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Improvement of communications network at Sotavento Experimental Wind Farm

BACKGROUND:


This project comes as a necessity to transfer the data measured and recorded at each turbine to a central system in real time.

The availability of all generation consists of a decisive factor. Wind farms, due to the large area occupied, need to have a reliable communication network to ensure effective monitoring and control of all parameters of interest. The line of communication by fibre optics at Sotavento Experimental Wind Farm has generated several problems in the years previous to the development of this project. The final design of the wind farm did not include communication between turbines. Deciding to use fibre optic technology was relatively new at that time in the sector, which undoubtedly represented significant improvements over other communication systems. Experience and the continued development of projects made ​​clear the need for improvement, both physically and structurally, of this first communication network.

The main issues detected that needed this improvement were:

  • The concentration of fibre panels in each turbine had been incorrectly sized, proving insufficient to accommodate and properly structure all receiving optical fibres
  • The network topology that communicated with the testing equipment and reactive power compensation at Sotavento (cascade topology), were very sensitive to errors and therefore unreliable
  • Deterioration of network components, with consequent increasing error rate and instability in the network

These circumstances increased the risk of loss of communication and the time locating and repairing faults. The economic losses that accounted for these delays, in terms of availability of machines and reactive power management, revealed the need to strengthen the communication system of the wind farm.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE WIND FARM COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK:


The wind farm fibre optic communication line comprises of two 24-fibre cables, one for each line of the wind farm.

Each turbine uses two or four fibres, depending on the technology for communication with its corresponding SCADA.

The equipment installed for Sotavento in the wind turbines, until the development of the project, used two fibres per line for both the reactive power control as well as the transmission of data analysers installed on each machine.

OBJECTIVES:


The objectives of the project were:

  • To improve the communication network of the wind farm
  • Expansion of the cupboards that house the Sotavento equipment

PHASES:


The phases that structured the project were:

  1. Replacing concentrated fibre panels with new ones
  2. Strengthening communication between Sotavento equipment
  3. Prior to the project, for communication between Sotavento computers, a cascade topology network was employed that used two fibres for each line at the wind farm for communication between computers. The aim was to change it to a Token Ring ring topology using six fibers per line, four for two communication rings, and two reserve fibres. With these changes, the communication network increased its security and reliability against possible failures in equipment or in the fibres themselves
  4. Changing the layout of Sotavento equipment: Installing new cupboards per turbine, as they had out grown existing ones due to the continued implementation of project equipment: Sotavento equipment related to reactive control and analysis of electrical machines also including the PC and the UPS. The new cupboards made enough space available in reserve to accommodate future equipment required in wind turbines

CURRENT SITUATION:


Executed.

DOCUMENTATION:


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Improving the communications network at the Sotavento Wind Farm Spanish 546 Kb
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