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Operating wind farms in remote locations poses a unique technical challenge. So when Fred. Olsen needed to connect two new farms in the Scottish Highlands, they relied on our expertise to deliver a fail-safe solution for constant power generation.

The outcome

We understand better than anyone just how important fail-safe connectivity is for wind farms; after all, any downtime could impact power generation. We pride ourselves on reliability and are trusted to “keep the lights on” by a diverse commercial customer base, as well as by our parent company, the SSE Group. That is why Fred.Olsen turned to us to connect its two remote wind farms in the Scottish Highlands; Mid Hill and Rothes II.

To ensure the success of the implementation, we allocated a dedicated project manager with specialist local knowledge to work closely with Fred.Olsen to create a bespoke solution that would deliver unfailing microwave connectivity to both sites, with 4Mb capacity and Internet access. During the project we overcame a number of unique challenges, yet – because of the expertise of the team involved – still delivered a solution that was in place and fully operational by October 2013, a whole two months ahead of schedule. This is a testament to the excellent work of our project management team, who were on-hand to quickly and effectively resolve any problems as they arose.

The challenge

The first major challenge we encountered over the course of the project was centred on the location of the control room, which would connect Fred.Olsen’s remote wind farms. During the development and planning stage, the team recognised that the location originally chosen for the room was not suitable due to ground conditions, so needed to be moved by more than one hundred metres. We were quick to alter the plan and even re-submitted a second planning application on behalf of Fred.Olsen.

The wind farms are surrounded by forest – a landscape that is undergoing constant change – so we decided to conduct not one, but two, line-of-sight tests before installing the radio link. The results of these tests led us to reconfigure the structure that would house the radio link and meant we also needed to conduct a further ground survey to ensure it could support the newly designed tower. By thinking on our feet, we were actually able to significantly reduce the size of the tower and once again managed the entire planning application on Fred.Olsen’s behalf. 

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