Offshore Wind


A wind farm in Scotland was granted planning permission, and a connection in principal was offered. However, SSE was concerned about the number of wind turbine transformers that could potentially be energised simultaneously. Energisation of unloaded transformers results in a magnetising inrush current with a high amplitude.

These inrush currents can have many unfavourable outcomes, such as:

  • Operational failure of transformer differential protection
  • Deterioration of the insulation and mechanical support structure of windings
  • Reduced power quality of the system

Without controlled switching, the energisation may occur at any time on the voltage wave, producing a high current peak. When the transformer core is driven into saturation.

The wind turbines’s power transformers, a vital component of the 11 kV electric power network, required protective relays with very high dependability, security, and speed of operation. However, the magnetising peak current, which is often generated when the transformer is energised, may have caused false tripping of the differential relay protection. Therefore, a reduction in peak current would be necessary. Some methods have been used to reduce high peak currents. Pre-insertion of series resistors and synchronous closing of circuit breakers are examples of the available mitigation techniques.

In this case, Engineering Power Solutions concluded that the most convenient and cost-effective solution was to control transformer energisation through operational procedures employing controlled step sequencing methods, switching on transformers individually through a PLC-based system.

Given the tight deadlines and budget restraints, the level of service Engineering Power Solutions provided was outstanding. The offshore UPS consolidation project was engineered and designed to the platform’s requirements and offshore standards minimising platform shutdowns.

Mr Low – Petrofac Oil&Gas