ABB commissions Thornton Bank wind farm connection in the North
325 MW of wind energy integrated into the Belgian grid
At the end of June this year, the last of 54
wind turbines was installed at the C-Power offshore wind farm at Thornton
Bank off the coast of Ostend. The project began in 2008, with phase one in
which six turbines with a total capacity of 30 megawatt (MW) were
installed 30 kilometers (km) off the Belgian coast. By 2009, these
turbines were generating electricity and had been temporarily connected to
the mainland by ABB. Work then began on the second and third phases of the
project, which involved the addition of 48 wind turbines to the wind farm
and the permanent connection of the complete wind farm to the mainland.
This was done via an alternating current (AC) subsea transmission link.
ABB (NYSE: ABB) commissioned the project ahead of schedule.
Thornton Bank is now one
of the largest offshore wind farms in Europe, with an overall capacity of
325 MW. A submarine cable system comprises 60 km of 36 kilovolt (kV)
infield cables link the turbines to a substation close to the turbines
offshore. The substation collects and transmits the power to the coast. It
is a large four-deck structure weighing some 2,000 tons. It comprises two
power transformers, gas-insulated switchgear for incoming and outgoing
current, shunt reactors to provide reactive power compensation, neutral
grounding reactors to limit the current in case of a fault, and substation
protection and control systems.
The wind turbines
deliver 33 kV, which is stepped up by the transformers to 150 kV. Two 170
kV export cables transfer the power from the substation to shore. At the
onshore cable landing point the export cables are joined to two 170 kV
underground cables, which deliver the power to the Slijkens substation,
about 3 km inland. At Slijkens the electricity joins the Belgian grid.
Thornton Bank offshore
substation“ABB was selected by C-Power for the project because it could
provide the complete offshore wind power connection to ensure the safe and
reliable delivery of energy from the wind farm to the onshore transmission
grid,” said Geert Dewaele, Chief Technical Officer of C-Power.
ABB is the only company
that can provide a complete electrical offshore wind farm connection
consisting entirely of its own products – high-voltage submarine and
underground cable systems, offshore substation and onshore grid
connection. By providing all the products ABB was able to optimize the
solution in terms of equipment and materials to meet the requirements of
C-Power for cost efficiency and performance.
ABB was contracted at an
early stage of the project to help develop the overall wind farm concept
and perform the electrical system studies to ensure grid code compliance.
All the electrical and controls systems are designed and manufactured by
ABB to meet the demanding requirements and harsh operating conditions of
offshore wind farms.
The Thornton Bank wind
farm was inaugurated today by the Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo,
adding more than 1,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity generation
capacity per year to the Belgian grid. This is the equivalent to the
annual power consumption of about 300,000 households in Belgium. The wind
farm will contribute approximately 7 percent of Belgium’s targeted
renewable energy commitment by 2020 and help avoid CO2 emissions of
approximately 415,000 tons per year if the electricity were to be
generated by a traditional gas-fueled power plant.
"We are proud that ABB
has been able to contribute successfully to more sustainable energy
production," said Hanspeter Faesler, head of ABB’s Grid Systems business
within the Power Systems division.
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