Wind energy projects employ large wind turbines to generate commercial power from renewable energy, which is often referred to as green power. One of SeaWest`s latest projects, Foote Creek Rim, is a 69 unit project located near Arlington, Wyoming. Each wind turbine has the capacity to generate 600 kW of energy feeding a combined output of more than 40 Mega Watts to the power grid. Each turbine has a controller located at the base of its tower. The controller is involved in all aspects of the turbine`s operation, including starting and placing the unit online, turning the nacelle into the wind as it shifts, adjusting the blade pitch for maximum generation based on the current wind conditions, and taking the unit off-line when wind speed goes above or below preset speeds. Each controller also performs the functions of a remote terminal unit (RTU), providing important operating parameters to a SCADA master computer located in a 34.5 kV/230 kV substation. Operations & maintenance (O&M) personnel, in an off-site facility linked to the substation via microwave, monitor wind and generation conditions for the entire plant.
The Foote Creek Rim facility is located on one of the windiest ridges in North America and is subject to lightning strikes. CC&E Engineers, Salt Lake City, Utah, was selected to evaluate various fiber-optic options and design a simple yet robust fiber network that would connect the turbines and the MET stations to the SCADA master located at the 230 kV/34.5 kV substation at the north end of the project. The H&L Instruments Fiber Loop II System from H&L was selected because it greatly simplified the fiber network`s physical complexity and provided many benefits that were previously available only in high-capacity fiber networks.