Cavan wind farms get energy push from Airtricity


4 Feb 2004

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Irish green energy player Airtricity has entered into a deal with Power Management to implement enterprise energy management software that will monitor electricity production from its Cavan wind farms.

Located on the Slieve Rushen Mountain in County Cavan, the site’s two 1.5 megawatt wind turbines produce three megawatts of clean electricity for the Irish electricity grid – enough power to serve approximately 2,000 households. Airtricity was established in 1997 to develop wind energy in Ireland and abroad and currently is developing wind farms in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the UK and the US. It currently supplies green renewable energy to 30,000 commercial customers in the Republic and Northern Ireland and has operational wind farms in Donegal, Sligo, Cavan and Wicklow.

According to a report by Scottish consultants Garrad Hassan, wind energy could provide 16pc of energy needs on the island of Ireland by 2010. Ireland is in a unique position to promote the growth of wind energy and at least 2,000 megawatts of wind generation could be added to our electricity system in future years, it adds. Two thousand megawatts is equivalent to several large gas or coal-fired stations.

Power Management’s regional representative in Ireland, Premium Power, has equipped each turbine in Corneen with one ION 7600 intelligent energy meter.

The meters then report back to a PC workstation running Power Measurement’s ION Enterprise software at the Airtricity headquarters in Dublin. According to Eddie O’Connor, chief executive of Airtricity, this energy management system performs three primary functions: advanced power-quality analysis, condition monitoring, and revenue-certified energy metering.

“At Corneen, we’re using some of the most advanced wind turbine technology available, so when we considered metering equipment, we wanted something equally capable,” said O’Connor. “In addition to metering the output of each turbine, each ION 7600 monitors vital operating conditions such as temperature, oil pressure, and critical vibration levels. With this information, we can ensure that each turbine is operating as efficiently as possible, schedule maintenance appropriately, and respond quickly to any potentially disruptive conditions.”

Reliable communications are also important because, like many wind farms, the remote location of the Corneen installation makes each site visit an expensive and time-consuming process. The ION 7600 offers several flexible communications options that can accommodate remote monitoring and control in several ways, including modem over landline or satellite. And to accommodate future upgrades and expansion, each meter can send status reports and alarms via email over Ethernet, and even host its own onboard webpage.

By John Kennedy