Commissioning the wind farm
London Array is being commissioned in phases as groups of turbines become operational. Each turbine is energised, commissioned and tested individually and in groups to make sure they’re working correctly.
We’re expecting the whole of Phase One to be commissioned by spring 2013, after which the site will be handed over to the Operations and Maintenance team.
Operating and maintaining the wind farm
London Array’s turbines are designed to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for over 20 years. Each turbine will be serviced regularly by our technicians, who’ll normally travel to the wind farm by boat. If problems or breakdowns occur, we may be able to resolve these remotely. Otherwise, our technicians will make repairs on site.
Keeping our maintenance team safe
One of the biggest challenges with servicing offshore turbines is the harsh marine environment. We’ll check the sea and weather conditions carefully before every trip to the wind farm. Plus, we’ll work closely with the coastguard and other emergency services in the Ramsgate area to make sure we’re well-prepared to deal with any unexpected incidents, either at the wind farm site itself, or when our technicians are travelling to and from it.
The operations and maintenance base
The operations and maintenance base for London Array is at the Port of Ramsgate on the east Kent coast, on a 8,000m2 site. The purpose-built facility accommodates 90 staff and six maintenance vessels . It includes computerised monitoring and control facilities, a workshop, offices and storage facilities. We’ve also built a new pontoon and fuel pumping facility in partnership with Thanet district council.
As well as accommodating our core team of staff, the base will be able to cater for extra resources if any non-routine maintenance becomes necessary.
Designed with the environment in mind
The operations and maintenance building was designed by West Midlands-based architecture firm BBLB, and achieves BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) ‘Excellent’ status. It also has BREEAM grade A+ internal finishes and has been built using the latest building methods and using materials that are sustainable and recyclable.
The building’s sustainable design features include:
- Maximising the available natural light through passive design measures
- An extensive grass roof to provide ecological value, good insulation and water attenuation
- A Combined Heat and Power (CHP) facility.
Construction started in September 2010 and was completed at the end of 2011. The base was built by Mansell Construction Services. Although this is a national company, the project was managed from Mansell’s Maidstone office using local contractors where possible.