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May 2021 Update

The thaw period has finally passed at Björkvattnet. The ground conditions were being closely monitored and inspected during the thaw period to ensure heavy machinery could continue to operate safely.  The geotechnical engineers have been monitoring the ground temperature at crane hardstands with in-ground measurement rods and the latest results of the heavy fall weight testing, supplemented by visual inspection, shows the thaw is now complete and bearing capacity is suitable.

 

The team at Björkvattnet have been busy tidying up the site this month, removing materials and machinery that are no longer required on site.  As there is now only one turbine that requires installation, two of the three main cranes (used to erect the turbines) have been dismantled and removed from site, and most of the installation team have de-mobilised from site and moved onto other projects.

 

This month saw a further two (2) turbines installed, four (4) turbines commissioned, and seven (7) complete their reliability run.

 

To summarise the status, Main Installation is complete on thirty (32) turbines; commissioning works have been completed on twenty eight (28) turbines; and twenty five (25) turbines have completed their reliability run, the 8-day performance test and final stage before the turbine is considered operational. The Centre and South East areas of the wind farm have achieved operational completion, which equates to two of the five sections of the wind farm.

 

June will see a continuation of internal works, commissioning, test runs, and installation of the final components for the last turbine. Also, operational completion of the South Centre and South West sections are expected to conclude. June should also see final civils works to leave the wind farm in its finished state, including the removal and reinstatement of the on-site storage area.

 

 

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April 2021 Update

Spring has arrived at Björkvattnet, the weather has been milder throughout April and the snow is beginning to recede.  As breeding season is now underway, the local wildlife has been spotted at the wind farm with an abundance of grouse and capercaillie roaming throughout the site.  The better weather, although positive in many aspects, also brings considerable risk when using the heavy machinery used to lift and install the turbines.  The ground conditions are being closely monitored and inspected each week by the geotechnical engineering team to ensure that work continues safely.

 

As installation works near their end at Björkvattnet, this month has seen the installation teams demobilise from site and be redeployed onto other projects.  One of the main cranes (used to erect the turbines) has left site and another is de-rigged and dismantled, ready to be taken away from site.  This leaves only one main crane in place ready to carry out the installation of the final turbines.

 

This month saw a further four (4) turbines installed, six (6) turbines commissioned, and five (5) complete their reliability run.  Operational completion was achieved for the Centre and South East sections.

 

To summarise the status, Main Installation is complete on thirty (30) turbines; commissioning works have been completed on twenty four (24) turbines by the end of the month; and eighteen (18) turbines have completed their reliability run, the 8-day performance test and final stage before the turbine is considered operational.

May will see a continuation of internal works, commissioning, test runs, and the final turbine erections. Also, operational completion of the South Centre and South West sections

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March 2021 Update

Throughout the month of March, we have seen signs of the arrival of Spring. Weather is always important during the construction of a wind farm, and although it might be obvious that wind and snow can impact construction, warming temperatures also play a role in climates similar to that of Björkvattnet. The heavy transport and lifting equipment must have a solid foundation to work upon, and as the frost begins to thaw, the ground’s capacity to withstand construction loads could potentially be compromised. To ensure that we continue to operate safely, load bearing sections of crane hardstands (where the cranes lift and install the turbine components) are being continually monitored by a third-party geotechnical engineering team. This month saw a further three (3) turbine installed, four (4) turbines commissioned, and three (3) complete their reliability run.

 

To summarise the status, Main Installation is complete on twenty-six (26) turbines; commissioning works have been completed on eighteen (18) turbines by the end of the month; and thirteen (13) turbines have completed their reliability run, the 8-day performance test and final stage before the turbine is considered operational.

 

April will see a continuation of turbine erection, internal works, commissioning and test runs. Also, operational completion of the first section.

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February 2021 Update

February, already being the shortest month, did not hold much promise in terms of progress as high winds and snow persisted throughout, making life difficult for the installation teams, with a further one (1) turbine being installed. Despite this, commissioning works, and turbine reliability runs continued well, simultaneously testing the performance of the turbine while beginning to export electricity to the grid. Three (3) further turbines were commissioned, and six (6) completed their reliability run.

 

To summarise the status, Main Installation is complete on twenty-three (23) turbines; commissioning works have been completed on fourteen (14) turbines by the end of the month; and thirteen (13) turbines have completed their reliability run, the 8-day performance test and final stage before the turbine is considered operational.

 

The fallen crane reported last month was safely disassembled and removed from site. Ground material around the crane was collected and analysed and results indicated that there is no residual concern to the health of people or the environment. The incident was formally reported to LST. The site roads are once again clear, and installation works can continue unhindered.

 

March will be a continuation of turbine erection, internal works, commissioning, test runs, and we should see more turbine arrays enter the operational phase.

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January 2021 Update

The installation teams returned to site in early January following a winter break, with all site staff following the government and site specific Covid-19 protocols upon arrival. Snow clearance continued throughout to allow commissioning and servicing teams to access turbines, however, the installation teams’ first task was to clear the crane pad area and components of snow and ice to allow for the safe continuation of works. Ice and snow build-up can inhibit component lifting, as well as pose a safety risk with the increased potential for falling ice; on such tall turbines this is carefully mitigated. On the turbine blades, when stationary, snow and ice build-up can also potentially hinder the commissioning phase, by adding weight. However, when it comes to commissioning, wind also has an important role to play, as it is needed to ‘kickstart’ the turbines, producing its own energy which power some commissioning tasks. This month, the wind arrived either too strongly, or not at all, disrupting progress on this front. In addition, we had a crane incident on January 12, which had no injuries nor observable environmental damage, but has delayed installation activities. When the weather is not favourable for installation or commissioning, site personnel can assist in other areas of development, such as pre-assembly works on turbine components and mechanical and electrical fit-out inside the erected turbines.

 

To summarise the status, Main Installation is complete on twenty-two (22) turbines; commissioning works have been completed on eleven (11) turbines by the end of the month; and Seven (7) turbines have completed their reliability run, the 8-day performance test and final stage before the turbine is considered operational.

 

February will be a continuation of turbine erection, internal works, commissioning, test runs, and we should see more turbines enter the operational phase. We are also expecting a delivery of a single set of blades to the site, expected to arrive in February, but without forecast of an exact date.

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December 2020 Update

The November winds seemed to settle as we entered December, allowing for a more productive month at Björkvattnet Wind Farm. The cooling weather did, however, bring with it some tricky conditions, as snow and ice began to build-up on and around components. The installation teams quickly learned to navigate this, and once snow and ice build-up had been cleared from components the installation teams have continued to erect turbines, completing five (5) in the month, taking the total number to twenty-two (22) for the site. ‘Mechanical Completion’, the term for completion of internal works, has been reached in a further four (4) turbines during the month, taking the total to eighteen (18).

 

Commissioning works have been completed on eight (8) turbines by the end of the month. Six (6) further turbines entered their reliability run, the 8-day performance test and final stage before the turbine is considered operational. Three (3) further turbines have passed their reliability run during the month, bringing the total number of operational turbines to four (4).

 

January will be a continuation of turbine erection, internal works, commissioning, test runs, and we should see more turbines enter the operational phase.

 

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November 2020 Update

Further winds battered the Björkvattnet region during the month of November, resulting in over 70% of installation windows closed due to weather.  Each component has a wind speed limit, beyond which, it becomes unsafe to lift with the crane due to the lack of surrounding shelter. Therefore, it becomes increasingly more difficult to install higher components with the accuracy required. Since the wintry weather has arrived in earnest, snow clearance and de-icing of components is eating furthermore into the installation windows. However, during the favourable weather windows in November, GE Ren have managed to complete erection of a further four (4) turbines, taking the total number to eighteen (18) for the site.

 

Internal works to fit out the turbines largely remains unimpacted by weather and steady progress has been maintained in this regard. ‘Mechanical Completion, the term for completion of internal works, has been reached in a further eight (8) turbines during the month, taking the total to fourteen (14).

 

Once turbines are considered Mechanically Complete, the commissioning process begins. This is a final check to ensure that all systems within the wind turbine are in working order and, after passing relevant testing, the wind turbine is ready to produce and export power. Commissioning works have been completed on five (5) turbines during the month. Following commissioning works, the turbine undergoes a 24h test, where any issues will be picked up. Once the test is passed, and any issues resolved, the turbine can commence its reliability/test run. The reliability/test run lasts just over a week, where the performance of the turbine is assessed against acceptance criteria and, upon completion, the turbine is considered to be operational. The first turbine entered a reliability/test run towards the end of the month.

 

The delivery of escorted heavy loads to the wind farm was concluded during November, which will reduce the volume of traffic on the public roads and end any potential disturbances the vehicle traffic may have caused. This is an important milestone to achieve ahead of winter road conditions.

 

December will be a continuation of turbine erection, internal works, commissioning and test runs. This means the blades of the turbines will be spinning in order to capture the wind to generate electricity. Turbine operation continues after reliability run without stopping. Over time, more and more turbines will become operational as they successfully come out of their reliability runs, continuing to spin and generate electricity.

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October 2020 Update

Unsurprisingly, high winds have continued to blow during the month of October, keeping the installation works at a modest pace. Furthermore, we saw the first snowfall of the winter during the period, which blanketed the site. The project was prepared for this and the coordination of daily snow clearance has since commenced, to allow for continued component deliveries, turbine installations, and commissioning works. The project is also engaging with a local contractor to maintain, clear, and grit the public road from Ramsele to the site. This month GE Ren have managed to complete Pre-Install 2 on thirty-three turbines (33). A further six (6) complete turbines were erected in the month of October, taking the total number to fourteen (14) for the site. Mechanical Completion has been reached in a further three (3) turbines during the month, taking the total to six (6).

 

Deliveries have continued throughout the month, and by the end of October thirty (30) sets of nacelles, drivetrains, and hubs, and twenty-five (25) blade sets have arrived at the site. The remainder of the component deliveries are expected in early November, which will conclude the delivery of escorted components; an important milestone as we head into winter.

 

From an electrical perspective, another important milestone was achieved in the successful energisation of the cables in one of the wind farm’s electrical arrays (one of eight electrical circuits within the wind farm feeding into the substation). This allows for the turbines within this array to use power from the grid to carry out commissioning works. The commissioning process essentially is a final check to ensure all the systems within the wind turbine are in working order and, after passing the relevant testing, is ready to produce and export power to the grid. Commissioning works will commence in early November.

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September 2020 Update

During the month of September, the Turbine Supplier has continued to endeavour to install wind turbines across the site, despite worsening weather conditions. Although wind is very useful in generating clean energy, it also proves troublesome when attempting to erect turbines. Wind and fog have dominated the weather outlook this month, which has slowed down these activities. Through the favourable weather windows, however, GE Ren have managed to complete Pre-Install 1 on all thirty-three (33) turbines, and Pre-Install 2 on thirty-two turbines (32). A further four (4) complete turbines were erected in the month of September, taking the total number to eight (8) for the site. Once the turbines have been erected, and all associated internal works have been completed, it is considered to have reached ‘Mechanical Completion’. Mechanical Completed has been reached in three (3) turbines during the month.

 

The tower sections for all thirty-three (33) turbines have now been delivered, which should substantially limit the traffic and strain on the nearby public roads. Also successfully delivered by the end of September were twenty (20) sets of nacelles, drivetrains, and hubs, and nineteen (19) blade sets. The remainder of the blade sets are scheduled to be delivered in October, which will conclude the delivery of escorted components; an important milestone as we head into winter.

 

From an electrical perspective, another important milestone was achieved in the successful energisation and testing of the Björkvattnet substation and the associated overhead lines. The energisation is when an electric current is introduced to the cables, in preparation for connecting to the turbine arrays and energy exportation.

 

 

 

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July-August 2020 Update

It has been a busy couple of months on the project with the civil contractor, SIC, having successfully handed over all 5 areas of the windfarm to GE Renewables. Coupled with the works completed by SIC in June 2020 this means that the whole windfarm site is now complete from a civil and electrical perspective and all areas are handed over to GE Renewables. Final works are ongoing at the site Substation, with the successful installation of steel supports and the continuation of installation of the overhead line, as teams prepare for the initial energisation of the site in mid-September.

 

The main focus of the site works in the period has concentrated on the turbine delivery and erection. To date there has been tower deliveries completed for twenty-four (24) full turbines, nine (9) sets of machine heads, drive train and hubs and thirteen (13) sets of blades. A series of cranes are in place, which carry out various functions such as component unloading, installation, and assembly support. The crane activities are separated into three distinct phases – Pre-Install 1, Pre-install 2 and Main installation. To date the Pre-install #1 crane has completed the first tower installation on twenty-seven (27) turbines. To date the Pre-install #2 crane has completed the next three tower section installation on twenty-four (24) turbines. There are three Main cranes operating on site which install the remaining tower sections (final three sections) and install the nacelle, hub and blades. On the 13th August 2020 a major milestone was achieved when installation was completed on the first turbine. By the end of August, four (4) complete turbines had been erected.

 

 

Drone shot of the completion of installation at the first turbine
Construction of structural steel at Substation
Construction of structural steel at Substation
Substation in a near finished state
Substation in a near finished state
Nacelle installation
Nacelle installation