Fred.Olsen selects SSE Enterprise Telecoms to ensure its remote Scottish windfarms are always online

Network provider chosen to deliver reliable connectivity, with high-capacity internet access.

London, 25 March 2014 – Fred.Olsen has selected SSE Enterprise Telecoms – the UK’s leading provider of network infrastructure and data centre services, and part of the SSE Group – to deliver guaranteed microwave connectivity and internet access, to two of its wind farms in the Scottish Highlands – Mid Hill and Rothes II. SSE Enterprise Telecoms’ dedicated project management team overcame a number of challenges over the life-cycle of the project, yet still delivered the project two months ahead of schedule in October 2013.

To ensure the success of the implementation, SSE Enterprise Telecoms allocated a dedicated project manager with specialist local knowledge to work closely with Fred.Olsen to create a bespoke solution that would deliver connectivity to its two hard-to-access wind farms.

“Connectivity is crucial to any wind farm and this can be particularly challenging in remote locations. We needed a provider that understood these challenges and could deliver a truly fail-safe solution to guarantee the day-to-day operation of our wind farms,” said Øyvind Lund, VP construction, Fred.Olsen Ltd. “SSE Enterprise Telecoms’ heritage and wind farm experience gave us the confidence that we had chosen a provider with the ability to deliver the level of assurance that is so vital to our business. We were also delighted to have the project completed two months ahead of schedule, particularly given some of the complex and unexpected issues that arose during the project’s lifecycle. The level of service and local knowledge provided by our own dedicated project manager was exceptional and they certainly did a great job in ensuring all challenges were resolved with ease.”

The first major challenge encountered over the course of the project centred on the location of the control room, which would connect Fred.Olsen’s two wind farms. During the development and planning stage, SSE Enterprise Telecoms’ team recognised that the location originally chosen for the room was not suitable due to ground conditions, so needed to be moved by more than one hundred metres. The team quickly altered to the plan and re-submitted a second planning application on behalf of Fred.Olsen.

As Mid Hill and Rothes II wind farms are both surrounded by forest – a landscape that is undergoing constant change – SSE Enterprise Telecoms conducted not one, but two line-of-sight tests before installing the radio link. The results of these tests led the team to reconfigure the structure that would house the radio link and meant SSE Enterprise Telecoms also needed to conduct a further ground survey to ensure it could support the newly designed tower. The team was able to significantly reduce the size of the tower and again, managed the entire planning application on Fred.Olsen’s behalf.

While these alterations and additional planning applications were in progress, SSE Enterprise Telecoms also ensured that the internet access for the site was pre-configured and tested well in advance of delivery. The local project manager also made sure the telecom tower and the radio link were built and installed simultaneously, which meant that in spite of the planning change, both Mid Hill and Rothes II wind farms were connected well ahead of schedule.

“We understand better than anyone just how important fail-safe connectivity is for wind farms; after all, any downtime could impact power generation,” said Chris Jagusz, managing director of SSE Enterprise Telecoms. “We pride ourselves on reliability and are trusted to ‘keep the lights on’ by a diverse commercial customer base, as well as by our parent company, the SSE Group. This is one of the main reasons that Fred.Olsen turned to us for this project.”

Jagusz continued: “Throughout the project our dedicated project management team overcame a number of unique challenges, yet – because of the expertise of the team involved – still delivered a solution that was in place and fully operational by October 2013, a whole two months ahead of schedule. This is a testament to the excellent work of our project management team, who were on-hand to quickly and effectively resolve any problems as they arose.”

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