The Kimpton Acoustic Engineering team have been busy on site working on the on-shore element of the 950MW Moray East Wind Farm project. Our role is to enclose all three of the 400kV Super Grid Transformers on the project.
The task of the Acoustic Enclosure is an important one. Firstly, it has to reduce the noise to an agreed level for such a remote rural location with low background noise levels, AND the attenuated ventilation built into the enclosure has to keep the transformer within design working temperatures even on hot summer days.
The enclosures themselves are big.
The main part of the transformer is about 8 metres long, 5 metres wide and 5 metres high (not including the HV bushings that protrude from the top, or the dedicated oil cooler bank outside the enclosure) and they weigh around 300 tonnes.
The Kimpton Acoustic Engineering enclosure works so well for this application as it is robustly constructed for a 40year life with minimal maintenance – even in the harshest of weather conditions. Even the enclosure’s ventilation design for this huge 60kW heat rejection has no moving parts to minimise the maintenance requirement.
Our work to build all of the hot dipped galvanised Steel frame structures for the three Acoustic Enclosures is now complete and the fitting of the powder coated acoustic cladding is in progress.
The work of a Supergrid Transformer
The Super Grid Transformers themselves have quite a task too. They are used at the grid connection points to step up (or down) voltage for efficient onward distribution and are a critical part of the power transmission infrastructure across the globe. According to Wikipedia the latest generation of HVDC power lines have become so efficient, they can transmit energy with losses of only 1.6% per 1,000 km!
The vast majority of the UK electricity long distance onshore distribution network operates at high voltages of either 400kV or 275 kV. That’s 400,000 and 275,000 Volts in layman’s terms. The three Super Grid transformers will between them handle all of the 950MW output from the current Moray East Wind Farm that is being constructed off-shore – in parallel to this onshore part of the project. That’s enough power to supply nearly a million kettles for the nation’s favourite brew!
Background to the project
The Moray East Windfarm project is the biggest single construction project currently underway in Scotland. Some of the facts and figures around the project show why this is the case.
In 2016 the project was granted consent to build an offshore wind farm, with the related onshore elements for transmission for a series of turbines that will produce 1,116 Mw. In 2017 a further CfD (Contract for Difference) was awarded for an additional 950MW.
When complete, it will generate enough power to provide for 40% of Scottish energy requirement, enough to power 950,000 homes. In addition, it will save 1.7 million tonnes of CO2.
The total offshore wind farm area is an impressive 295km2
The Maximum turbine blade-tip height is 204m (669 feet)
And it all sits a minimum distance from shore of 22km (13.5 miles)
We’ll have some more pictures as the project progresses, but in the meantime, here are some recent ones from on-site when the weather allowed.