Ray Wind Farm Handed Over Successfully

The Ray Wind Farm, operated by Vattenfall, sits on the Ray Estate in Northumberland. It comprises of 16 turbines generating 54.4 megawatts of electricity to the National Grid annually, and will continue to do so for the next 25 years – the life of the  Ray Wind Farm.

The project, which commenced in July 2015, was for a 16 turbine wind farm (3.5MW Senvion turbines) and included the construction and upgrading of site tracks, construction of new site junction, turbine foundations, crane hardstandings, control building and piped culverts. The 24km of contestable grid connection works that were also part of the contract included horizontal directional drilling below Hadrian’s Wall and the North Tyne River.

Ray Wind Farm Electrical Infrastructure Project

Powersystems  successfully completed and handed over the Ray Wind Farm electrical infrastructure project.  Fulfilling its contract to provide the design, supply, installation and commissioning services of the 54.4MW Ray Wind Farm. 

A 26km 33kV grid connection route made up of 6 x 33kV power cables, fibre optic cables, over 300 terminations and 4 x overhead line section points, all undertaken by Powersystems as the Independent Connection Provider (ICP) in Northern Powergrid’s region.

Ray Wind Farm Key Issues for the Project Team

• Successfully managed for 61 no. protected species along the route
• Archaeological constraints – protection of various cairns, mine shafts and a 400 BC roundhouse
• Direction drilling under Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site
• Working in difficult weather conditions (rainfall in December 2015 was 300% above the monthly average)
• Close liaison with landowners and tenants
• Difficult access to both open moorland and minor roads throughout Northumberland
• Construction through challenging ground conditions requiring specialist activities such as ground penetrating radar, grouting and well pointing

Powersystems team and collaboration efforts  again proved their ability to work in partnership with the main civil contractor, turbine installer and the wind farm client to deliver this project to plan, as well as  provide an extra level of service and support to accommodate any additional requirements throughout the project.

Ray Wind Farm Funds

For every year of Ray Wind Farms working life, Vattenfall will donate money to the rural communities that fall within the catchment area of the Wind Farm, largely the parishes of Bavington, Birtley, Corsenside, Elsdon, Kirkwhelpington, Otterburn, Rothley and Wallington, or within 10km of the Wind Farm i.e. ‘the Area of Benefit’.   The annual figure donated is £5,000 per megawatt of generated output, index-linked, for the life of the Wind Farm – more than £250,000 per year, commencing in 2018.

To ensure the transparent distribution of funds within the communities, a Community Interest Company has been established with Board members representing each of six parish councils within the catchment area, plus seven lay members appointed to further represent their respective communities. Each will serve a term of three years (renewable). The Community Interest Company (CIC) is legally registered and is accountable to Vattenfall.

There are three funds: The Small Grants Programme (SGP) managed and administered by The Community Foundation Tyne & Wear, which awards grants up to £10,000 for charitable projects; the Local Initiatives Fund (LIF), administered by the CIC, which is flexible in scope and can make larger awards; and the Legacy Fund.  

Ray Windfarm gained UK Government approval in 2005 and work started in 2015.  Now that it is fully operational it is able to provide electricity for 30,000 homes directly into the national grid transmission network, for the benefit of customers across the UK.

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