Operated on a 24 hour/7 day per week basis, the Control Room in Great Yarmouth is at the heart of all O&M (Operations and Maintenance) at the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm.
A sophisticated SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system enables the Control Room Engineers to monitor both the Dudgeon, and Hywind, Offshore Wind Farms in real time. This provides information on the output of the wind turbine generators and all the related system parameters including current, voltage, temperature and functionality status. It also enables the majority of the equipment controlling the wind farm to be remotely operated from Great Yarmouth and, when necessary, to remotely set the output of the wind farm.
All maintenance and repair work on the Dudgeon network is controlled through the Work Release System, and the issue of Safety Documents acts as the official sanction for work to be undertaken. The Work Release System is operated by the Control Room engineers, who are responsible for responding to faults on the electrical network so that maximum generation can be restored as soon as is practically possible.
All the electricity produced by the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm is transmitted to National Grid for distribution, and the Control Room is the wind farm’s point of contact with National Grid. As well as ensuring full compliance with all codes of practice, the Control Room is responsible for providing National Grid with advance notice of the anticipated level of electricity output from the wind farm, and for updating that generation output data when necessary.
A Control Room Engineer typically works a 7 hour shift, but there are also 10 hour and 12 hour shifts within the manning rota, depending on the day of the week a nd the time of day. No two shifts are ever the same, but all of them start and end with a handover between the Control Room Engineers.
A shift involves close interaction with office staff, field teams at the Necton substation and those working offshore. Each day there are pre-arranged calls at 08:00 and 15:00 hours to discuss the latest events and activities, and to review plans for at least the coming 24 hours. Information systems, including Bazefield, REMIT and EDT, are updated in real time so that there is always an up to date picture available of the operational state of the wind farm including generation output, wind turbine availability, network status, work taking place and people location.