Harnessing the wind is an efficient, reliable and sustainable way to supply clean energy for people living in the UK.
Having played a pivotal role at Whitelee, Europe’s largest operational onshore wind farm, the UK’S leading mechanical and electrical contractor Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (BBES) has commenced work on the electrical infrastructure contract for the RWE npower renewables onshore wind farm located near the Northumberland-Durham border.
The 50 hectare site at Kiln Pit Hill near Unthank will feature six Enercon 2.3MW turbines which will be connected to NEDL’s 20kV distribution network. This new network will have an installed capacity to generate 13.8MW, enough to power around 6,200 homes.
Working alongside principal contractor I & H Brown, BBES is providing the electrical infrastructure works including the substation and control building services, the supply and installation of switchgear and the installation of around 8000m of 20kV cabling and approximately 3000 metres of fibre optic cabling.
The Kiln Pit Hill Wind Farm site boundary encloses an area of approximately 0.5km2 (50 hectares) which consists primarily of arable and grazing agricultural land. However the wind farm itself occupies a much smaller part of the area as the turbine bases and access roads occupy a small part of the overall area.
As part of the project, BBES is also responsible for the cable trenching to facilitate the cabling installation. ‘This is one of the biggest environmental challenges on the project as the arable land contains land drainage which crosses the areas where we install cable trenches,’ commented BBES Project Manager Barry Platts. ‘This drainage water has to be managed so as not to have an environmental impact on local streams and ditches with measures taken to prevent the escape of silts into these waterways.’
To further minimise environmental impact of the scheme, and to meet requirments set by the RWE npower renewables appointed ecological clerk of works, BBES is also taking steps to prevent animal entrapment within the trenches by providing escape routes should any wildlife find their way in.
The development of wind farms as a component of a sustainable energy supply strategy must go hand in hand with sensitive environmental design and planning.
As part of its commitment to a more sustainable environment, BBES is striving to deliver projects that have minimal impacts on local residents and the surrounding countryside, as well as the wider environment.
BBES’ work at RWE npower renewables Kiln Pit Hill Wind Farm contract reinforces the company’s ability to deliver, sustainable projects and reflects the company’s position as market leader in the delivery of renewable energy schemes in the UK.
The project is due to be completed in 2012.