Aggreko powers Irish mine during wind farm connection

Aggreko Powers Irish Mine During Wind Farm Connection

1 October 2009: Aggreko, the global leader in temporary power and temperature control solutions, has provided 19 MW of temporary power to enable the Lisheen Mine in central Ireland to operate during the installation of a nearby wind farm, and ensure that the important green energy initiative could be  completed on schedule.

The Lisheen Mine in County Tipperary, owned by Anglo American plc,  is one of the largest producers of zinc concentrates in Europe,  extracting  around  €1.5 million of zinc and lead every day. The mining operation runs on two shifts a day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week – except for one half-hour maintenance period every week - making it vitally important to avoid any interruption to the power supply.

In April 2008, SWS Energy acquired Lisheen Wind farm Ltd from the Lisheen Mine and began work on a project to erect 18 Vestas 2 MW turbines on the site.  Before the wind farm could be connected to the national grid, however, new transformers had to be installed on the site, with inevitable disruption to the mine’s power supply.

Jim Smith from the Lisheen Mine said: “It was vital the mine could continue to operate during the construction of the wind farm. Temporarily shutting down the site was not an option.  Powering the mine was a mission-critical operation and we were confident that Aggreko would carry out the task successfully.”

The commissioning of the new transformers on the site took one week and Aggreko was called in to provide 19 MW of temporary power to keep the mine operational during that time.

Paul Daly,  sales engineer for Aggreko in Ireland,  said:  “A project of this size required significant preparation and expert technical project management.  It  involved months of extensive and detailed meetings between the mine, the energy company and our team to ensure the project ran smoothly.  The main criteria was to maintain 9 MW of power to operate the mine’s underground pumps,  which remove  90 million litres of water per day to prevent the mine from flooding.”

Aggreko provided 24 x 1250 kVA generators, linked to five 6.3 kVA transformers, which were connected to the mine’s switchgear.  Contractors used the half-hour maintenance window  to switch the mains power and start the temporary power provision of  9 MW needed for the pumps, increasing power until the  19MW capacity had been reached.   Aggreko also provided a fuel-management service to maintain the fuel tanks for the generators,  which held 122,000 litres.

Donal Smith, project manager from SWS Energy said: “Lisheen Mine was identified as an ideal location to build a wind farm.  The site already had a substation, overhead connection to the national power grid, attendant infrastructure and plenty of available wind. However, there were a few improvements which needed to be made. Working with Aggreko meant we could get on with the job of upgrading the necessary facilities and stay on target with our project deadline.  We were really impressed with the consideration the Aggreko team gave to our situation and we can now focus on completing the wind farm by the end of the year, which will provide enough renewable energy to power more than 25,000 homes.”

Aggreko serves many customers throughout Ireland, from utility providers to venues for major sporting and entertaining events and is supported by a dedicated team of sales and service engineers that provide technical expertise and solutions.