The increasing demand for power to be generated from renewable sources has led to the development of a number of wind farms in the North Sea. One of these is Meerwind Süd│Ost which comprises a total of 80 wind turbines and is located over 100km off the coast of north-western Germany. Combined, the 3.6MW turbines generate enough electricity to power around 360,000 homes.
When selecting a communications solution for the new wind farm, the operators faced a number of requirements and challenges.
- Flexibility: the radio system needed to be flexible as it was to be used during construction, commissioning and operation. Talkgroup requirements would also vary significantly according to the various operational stages.
- Over-the-air re-programming: given the remote and challenging nature of the environment, it was important to be able to carry out remotely adjustments to talkgroups and other aspects of the system.
- Common technology: to be able to cater for potential emergencies using a technology that was both shared with police and fire services and was also specifically designed for emergency service usage.
- Advanced functionality: in an offshore environment the radio system can require complex functionalities such as priority and emergency calls, and automatic person location (APL).
- Safety: wind farm operatives may be required to undertake dangerous tasks such as sea rescues, fire-fighting, dealing with oil spills, working at height and in enclosed spaces. For this reason, a significant degree of redundancy and a high level of functionality in direct mode are vital aspects of the wind farm's communication system.
The choice of a TETRA communication solution by Sepura was a logical step for Meerwind Süd│Ost. TETRA was able to meet all of the wind farm's specific communication requirements and challenges, while Sepura was able to offer not only a very comprehensive technical solution, but also extensive experience and understanding of the wind farm sector.
Sepura's solution utilised a combination of FR400 and Solo base stations, located at on-shore bases such as Bremerhaven and Esbjerg (in Denmark). This infrastructure, which is being adjusted as the construction phase develops, provides the network on which Sepura TETRA radios operate. The wind farm's system utilises STP8000 and STP9000 hand-portables alongside SRG3900 mobile radios, which are primarily mounted in vessels. These key elements are then supported both by Sepura's robust accessories, including remote speaker microphones, and by a PC dispatcher