This week saw another major milestone with the delivery of the first main turbine components to site. The first few deliveries were delayed by a few issues with paperwork when leaving the Port of Blyth, but otherwise had uneventful journeys up the A1 to site, escorted by Northumbria Police.
The weather was good on Monday meaning the blades were all offloaded quickly so the lorries could head back to Blyth, after contracting the trailers back to standard length.
On Tuesday we had another delivery of blades, along with the first nacelle (the that sits at the top of the tower to house the generator and gearbox), hub (the component holding the three blades once erected) and drivetrain (the assembly which is linked to the hub, comprising the gearbox and generator). These components are separated to split the weight for ease of transport and lifting.
Unfortunately the high winds yesterday delayed the second set of blades being offloaded until this morning, meaning the lorries couldn’t get back to Blyth to collect and deliver the final set of blades today – they will come later in the week. We’re hoping to get three tower sections delivered and offloaded tomorrow, ready to start installation on Friday when the wind is expected to drop. These are the only 3 weeks we don’t want wind!
Excalon have reported that their cabling works for SP Energy Networks are on-track, with no changes expected to the planned road closure dates at present.
Just a brief update, the dates and times for the blades next week remain the same (Mon-Wed, around 1130-1230), but the hub, nacelle and drive-train convoys will arrive a little later on the Tuesday and Wednesday, around 1330-1400 we anticipate. The two small auxiliary cranes will also arrive on Monday morning.
Main build (towers just-in-time, so subject to change if installation is delayed by weather)
– Thursday September 29th 2016 = Tower deliveries T1
– Friday September 30th 2016 = Tower deliveries T1 and start of erection at T1,
– Tuesday 4th October 2016 = Tower deliveries T2,
– Wednesday 5th October 2016 = Tower deliveries and start of erection at T2,
(T3 Nacelle, Hub, Drive-train delivery TBC)
– Monday 10th October 2016 = Tower deliveries T3,
– Tuesday 11th October 2016 = Tower deliveries and start of erection T3
We’ve been told to expect the deliveries between around 11.30-12.30 on these dates, although the cranes may arrive at slightly different times. We’re fairly certain of the delivery dates for next week, but after that there is the potential for change if there are delays in installation due to weather or issues with police escort availability – we’ll get updates from Nordex on a weekly basis to confirm if there are any changes. The blades and tower sections are the longest loads which will have police escorts as well as escort vans from the transport provider, Mar-Train. The nacelle, hub and drivetrain are all shorter (but wide) loads, so will only require escort vehicles from Mar-Train. Likewise the main crane will have an escort vehicle from the provider, Ainscough.
We will shortly put up some signs along the route to warn road users of the abnormal load delivery times and dates – these will only display the dates for next week at the moment until the other dates are confirmed. All the public roads along the route will remain open, so the only disruption is likely to be people being held in lay-bys for a few minutes until the loads pass by. Each individual convoy is likely to comprise three lorries (3x blades, 3 tower sections or nacelle, hub and drive-train) plus the escort vehicles, and after leaving the A1 they will all travel at a maximum of 20mph up to the site entrance. All being well, the turbines should be installed by mid-October. Apologies in advance for any delays.
We’ve now been passed details of the forthcoming road closures from Excalon, the SP Energy Networks contractor. Apologies for the late notice, it seems to have taken a while to get final approval from East Lothian Council, which was only received yesterday. Excalon took on board comments and suggestions from the two community council meetings, but ultimately it was up to the councils who had the final decision on the dates and sections to be closed. The community councils should hear separately from East Lothian roads department, whom I’m told are arranging for any school bus diversions required.
The coloured plan above shows the different sections which will be subject to road closures and temporary traffic lights. The grey, white, lilac and dark green sections are for the Kinegar connection rather than Hoprigshiels, but I’ve included them on here for clarity. The closure dates are as follows;
Closure A, 19/9-7/10 (blue) – the junction near the A1 north of Innerwick to the junction of this minor road with the road to Crowhill
Closure B, 31/10-4/11 (pink) – the short section in between the Crowhill junction, and the junction of the road to Innerwick
Closure C, 10/10-28/10 (orange) – the Innerwick junction to Thornton Bridge
Closure E, 14/11-18/11 (lilac) – Thorntonloch Bridge junction to A1
Closure F, 12/9-23/9 (red) – Thornton Bridge to junction with road to Branxton
Closure G, 26/9-21/10 (purple) – junction with road to Branxton to junction with road to Oldhamstocks Mains
Closure H, 24/10-4/11 (yellow) – junction with road to Oldhamstocks Mains to junction at the Cockit Hat Strip
Closure I, 12/9-23/9 (light green) – Cockit Hat Strip to Oldhamstocks
Closure J, 26/9-21/10 (brown) – Oldhamstocks to Hoprig
Closure K, 5/9-18/9 (grey) – Hoprig Road
Temporary traffic lights 1, 12/9-16/9 (black) – from the substation being built north of Innerwick, to the junction near the A1
Temporary traffic lights 2, 24/10-28/10 (white) – on the A1 outside Torness
In roughly chronological order this means the closures will be as follows;
Closure K, 5/9-18/9 (grey)
Closure F, 12/9-23/9 (red)
Closure I, 12/9-23/9 (light green)
Closure A, 19/9-7/10 (blue)
Closure G, 26/9-21/10 (purple)
Closure J, 26/9-21/10 (brown)
Closure C, 10/10-28/10 (orange)
Closure H, 24/10-4/11 (yellow)
Closure B, 31/10-4/11 (pink)
Closure D, 31/10-25/11 (dark green)
Closure E, 14/11-18/11 (lilac)
The dates above are for the installation of the ducting which forms the major works; Excalon will then go back along the cable routes and open up joint bays to pull the cable through, between the 31st of October and 30th of November, but it is normally possible to do this with traffic management rather than full road closures.
Excalon have sent out letters to everyone in the Oldhamstocks and Innerwick area who may be affected, with details of the closures and a number to call if there are any queries. For those living directly within one of the road closures, access will be maintained for them, albeit they may need to follow a diversion to avoid areas being immediately worked on. Excalon will work most weekends in order to minimise the duration of the closures, and when they are not working they will endeavour to open the road. Please note that although they will work hard to keep to the dates shown (and to complete works earlier when possible), ground conditions are still unknown so changes can’t be ruled out. We will try to keep you all up to date with any changes as regularly as possible.
Below are three maps showing the different areas with the closure dates shown on each:
Apologies in advance for any inconvenience caused by the connection works, and thanks again for your patience.
We’re into the final rush now to complete the civil and electrical works before the arrival of the turbines at the end of the month. Most of the on-site cabling is completed apart from the final section down to T3, where we’re waiting for the crops to be harvested. The grass is starting to grow where it was reseeded after landscaping, which is helping make the disturbed ground look very neat and tidy again.
At T2 you can see the cable where it has been pulled through the foundation ducts and coiled up ready for connection to the turbine transformer and switchgear.
At T3, the contractors have finished a turning head below the turbine, which will allow the crane and empty lorries to turn around after unloading. This also serves as a link road into the existing farm track to enable the farmer to access the rest of his fields from the hardstanding.
Once the final cabling is done, the final bits of work will be some landscaping around T3, and a few minor bits of road widening on the haul road to allow the turbine components past.
Exciting news for us last week, with the arrival at the Port of Blyth of all of our turbine components. We’re expecting deliveries to site to start on around the 26th of September, but we’re waiting for confirmation from the police who will escort the blades and tower sections.
Our turbine manufacturer Nordex asked their transport firm Mar-Train to conduct a trial run with an empty lorry, with a trailer extended out to the full length it would be for these deliveries, to ensure there were no problems on the route. This trial run happened on Monday.
There were no issues getting out of the Port of Blyth, which is used regularly for turbine deliveries, and no problems up the A1 either. The convoy turned off the A1 just south of Cockburnspath, following our usual approved route, and then up the road towards Ecclaw to our site entrance. We’ll do a bit of trimming here so the blade tip can oversail the hedge – the ladder on the back of the lorry was used to simulate the blade overhang!
The convoy then progressed through the Kinegar site, and up the quarry haul road. There are a few minor bits of work the trial run highlighted which we’ll need to carry out to widen a few corners here, which won’t be an issue.
Once on the site, the lorry drove down each of the three turbine spur roads to check all the corners and gradients were suitable. You can get a sense of the scale of the components from the side-on shot of the lorry below as it turns around at T1, ready to head down to T2.
We’ll keep you posted about the final delivery dates and times once these have been confirmed.