Partnership transforms HV Lab

Published 24 July 2014

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s UKAS accredited High Voltage Electrical Laboratory has taken delivery of a 640kV resonant transformer in collaboration with Doble Engineering.

The new partnership gives the High Voltage (HV) laboratory, based at the National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth, an enhanced capability enabling testing on bushings, high voltage power cables and other transmission system equipment up to 640kV levels. The combination of the HV laboratory testing and Doble’s field testing experience will provide the market with an independently accredited testing and problem solving service.

The laboratory, which has a long track record of delivering type certification and development test support, performing failure investigations, life extension opportunity assessments and technology validation support relating to new technologies, was awarded accreditation by UKAS for the testing of power cable systems in 2013; complementing the lab’s existing ASTA/Intertek credentials. The arrival of the 640kV transformer enhances the existing 1MV DC voltage supply capability, and is a significant upgrade to the AC test capability in the laboratory. It allows power frequency (50Hz) AC withstand testing as part of the type test requirement on equipment for use on systems with operational voltage levels up to 400kV.  The transformer will also be used to carry out insulation breakdown testing on HV power cables, such as partial discharge (PD), radio interference voltage (RIV) and tan delta tests.

With wave and tidal array power systems being developed and offshore oil, gas and offshore wind inter-array systems moving to ever higher operational voltages, these test services and skills will help to support the development and certification of the next generation of offshore transmission and distribution power systems.

Alex Neumann, Head of HV at ORE Catapult said: “Electrical infrastructure is a key area of focus for the ORE Catapult. The combined strength of this partnership will enable us to deliver a unique and much needed development platform to the market.

“With the demise of testing facilities of this nature in the UK over the past decades, it is refreshing that partnerships like this can be formed to make best use of existing infrastructure to deliver a quality assured, efficient and future-facing business opportunity.  The interests of both organisations complement one another, which makes collaboration appealing from a technical as well as business perspective.”

Lee Morgan, Regional Sales Manager UK and Ireland, Doble Engineering, added: “Doble Engineering Co have been serving the electric power industry for almost a century, and pride themselves on being an independent source of knowledge and experience on such critical assets. Partnering with ORE Catapult, who share this stance, enables a vital technical gap to be plugged in the region of HV Testing.

“With the industry facing increasing cost challenges, it is of huge importance that utilities ensure they are making the most of existing assets, and that they have the confidence in taking decisions based on engineering expertise and knowledge to allow them into service and beyond.”

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