What can you do with a curtailed wind turbine in a remote location? Actually, quite a lot. In fact, the wind turbine at Creed Enterprise park on the Isle of Lewis doesn’t just switch off when its generating limit is reached. Instead, the excess electricity is used to fuel an innovative circular economy, where renewable energy is the driving force for local businesses on the island.
Locogen’s involvement in the project started when we were asked by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES – Western Isles Council) to design, procure and project manage the construction of a 300kW wind turbine for the Council at the Creed Enterprise Park south of Stornoway.
Our design work identified the opportunity to maximise the renewable generation potential of the Creed Park wind turbine project through an increase in turbine scale, which we confirmed was achievable as a non-material planning variation.
Ground investigation work was carried out at site to enable the design of the foundation and the balance of plant civil works. In addition, Locogen carried out the electrical design of the works between the wind turbine and the point of connection to the grid.
We then prepared the engineering specification and procurement documentation for three separate packages of work:
- The supply, installation and commissioning of the wind turbine
- The balance of plant electrical works to connect the wind turbine to the grid and to provide communications
- The balance of plant civil works for the access tracks, crane pads and substation
The procurement documentation was issued for tender and we assisted CnES to review and score the tenders received to select the preferred contractors. The Enercon 300kW E33 was duly selected as the preferred turbine model for the Creed Enterprise Park wind turbine.
Locogen then project managed the construction of the project. The turbine was connected and commissioned ahead of the feed-in tariff deadline and now generates a significant income for CnES, along with some very important excess electricity to fuel the Creed circular economy project.
After commissioning the turbine, Locogen was awarded the asset management contract for the site, tackling typical issues associated with island renewable energy schemes, including weak grid, storm conditions and a more challenging maintenance environment. Our asset management service includes performance analysis, maintenance coordination, regulatory compliance, operational administration and site visits to check the condition of the turbine and the associated infrastructure. This service minimises losses due to downtime and ensures the turbine continues to operate at peak performance – vital to maximise generation. In fact, analysis of data for the Creed Park wind turbine shows a remarkable 99.97% technical availability for November 2018.
So, what happens to all that excess electricity from the Creed Park wind turbine?
CnES selected the Enercon 300kW E33 as the most appropriate turbine but the site is grid constrained to 225kW. Instead of powering down, however, the Creed Park wind turbine puts excess generation to excellent use.
Some of that electricity is used to power immersion heaters at the Creed Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF). The IWMF is an anaerobic digestion plant, which uses waste from local fish farms to power a combined heat and power unit (CHP). The immersion heaters warm the digestate to increase efficiency and produce more gas fuel for the CHP.
The CHP, in turn, powers an electrolyser, which is also powered by more excess electricity from the Creed Enterprise Park wind turbine. This electrolyser produces hydrogen for the local fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) fleet, which includes the refuse collection lorry that brings the waste from the fish farms to Creed IWMF.
Normally, oxygen produced by the electrolyser is released back into the atmosphere but at Creed the oxygen, too, is collected and sent back to the fish farm where it is used to oxygenate the water in the hatcheries.
The Creed Park wind turbine is part of an exciting and innovative project that demonstrates the practical applications possible when faced with grid constraints and Locogen are delighted to be involved. Contact us to find out how your community or organisation could benefit from intelligently designed renewable energy solutions in the post-FIT world.