is adjacent to the company’s 150 MW Rocky Ridge wind farm. The group currently operates three wind farms in Oklahoma, for a total installed capacity of 534 MW.

The company is also constructing a further 350 MW of wind capacity in the State. In July last year, the company had signed a capital contribution agreement for about $400m with a consortium led by J.P. Morgan.

The consortium committed to funding the 150 MW Origin wind project located in Garvin, Murray and Carter counties in Oklahoma and the 200 MW Goodwell project in Texas County, Oklahoma and Hansford County, Texas.

Boost for wind power development in Vietnam

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency has strengthened its support for wind power in Vietnam as the entity confirmed its decision to fund a feasibility study for Phase III of the Bac Lieu Wind Farm.

The agency last week awarded a feasibility study grant to Cong Ly Construction-Trade-Tourism Company to develop a 300MW wind power project in Vietnam. The plan is to assess technical challenges that arise from an offshore location.

The study will include a wind resource and energy assessment, a review of permitting and land control issues, an electrical grid interconnection and foundation design, construction cost estimates, and a financing plan.

To its credit, Cong Ly, a private sector firm, operates the only near-offshore wind project in the country.

Commercial operation for Phase I of the Bac Lieu Wind Farm initiated in August 2013. It features 10 U.S.-manufactured wind turbines from General Electric that generate approximately 16 MW of power. Only few months back, Cong Ly finalised a deal for over 50 General Electric turbines with financing from Ex-Im Bank for Phase II of the Bac Lieu Wind Farm.

BOEM issues first wind energy research lease

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has executed a wind energy research lease with the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME).

This is BOEM’s first executed wind energy research lease.

Under this lease, DMME proposes to design, develop and demonstrate a grid-connected, 12 MW offshore wind test facility on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) off the coast of Virginia – adjacent to the Virginia Wind Energy Area (WEA).

The data collected under this research lease will help in understanding the wind potential, weather and other conditions relevant to standing up wind power generation offshore Virginia.

The data obtained and lessons learned from this project will be made publicly available and inform the future production of renewable energy within the WEA.

Attempt being made to combat faults in offshore cables

A new research project has been initiated in order to work out a system which would identify and prevent high voltage insulation faults in subsea power cables for offshore wind farms.

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is a partner in this project, which is being funded by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) Offshore Wind Component Technologies Development and Demonstration Scheme.

The University’s lecturer and researcher Dr Alistair Reid will work with High Voltage Partial Discharge (HVPD), Alstom Grid, and the University of Strathclyde on the nine-month project.

As per the information available, GCU is receiving £56,000 of grant funding to propose new diagnostic solutions to on-line HVDC cable monitoring. For its part, HVPD plans to work on a condition monitoring system for HVDC networks for application to both HVDC converters and HVDC cables, including offshore wind farm export cables.

Considering the fact that new HVDC cables and converter systems are being planned or installed, it is important to assess the cost of failure, too. Online condition monitoring of these systems will be vital going forward. And with this project, the plan is to offer an early warning system against incipient electrical and thermal insulation faults. This way offshore wind farms will be able to apply direct preventative maintenance interventions.

GCU’s Dr Reid shared that the facilities are going to be used to apply different types of voltage stressing to cable insulation, interpret the signals and propose new solutions to predicting failures before they occur.

Siemens strengthens ties with Rhyl Flats Wind Farm

Siemens has strengthened its association with Rhyl Flats Wind Farm, 50.1% owned by RWE, to continue providing service and maintenance at the Rhyl Flats wind farm off the coast of North Wales. Siemens offshore service personnel for Rhyl Flats are based at an O&M base built at the Port of Mostyn.

Siemens, which has been offering service and maintenance for the 25 SWT-3.6-107 turbines at Rhyl Flats since the project became operational in 2009, bagged the new contract for the next 15 years. The project comprises 25 wind turbines and has a maximum installed capacity of 90MW.

This deal is the first instance where Siemens has signed a first 15-year post-warranty offshore service extension, and extends the term through the lifecycle of the turbines.

This facility is one of 12 offshore wind projects in which Siemens is providing expert service and maintenance for in Great Britain.

Onshore construction activity starts in Norfolk

Dudgeon Offshore Wind has shared that work has started in Norfolk to install the underground cables and construct the substations.

This would eventually pave way for electricity to be produced by the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm to be distributed into the UK National Grid electricity network. The project will be located 20 miles off the coast of Cromer in North Norfolk.

Two underground cables will run from Weybourne on the North Norfolk coast to Necton, near Swaffham where the new electricity substations are to be built to facilitate the connection to the National Grid. At 47km in length, these will be the longest underground onshore cables yet to be installed in the UK for an offshore wind farm, stated the company.

Carillion is the contractor responsible for undertaking the cable construction and installation. It is expected that the work is completed by late 2015/early 2016.

At the same time, two separate substations are being built on a site adjacent to the A47 highway near Necton in the Breckland district of Norfolk. Siemens Transmission and Distribution is constructing the Dudgeon Offshore Wind substation into which the two underground cables will be connected, while National Grid will be constructing and commissioning its own new facility alongside the Dudgeon substation.

The majority of the substation construction activities will be completed by April next year, but testing and commissioning will continue until November 2016.

The team expects to deliver electricity generated by the first operational wind turbine to the National Grid during the first quarter of 2017.

GROW:OffshoreWind gains £1m extension

An initiative is being taken in the U. K. to extend the support for manufacturers to help them in capitalising on investment in supply chain infrastructure.

The GROW:OffshoreWind programme has been granted a six-month extension as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Over £1m of funding has been budgeted to help more organisations by offering specialist support on developing sales strategy, processes and exploring new technologies.

It has also emerged that companies looking to break into or increase market share in offshore wind will be assigned a specialist Advisor and can then tap into grants of up to £10,000 to help with improvement projects.

GROW:OffshoreWind is delivered by Grant Thornton and programme partners the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), Renewable UK and the University of Sheffield.

Milestone for Hitachi’s 5MW turbine

Hitachi is in news for installing its first 5MW offshore turbine. The Tokyo-based company now plans to commission and start testing its turbine this summer.

The company has been working on its first 5-MW wind turbine, HTW5.0-126, at Kamisu in Ibaraki Prefecture. The turbine uses Hitachi’s own downwind configuration to reduce the wind load during high winds and electric power loss. The incorporation of a newly developed permanent magnet synchronous generator and a medium-speed gearbox make the overall system lighter.

A major feature of the HTW5.0-126 is that the rotor is located on the downwind side of the tower. This configuration ensures high reliability in environments such as Japan, where typhoons are frequent, even during power outages on the grid.

According to the company, since the large rotor required for higher wind turbine capacity means greater bending, locating the rotors on the downwind side eliminates the risk of bending causing the rotor to collide with the tower, facilitating the adoption of larger rotor diameters by minimising the restrictions associated with longer rotor blades. Furthermore, the clearance between the blades and tower increases with increasing wind speed on a downwind turbine.