Sunday morning, 12th August - Bingo - full house on Gareth's turbine progress board. All the planning and the hard work of the construction and turbine teams has delivered this critical stage of the project - bang on time.
The heavy crane and transport containers parked up at Stronachullin, and ready to leave site.
PowerSystems back on site, and inside the towers over the weekend.
Monday morning - All the turbines safely up, Larry Griffin and Palle Holmager of Vestas continue with the turbine erection and commissioning process, including the "paper work".
Tuesday morning - Our Customer visits the site. Allt Dearg is contracted to sell all our exported power over a number of years to SmartestEnergy. SmartestEnergy is the UK’s leading purchaser of energy generated by the independent sector. They are not a well known domestic supplier, but are a business electricity supplier to large industrial and commercial organisations. They are owned by Marubeni Corporation of Japan.
The vital backroom team who will turn our MWhs into £s - Josephine, Gill and Sarah from Ipswich, Stephen McInally and Iain Robertson, our point of contact Generation Sales Manager who is based in Glasgow.
The view from Loch Caolisport.
The reason the turbines are the colour they are.
Sparky' spoor! Cable cuttings outside T1.
Steve of PowerSystems, up from Somerset to help with the hundred odd heavy cable connections that need to be made up between the HV and LV connections to the transfomers and switchgear inside the turbine towers. PowerSystems have two "sparky" crews on site working between the turbines and substation.
3 - phases HV coming up from the basement transformer.
Incomers out to the farm distribution network.
Bolted joint in the tower basement between the foundation can and the bottom tower section. Each nut postion marked, and details of who, when and to what torque (tighteness) the joint has been made. By comparison your car wheel nuts should be torqued to about 120 NM.
Kyle of PowerSystems, back on site after a few weeks away, standing by the transfomer in the base of T3, which steps the LV generator output of 690V up to 33,000V, the same voltage as it will be exported via the substation to SSE's local distribution grid. The HV connections to the switchgear are still to be made up to the front terminals (Kyle's arm is sitting on a HV terminal).
This is a solid resin type transformer, with no great tub of oil to catch on fire and provide great propoganda photos for the anti-wind lobby.
The "iron" core is blue and the electrical windings are encased in the brow resin "tubes".
The three (one for each phase) double input LV connections going into the transformer from the generator. Note the transformer core (the blue bit) is made up of many thin steel plates laminated together, these are insulated from each other. This design helps reduce the eletrical losses (heat) due to Eddy currents. The roof above the transformer is the deck at door level that supports the switchgear and ground controller (brain).
Cable ladders support the cables coming up through the foundation floor. Green / Yellow earth wires tied together on the common earth bar (the bit we forgot when we poured the concrete). When the turbine is "live", this basement area has no access and is secured with a clever system of interlocking hatch / switchboard keys.
Looking up from the basement through the interlocked hatchway, the LV cables coming down from the nacelle are fixed to the tower wall.
Lifting beam, and view up the tower. Local power for lighting is being provided by a small petrol powered generator outside the tower.
12 Up. Very windy at the top.
Grass seeding is working pretty well to restore the track side vegetation. The access road is still very visible from Loch Gilp, Loch Fyne and Loch Caolisport. A winter of weathering will help, and the vegetation restoration will be helped on its way with the local application of farm slurry and seed next Spring (April 2013).
Wednesday - Mark Lewis of PowerSystems UK, commissioning the G59/2 protection settings on the combined SSE / Allt Dearg HV breaker switch. Mark's clever box of tricks mimics a range of fault conditions (over / under voltage, frequency, etc) and tests to ensure the breaker switch senses the faults correctly and breaks the circuit. These certified tests are required prior to SSE connecting up the HV export connection.
Alan Knight, the project electrical engineer with NPC, and Tom Hainey, our new Resident Engineer from NPC, progressing the fine details at Stronachullin.
Our freshly Knighted Trustee of the Allt Dearg Educational Trust visits the substation. Professor Sir Jim McDonald is Principal of Strathclyde University and knows a thing or two about electricty and Higher Education. Jim has a long family association with Stronachullin, and together with three other local Trustees has very kindly agreed to take on the supervision of the Educational Trust, funded by the wind farm. The Trust aims to encourage more local young people into Higher Education. The Trust will be open for business in 2013, once the wind farm is up and running.