The new control room is the largest, independently operated 24/7 control room in the UK, managing more than 175 renewable energy assets which are located throughout the UK, Ireland, France and the US. The new investment ensures that the company’s ControlCentre, which currently employs 19 staff and manages 5 GW of capacity, complies with all new EU cybersecurity rules in order to protect clients assets and the grid agains potential cyber-attacks.
“In early 2017 we decided to take control centre to the next level” said Stephen Trotter, Managing Director at Natural Power. “To ensure Natural Power remained at the forefront of asset management, real-time data provision and security requirements, this investment is designed to deliver the next decade of services to a market where our clients demand more flexibility; where interaction between generators, system and network operators becomes more sophisticated; and where intelligent management of assets brings higher returns. So we embarked on a market leading programme that included the design and build of a new control services facility at our global headquarters, incorporating a decade of experience in its design. By upgrading and increasing our capacity in the ControlCentre, we have enabled our clients to maximise their assets’ performance, comply with ever-changing regulations and explore new ways of increasing revenue”.
Mr Trotter added that while automation plays an important role in modern asset management and the software required to deliver cutting-edge services is continually improved, another more human factor plays a vital role. An ergonomic environment, improved sound, lighting and room layout mean that the operational controllers are comfortable and safe to support clients at any time of the day or night, whether that is site access, grid curtailment, emergency response, turbine control or any other services
The new facility has been designed for Natural Power’s next decade of growth, with the flexibility to add new services where required, to upgrade software that will improve service delivery and to accommodate work with specialist suppliers whenever necessary – vitally important in an ever-changing industry.
“I am delighted to open this new facility and welcome the significant investment by Natural Power and the Fred Olsen Group in the Scottish energy sector and, of course, it is tremendous to see investment in such a facility in a rural region such as Dumfries and Galloway” said Paul Wheelhouse. “Learning from this facility will play an important role in supporting a low carbon economy in Scotland as envisaged in the Scottish Energy Strategy and Climate Change Plan and I warmly congratulate Natural Power for its commitment to delivering a low carbon future.”
One of the assets being managed through the ControlCentre is Fred Olsen Renewables’ new Brockloch Rig Wind Farm, which was also opened by Paul Wheelhouse. The wind farm is owned by Fred Olsen Renewables and Aviva Investors, and operated by Natural Power. The wind farm first received consent in 2007 and is located 8 kilometres north east of Carsphairn and 10 kilometres south of New Cumnock in Scotland. It consists of thirty 2.05 MW Senvion turbines with a total installed capacity of 61.5MW.
Image: Fred Olsen, David Brunt, Stephen Trotter, Paul Wheelhouse (Natural Power)
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