All systems go for Pen y Cymoedd Wind Energy Project grid connection

In summer 2013 Vattenfall appointed ABB to build the grid connection for the Pen y Cymoedd Wind Energy Project, which will be the largest onshore wind farm in England and Wales when it enters operation in 2016.

The 76-turbine, 228 MW wind farm, in South Wales, between Neath and Aberdare, is a significant investment for Vattenfall and for the Welsh economy. ABB’s commitment to sourcing a significant amount of project resource locally within Wales was a major factor in securing the contract. Other factors were ABB’s ability to deliver the project within Vattenfall’s timescale, as well as the strength of our comprehensive solution that not only includes the substation equipment but also the reactive power and associated control systems.

A very significant development is that this is the first UK project in which ABB’s state-of-the-art substation protection and control systems, working in combination with our STATCOM solution, will be used to control and regulate the output of the wind turbines to ensure they remain within the rigorous power quality standards designated by the National Grid’s Grid Code.

Work has now started on the project, which will see ABB construct two new substations linked by 9.2 km underground cable connections. To minimize disruption in this environmentally sensitive location singular trenching is employed for the route that has to traverse a high pressure gas pipeline and pass close to a site of special scientific interest as well as an ancient monument.

The substation equipment to be installed by ABB includes: PCS 6000 STATCOM units to support the stability of grid voltage by providing variable reactive power in response to voltage transients; compact PASS switchgear rated at 132 kV; transformers; protection and control equipment that complies with the IEC 61850 standard.

The turbines on the hillside will feed into the Pen y Cymoedd substation, which will step up the voltage from 33 to 132 kV. The second substation at Rhigos will step up voltage from 132 to 400 kV, ready to feed into a brand new 400 kV National Grid substation.

Interfacing with third parties will be particularly important for this project, with an even higher than normal emphasis on community relations to support Vattenfall’s commitment to inwards investment into Wales. ABB is sourcing a significant proportion of the project resource locally within Wales, including manpower, site management, subcontractors and suppliers of all kinds. Wherever possible, we are involving the community in the project and making the most of local skills and resources.

“This contract goes to the heart of what ABB is about as a business: integrating renewable power while balancing economic success, environmental stewardship and social progress,” said Stephen Trotter, Division Head of ABB Power Systems UK and Ireland. “The project is a major milestone in demonstrating ABB’s capability in wind farm projects and particularly in meeting the stringent demands of grid codes.”

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    The site of the Pen y Cymoedd wind farm
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