HOW TO MAKE YOUR WINDFARM SAFER

We were delighted to host a workshop at the IWFA annual conference this week about Safety for Windfarm Owners. We have written this blog to capture some of the key tips shared at the event by Ronan O’Meara.

There are a lot of practical things that Windfarm owners can do to make their organisations more safe both from a formal (regulatory) and informal perspective.

Statutory Requirements

Core to the statutory requirements is that each windfarm is set up to create a safe system of work for all employees. A safe system does not need to be complex. In fact, the UK recently issued contravention notices on windfarm owners who gave in plans that were pages upon pages of waffle rather than a clear and simple system.

What do you need?

  • Health and Safety Statement
  • Health and Safety Plan
  • Forms and templates to help implement the plan

From our experience, windfarm owners are clear about these requirements but our recommendation is to regularly review these processes with fresh eyes. Ideally you want them to be a dynamic system of safety that all employees engage with rather than a set of documents that are filed away somewhere onsite and not really referenced in a meaningful way.

Emergency Preparedness

There is a big focus at the moment on Emergency preparedness. The HSE in the UK are looking for full end-to-end plans that have been reviewed, tested and timed. Some of the things you might consider thinking about to support your plans for emergencies could be

  • Site Directional Signage
  • Advanced Rescue Training (Hub Rescue)
  • Spinal board location (e.g. in vans rather than a substation on large sites)

Culture of Safety

While we are duty bound to provide and talk about safety, fundamentally all wind farm owners want their windfarm workers to go home safely to their families each evening. We can create a culture that has safety embedded at its heart. Some of the ways that you can consider doing this

  • 5 Whys – encourage employees to regularly ask themselves 5 times the question “why” when they come across any type of incident
  • Encourage managers and employees to create a habit of asking the question “How and what is the safest way to complete this task”

Practical Advice

There are simple things that happen on site such as dropped objects and accidents while driving on the windfarms. Here are our top tips for increasing safety in relation to these:

Dropped Objects

  • Inspect the lifting hooks regularly
  • Don’t overload the hook
  • Use only certified lifting bags

Driving on the Windfarms

  • Ensure clear signage and snow poles on site
  • Implement edge protection for hard stands and corners
  • Factor driving policies when awarding contracts

In summary

There are a couple of areas you can focus on to create a safer wind farm for your employees

  • Engage staff with Healthy & Safety plans to ensure that they are a dynamic and daily part of the working at your windfarm
  • Review and test your Emergency Preparedness plan
  • Ask yourself how you will create a CULTURE of safety in your windfarm
  • Review incidents of dropped objects on your wind farm
  • Take a fresh look at your driving policies on site

Vacancy – Windfarm Asset Manager

EnergyPro is a specialist wind farm analysis and management firm.

As part of our work, we manage operational windfarms to ensure that they perform safely and effectively.

We are looking to add a highly skilled asset manager to our team in Athy, Co. Kildare.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • To monitor and co-ordinate the operation of customers’ wind farms to ensure that they are operating effectively, efficiently and safely
  • To oversee the introduction of DS3 and other additional services of windfarms
  • To oversee compliance with safety and quality standards
  • To analyse SCADA and other data to identify opportunities to increase the energy output of wind turbines and other renewable energy installations.

Required Attributes:

  • Excellent project management abilities
  • Experience in implementing, operating and auditing safe systems of work
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong computer skills, particularly with Excel

Highly Desirable:

  • Previous wind energy experience
  • Electrical background
  • Formal engineering and/or health & safety qualification

Training and support will be available in the role if all of the above criteria are not met.

Competitive salary on offer commensurate with experience.

To apply, email your CV in confidence to careers@energypro.ie using the subject line “Windfarm Asset Manager 19-03” before Friday 22nd March 2019


Unfortunately, we will not accept any applications from recruitment agencies.
We request that candidates please apply directly.

Future of the Windfarm Industry

It was an inspiring two days at the IWEA Spring Conference 2019. We were particularly encouraged by the speakers who spoke clearly about some of the great opportunities that face our sector. Here are some of the key opportunities we took away from the event

Future Trends

One of the event highlights was the session chaired by Garry Connolly regarding opportunities in renewables towards 2030. Here are three of the major trends identified, that offer windfarm owners a reason to be optimistic for the growth of the industry out until 2030:

  • New turbine technology centred on big data that will act as smart machines, self-correcting and therefore reducing maintenance costs
  • The continuing transition from privately owned windfarms to more public windfarm ownership from pension funds and publicly quoted companies
  • The inexorable shift to electrification of heat and transport

Off Shore Opportunities

Offshore was a particular area of focus on Day Two. It was exciting to hear Eamon Ryan speak of the opportunity for Ireland to try to regain the position we had fifteen years ago as a world leader for offshore wind.

“We should lead out the offshore grid initiative . There is a huge export opportunity here. We need 5GW in the Irish sea and 15GW in the rest of our waters”

Communication

At the conference it was brought up that in addition to climate change, we also have an opportunity to emphasise on the health benefits to drive acceptance. The case last year in New Ross highlights the opportunity for our industry to communicate about our role in clean air and national health.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/air-pollution-in-irish-town-worse-than-beijing-expert-warns-36458809.html

https://www.wexfordcoco.ie/environment/air-water-and-noise-pollution/air-pollution/air-quality-monitoring

Government Support

Hildegard Naughton, chair of the Oireachtas committee on climate action, spoke of the governments support for the 70% renewable electricity by 2030 target. This indicates it is more likely to be part of government action plan which will make it more likely that this target will be achieved and growth of our industry will be supported at governmental level.

Overall, there are plenty of us to feel optimistic about the future. While there are a lot of pressures on prices and challenges over the next number of years, there is also a lot to look forward to!

Top 3 Takeaways from IWEA Conference Day 1

It was a busy first day at the IWEA conference. Here are some of the key highlights our team took away from the event on day one:

Faster Connection

The Industry are calling for ESBN facilitate a faster and more contestable connection and be more consistent with technical specifications

Proven Industry Impact

Ireland is the second highest producer in Europe for Wind Energy and the CRU highlighted the positive downward pressure wind energy puts on electricity price.

Brexit

John Melvin from @UtilityRegCRU confirmed that SEM will continue even in the event of a disorderly Brexit. This is a good news for our industry in light of the vote in the Commons in the last night, albeit with possible less effective interconnection flow.

6 Tips for Windfarm Owners Dealing with iSEM

Here are some of our top tips for Windfarm Owners: 

1. Beware market meter readings

Keep an eye on any differences between your SCADA meter reading and what’s being issued through the market, particularly during grid outages. There have been a number of issues already, and it’s important that the market is notified, through your trading partner, to ensure that you’re not missing out on revenue.

2. Keep detailed records

Put all your trader availability notification records in a searchable database so that you can easily query what was submitted by what time in response to any issues raised by traders. 3. Visualise your data We’ve found visualising upcoming outages, forecast production and real-time production on a single line graph gives a very handy quick reference for windfarm managers, and helps to increase the accuracy of our availability predictions.

Download our this as a one pager pdf here Top Tips 1 Page PDF

4. Get your availability forecasts in on time

Penalties for inaccurate availability forecasts can range from the difference in Day Ahead Market rate to Balancing Rate, to a fixed additional penalty fee per megawatt hour. It’s important to mitigate this risk by being accurate with your return-to-service time prediction, and by submitting your annual, monthly and daily predictions on time. Our GenWatch Availability service can do this for you by combining l a knowledgeable operator available 6am to midnight, 7 days a week, to estimate turbine down times with  an automated system to ensure that notifications are sent to the trader by the appropriate times.

5. Set up automated alerts for data failures

Once you’ve set up your live data feed to your trader, set up automated email alerts when the feed goes down, allowing you to react in time and deal with the issue before you start getting penalties for not providing live data.

In addition, it’s worth considering an automated failover to a secondary communications link, or a continuous secondary live feed of data from your ESB meter. At EnergyPro, we’ve set this up on a number of windfarms so far – please get in touch if you’d like help setting this up on your windfarm.

6. Keep an eye on your trading partner’s trading strategy

This is important for two reasons: Firstly, given that many PPAs are for 12-18 months, it is a good idea to track your trader’s performance in order to allow you to make an informed choice when the PPA needs to be renewed. Secondly, in certain situations, compensation for dispatch down events is only available for the volume of power your trading partner traded in the Day Ahead and IntraDay markets. Ensuring an appropriate level of trading in these markets means you don’t miss out on this dispatch down compensation.

Our GenWatch Shadow Trading Analysis service provides ongoing analysis which might be useful to monitor this. If you’d like to discuss any of the above, please contact Ronan on 059 865 0116 or ronan.omeara@energypro.ie.

About EnergyPro Asset Management
About EnergyPro Asset Management EnergyPro Asset Management are Ireland’s largest indigenous windfarm management company, operating 14 windfarms across Ireland for a variety of owners, ranging from large international investment funds, such as Greencoat Renewables and Greystone Infrastructure Fund, to individual windfarm owners. Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen practically all that can happen on a windfarm, allowing us to deliver a solution focussed, hassle-free service for our customers.

If you’re interested in an asset management partner or would just like support on a particular issue, please call Ronan or Sheila on 059 865 0101, contact us via email at ronan.omeara@energypro.ie / sheila.layden@energypro.ie, or call into our offices in Athy, Cavan or Cork.

Testimonials
“We’ve been using EnergyPro’s GenWatch service at ABCDEF Windfarm since the start of iSEM. For us, it’s been brilliant. It takes away all the hassle of dealing with trader notifications, and worrying about how much we’ll potentially lose in penalties if there’s an outage over a weekend or during the holidays. I highly recommend it”

 

ENERGYPRO BLOG: How to optimise your Windfarm for iSEM?

Each month we take a look at the biggest issues and opportunities facing Windfarm owners in the Irish market and one of our experts gives you some ways that you can maximise the assets revenue. This month, Ronan O’Meara is speaking about I-SEM and its impact on the market place.

What are asset managers top concerns around iSEM?

We work with 15 windfarm owners around Ireland and the feedback that we are getting on the ground is that people are worried about missing out on potential revenue due to inaccurate data or receiving penalties due to delayed/late data. The penalty fees can vary from Day Ahead Market rate to Balancing Rate to fixed additional penalty fees, depending on the trading contracts.

What are you doing to help windfarm owners optimise themselves for iSEM?

We have launched a specific product, GenWatch, targeted at helping asset managers optimise their windfarm revenue potential. We have a live data feed that increases the ability for owners to receive

  • Immediate notifications of faults
  • Real time updates on return to service times
  • Alerts on market underpayments by using live export meter feed
  • Automated compliance that are pre-programmed for specific timeframes (weekly, monthly, daily)

All of the received, help the windfarm owners reduce the risk of penalties and inaccurate data. The feedback that we have gotten from our customers has been that in addition to the data, the Monitoring Centre has also been a key reason why they are using this product. The GenWatch Monitoring Centre is open 7 day per week 6am-midnight and it is taking the pressure off them as the system is being looked after out of hours.

Are there simple things an asset manager can do to ?

Yes, there are a number of simple things that asset manager can do to improve their position in an iSEM environment. Keeping detailed records in a searchable database can help when any issues arise with traders. Setting up automated alerts for data failure can help you react in time to issues and prevent increased penalties for not providing live data. It is really about creating systems within your business to deal effectively with issues, record them and have them fixed within the shortest possible time period.

What will happen in regards to Brexit?

The switch to iSEM is also coming at a time when the country is wondering what is going to happen with Brexit. As this is an all island electricity market the future Irish-British relations will certainly impacted by the negotiations. We are not 100% sure what is going to happen next. There is an interesting opportunity for Windfarm owners who want to scope out the effect of Brexit on their business through Intertrade Ireland which is offering €2,250 worth of expert support to cater towards preparing for Brexit.  https://intertradeireland.com/brexit/brexit-start-to-plan-vouchers/

What is your top tip for Asset Managers?

From our experience our advice is always “Plan, Record, Respond”. It is all about implementing systems to reduce the impact of any faults and having quick and easy access to the reports that you need.

Careers – Part-Time Accounts Technician

We are looking to add a strong accounts technician to our team on a part-time basis (circa 20 hours per week) for a 3 month contract initially with a view to being extended or made permanent.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Processing invoices
  • Making Bank Payments
  • Reconciling accounts
  • Data entry

Required Attributes:

  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Excellent numerical skills
  • Prior experience working as an accounts assistant/accounts administrator
  • Excellent Microsoft Excel skills

Preferred:

  • Experience in Sage accounting software would be a distinct advantage
  • Payroll experience would be a distinct advantage

Competitive salary on offer commensurate with experience.

To apply, please email your CV in confidence using the subject line “2018 Accounts Technician”.

Please submit applications by 5pm on Friday 17th August 2018

Unfortunately, we will not accept any applications from recruitment agencies. We request that candidates please apply directly.

Careers – Technical Windfarm Analyst

We are looking to add a highly skilled renewable energy analyst to our team.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Analysis of operational windfarms
  • Co-ordination of maintenance activities on site
  • Analysing availability, fault and production trends
  • Preparation of monthly and annual operational reports
  • Development of analysis tools and workflows

Required Attributes:

  • Relevant honours degree or equivalent qualification
  • Excellent numerical skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Highly computer literate (especially with Excel)

Competitive salary on offer commensurate with experience.

To apply, email your CV in confidence to careers@energypro.ie using the subject line “2018 Technical Analyst”

Please submit applications by 5pm Friday 23rd March, 2018.

Unfortunately, we will not accept any applications from recruitment agencies. We request that candidates please apply directly.