Fred.Olson and connecting wind farms | Neos Networks

Fred.Olsen and wind farm connectivity

When Fred.Olsen needs wind farm connectivity that’s a breeze.

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.

While these alterations and additional planning applications were in progress, our attention turned to ensuring that the Internet access for the site was pre-configured and tested well in advance of delivery. Our local project manager also made sure the telecom tower and the radio link were built and installed simultaneously, which meant that in spite of the planning change, both Mid Hill and Rothes II wind farms were connected well ahead of schedule.

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.

“Connectivity is crucial to any wind farm and this can be particularly challenging in remote locations. We needed a provider that understood these challenges and could deliver a truly fail-safe solution to guarantee the day-to-day operation of our wind farms. Neos Networks’ heritage and wind farm experience gave us the confidence that we had chosen a provider with the ability to deliver the level of assurance that is so vital to our business. The level of service and local knowledge provided by our own dedicated project manager was exceptional and they certainly did a great job in ensuring all challenges were resolved with ease.”

Øyvind Lund, VP construction, Fred.Olsen Ltd.

About Fred.Olsen

Established in the UK in 1963, Fred.Olsen Ltd.’s business interests primarily focus on renewable energy, forest management and travel. Based in the UK, but operating globally, the brand’s aim is to build a reputation based on innovation, service and dependability. The company’s origins trace back to 1848, when three Norwegian brothers founded an international shipping business. Subsequent growth and diversification today sees the organisation consisting of several public companies, based in Norway as well as Fred.Olsen Ltd., based here in the UK. Now in the fifth generation of the family, Fred.Olsen related companies cover mostly energy related activities such as shipping, floating production, offshore drilling and renewable energy, as well as cruise, media, real estate and venture capital.


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