Blogging Isn’t Always Easy

Today, it was 2nd down, and 1/2 yard to go. And we didn’t cross the finish line. The two new turbines will produce no power tonight. And likely no power tomorrow, or Thursday. And who knows for how long. Arrrrrrrgggghhhh!!!!!
The inspectors from the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) were at the site today to do inspection. It was the type of weather that caused Noah to build an Ark. Perhaps I should switch to waterpower – it would seem they have lots of resource. We are giving the driveways a good drainage test.

The interest cost on the new turbines is $1000/day. We need to start producing. NOW! I won’t be measuring my blood pressure for the next while. It would be off the charts.

ESA was at the site last Friday, and I was secretly hoping that we would be able to operate when they were done with that inspection. But the cable connection within the wind towers, and connecting the towers to the padmount transformers was not yet complete. So of course approval could not be granted. But it was still good to let the inspectors see the installation, so they could be aware of the issues they would need to consider when the work was complete. Over the weekend, the cable installation work was completed.

Today, ESA found some problems. The biggest one was the interlock system. Electrical safety standards have come up with some fairly ingenious systems to protect workers. An interlock system has a key, that you can only extract once a switch is opened. For the project expansion, the key that allows access to the padmount transformers on the new turbines should only be available when the switch at the substation is open. When that switch is open, there is no power supplied to the turbines. And that means that service work on the transformers at the turbine can be performed safely, and so the key is available to provide access to the padmount transformer.

The interlock system that was installed was not failsafe. Good catch by ESA. That’s what they are there for. Now we are scambling to get a failsafe system installed. But it means that we need to do some re-work, and we can’t operate yet.
There were a few other small issues. A cable to the transformer needs to be replaced. Some cables in the turbine require markings. A few signs are required. This is normal – there are always a few safety improvements that can be made.

I had perhaps been deluding myself that we would be operating shortly, perhaps even today. But now we need to make the changes, and do another inspection. That is why blogging is hard. Bad news isn’t fun to write about. The “birds are flying” is an entry I am craving….
The turbine ESA inspection is a bit different than the padmount transformer installation inspection. Transformers are installed every day in Ontario, and they are inspected by ESA. It is routine. But wind turbines are mostly European designs, and European’s have different standards. The 2 V82’s that are being installed are the first two to be installed in Ontario, although hundreds have been installed in North America.

The ESA must review the drawings, and their field inspectors must spot check the installation, in order to confirm that the installation matches the drawings, and ESA must confirm that the drawings conform with Ontario’s code, and if not, provide permission to deviate, while still ensuring safety.

I am glad the ESA is there to enforce safe designs. I am disappointed that our substation/padmount transformer system didn’t quite get there. And I hope we get there soon. I want blogging to be fun again.

It is 3rd down, and 1 foot.

Puuuleeeeeeeze. Can we get it across the finish line?

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