Neos Networks / SSE Renewables

Neos Networks to connect Viking Wind Farm to SSE Renewables HQ

Business connectivity provider constructs communications links between wind farm being built on Scottish island and headquarters on mainland more than 300 miles away with machine-to-machine network to control and monitor performance of wind turbines remotely

Business connectivity provider Neos Networks has been appointed by renewable energy firm SSE Renewables to support the provision and delivery of a machine-to-machine (M2M) network designed to enable the energy provider to control and monitor the performance of 103 wind turbines remotely and provide links back from Shetland to SSE’s headquarters in Perth. 

SSE Renewables develops and operates onshore and offshore wind farms and hydroelectric generation in the UK and Ireland. The company has a stated plan to double its installed renewable energy capacity to 8GW by 2026 with the target to increase renewables output fivefold to over 50TWh annually by 2031 – enough, says the company, to be able to power around 20 million homes each year. This will see SSE Renewables maintaining a sustained renewables pipeline in excess of 15GW, and a trebling of its owned renewables capacity to over 13GW (net) from 4GW (net) today.

Starting its construction in 2020, the Viking Wind Farm is one of the largest projects of its type in the UK. With construction set to be complete in 2024, it is expected to be one of the UK’s most productive wind farms, capable of providing energy for nearly half a million homes.

The project will also contribute to Shetland’s security of supply by underpinning the HVDC transmission link that will connect the islands to the mainland for the first time. The wind farm will not only provide a reliable, renewable energy source for the island’s 23,000-strong population, but it will also power homes across the UK. It is also predicted to generate £2.2m annually in community benefit revenue for the islands over its expected 25-year operational lifetime.

The provision of connectivity infrastructure, in tandem with an undersea 600-megawatt high-voltage power cable, is seen as vital to delivering the project, enabling the islands to generate wind power for the rest of the UK. As well as creating around 300 jobs during its construction, the completed project will also diversify the local economy and introduce around 35 permanent employment positions and apprenticeships on the islands.

Communications links are vital for the efficient running of wind turbines. Performance data can be monitored locally and back at SSE Renewables headquarters to ensure the farm is operating at maximum efficiency, with the M2M comms across the entire site also highlighting any potential issues and enabling preventative maintenance.

Neos Networks will provide communications links between the Viking Wind Farm, being constructed in mainland Shetland, and the headquarters of SSE Renewables, in Perth on the Scottish mainland, more than 300 miles away.

“We’re pleased to be working with Neos to deliver the communications links we will need to ensure the efficient operation of Viking Energy Wind Farm,” said Derek Hastings, SSE Renewables’ head of onshore projects. “The solution Neos is providing will allow us to share and monitor local wind farm performance data in real time with SSE’s world-class renewable operations centre in Perth, once the wind farm enters commercial operation. This will be crucial in helping ensure that Viking, as the UK’s most productive onshore wind farm, operates at maximum efficiency to deliver home-grown renewable energy to consumers in Shetland and the wider UK.”

Andy Ainsley, head of energy and utilities at Neos Networks, added: “With any new facility of this size, scope and importance, deploying and provisioning first class communications links is critical to its operational performance. We’re delighted to have been entrusted with this vital element of the project.”

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