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Building a solid renewables business

Published:  10 February, 2014

ODEE spoke with Alf Scambler, Renewable Sector Development Manager at Aggreko Northern Europe about Aggreko’s emergence as the leading supplier of temporary power and temperature control systems for the worldwide renewable energy sector.

Aggreko, the world’s leading provider of temporary power and temperature control solutions is rapidly establishing itself as a key supplier to the renewable energy industry. From providing construction power to on-shore wind farms, to producing electricity from agricultural biogas, the Glasgow based company is building a solid renewables business across its global operations.

“Renewables is a really exciting sector for us in terms of the growth we are seeing and the innovative and often challenging ways in which our equipment is being used to help bring an increasing number of renewable energy projects on-line”, commented Alf Scambler, Renewable Sector Development Manager, Aggreko Northern Europe.

While the company has been developing its offerings across the full spectrum of the renewables, it’s with wind farms where the biggest growth has been seen. Aggreko provides support services across the full life-cycle of both on and offshore wind farms, from construction and commissioning to onward operations and maintenance.

“There is tremendous scope for our products and services within the wind energy sector. We have invested heavily in designing and building a dedicated fleet of equipment specifically for on and off-shore applications, as well as building a dedicated and highly trained team of engineers and technicians to work in this specialised area.”

During the recent construction of a 288 MW project off the coast of Germany, Aggreko supplied 80 individual 60 kVA generators that were installed on each of the farm’s 80 turbine masts. As there was no grid connection in place, the solution provided the power required for safety beacon lighting, internal heaters and dehumidifiers and powered the rotation of the turbines when there was no wind to prevent damage to the bearing mechanism. The solution ensured the equipment remained in peak working order and also satisfied the conditions of the warranty from the turbine manufacturer.

At Aggreko’s manufacturing facility in Dumbarton, Scotland a fleet of high-specification generators suitable for the harsh and highly corrosive environment experienced in these offshore applications has been designed and built. Modifications include certified offshore lifting frames, offshore fire systems, satellite telemetry, 690 volt main alternators with improved insulation and increased weather protection through a specially designed offshore canopy coated in a marine paint specification.

In addition to equipment modifications, a global team of engineers had been trained and accredited specifically for offshore activation so that they can be mobilised to respond rapidly to any new project, no matter where in the world it is located.

Specific Aggreko services to the wind farm sector include:

Shipping and storage:

• Dehumidification of blades and nacelles

• Storage of nacelles- powering heating systems to keen them dry

• Construction:

• Temporary power to run ancillary equipment (safety lighting, oil heaters, turbine rotation and power to the internal heaters and dehumidifiers)

• Temperature control solutions for cable installation, blade balancing and repairs

• Comfort heating / cooling for construction personnel

Substations:

• Temporary power and dehumidification before a substation is connected to the grid ensuring electrical and electronic components are kept healthy

• Power support during network upgrades to keep other users on supply.

• Larger transformers (25MVA) can be provided up to 66kV, should the installed transformers fail or require maintenance, enabling continued export of power to the grid

Pre-commissioning:

• Individual temporary power for turbine assembly and basic testing

Commissioning:

• Preliminary commissioning of auxiliaries and associated equipment prior to main commissioning

• Temporary power and loadbanks for full load testing solutions simulating grid supply to allow turbines to be paralleled with the generators and load tested

• HV power ring main testing for both single and multiple wind turbine start-ups

• Resistive / reactive loadbanks used to stabilise the system and load up the turbines

Ongoing maintenance:

• Comfort heating / cooling for construction personnel

• Temporary power during site transformer or switchgear maintenance shut-down periods or failures. This keeps all installed equipment healthy and enables a swift return to exporting power when the maintenance is complete.

• Fuel management service for power packages

• Temporary dehumidification of blades and nacelles

• Climate control during blade remediation to ensure effective curing of repairs

Aside from wind, Aggreko provides support services for other renewable technologies. Recently the company successfully piloted a mobile generator powered exclusively by agricultural biogas at a commercial dairy farm in the Netherlands. This is the first solution of its kind and allows biogas facilities to bring in temporary generation capacity to maintain power production when on-site generators go offline during maintenance or breakdown.

To achieve this, Aggreko developed a specialised biogas filtration system that allows biogas enabled generators to run on a wide spectrum of varying types of biogas. The solution can run on gas produced at different locations such as agricultural facilities, landfill sites, and waste water and sewage plants.

For tidal and wave energy, Aggreko provides offshore power during planning stages when sea anchor points and cable runs are being identified. Power is also required for laying the cables that connect the production source to the local grid and when equipment is brought into place to operate lifting equipment and remote operated subsea vehicles.

Testing and Commissioning

Common among all renewables, be they onshore of offshore is the need for thorough testing and commissioning. Before a renewable energy source can be connected to the grid, voltage and frequency settings must be set up and tested. Through the use of loadbanks, energy consumption can be simulated in order to test the controls and capacity of the system. Loads can be applied and rejected, and voltage and frequency can be raised and lowered to test the response of equipment. This can be done over a wide range of low and high voltages utilising Aggreko’s extensive transformer fleet.

“The renewables sector is an exciting environment to be working in and we are developing new and innovative solutions on a day to day basis to ease project bottlenecks,” continued Scambler. “With the worldwide drive to bring more sustainable energy sources into the energy generation mix, Aggreko looks forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership with our customers in the renewables sector.”

For more information regarding Aggreko’s services to the renewable energy sector please contact Aggreko at +44 1543 476100

Or visit www.aggreko.com

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