As a power system consultancy, we see our role as supporting companies who are looking for some outside technical expertise to bolster their in-house knowledge. The scope of our consultancy activities can vary enormously and has ranged from helping developing system operation concepts, to selecting the correct type of HV or LV switchgear configuration, protection tripping investigations, through to designing an entire electrical distribution system.
At Aurora we pride ourselves on offering, practical, clear, cost effective and concise advice on how to tackle a particular problem or issue and are keen to help our Clients resolve a problem as swiftly as possible. Aurora’s specialist High Voltage power system consultants have worked on a wide range of large international projects as well as smaller UK based projects, and have experience of systems in the UK, Europe, North America, the Middle East and Africa; and a wide variety of projects including renewable power, transmission & distribution, process plants, mining facilities, water / sewage processing, power generation and building services.
Developing an initial power system design concept, from a blank piece of paper can seem like a daunting task, as there are many factors to consider and which require compromises between performance, reliability and cost. Aurora can help develop these designs to meet these conflicting requirements and help optimise any potential power system design, or plans for future expansion. As part of the concept development stage we will consider issues such as system redundancy, cost, suitable voltage levels, fault levels, equipment ratings and market availability as well as more frequently forgotten considerations like operability, expandability, outage planning and tie-ins. Where necessary Aurora can help your in-house team come up with realistic cost estimates for projects and help shape decisions on the best investment strategy for any capital assets.
A common requirement for any developer in the UK wishing to add a generator to their network is to navigate the process of completing a G99 application form and submitting it along with the necessary SLDs and fault level information to the DNO. This process can be very tricky, for developers who have limited in-house power system experience as the data required is not always obvious. Another common problem is understanding the DNO constraints and policy requirements, and what size generator will trigger major reinforcement costs. At Aurora we can help navigate this maze of information, and prepare outline SLDs and G99 forms adn liaise with the DNO on a Clients behalf.
When a company is considering a new development, it is usually necessary ether to get a new electrical supply from the DNO or upgrade the existing supply. While this may sound straight forward, DNOs can often be difficult to deal with directly and will frequently ask for information that may not readily available or in the specific form they require. Aurora can act on a Clients behalf to liaise directly with the DNO, and help gather the correct information, present it in a suitable way and complete the associated paperwork. In addition Aurora can help analyse different options of DNO supply approaches and advise on the most suitable, and cost effective approach.
Many project developers have limited in house technical expertise, and this can make dealing with DNOs a difficult and challenging task, similarly preparing and writing clear project scope for potential ICPs to bid against can also be challenging, so that all ICPs are bidding against the same project requirements, and scope is not missed or misunderstood. At Aurora we can work with you, to help liaise with the DNOs to ensure that their proposals are constraints are understood by everyone, and suggest changes to the project design to reduce or eliminate network reinforcement costs. Likewise we can act as an impartial review of ICP proposals to check that multiple bids are all based on the same project scope, and there are no unexpected exclusions.
Aurora have been involved in many renewable energy projects including wind farms, solar photovoltaic (PV) farms, Combined Heat & Power (CHP) plants as well as hydro power. This gives Aurora a broad appreciation of the different requirements of each of these systems, and how the electrical system and DNO interface must be developed in order for the system to operate correctly. Where necessary can also help analyse the expected electrical power output from the system using the ETAP or DigSilent modelling packages.
Where a company does not have much in-house electrical expertise, or are dealing with a project that is outside of their comfort zone, Aurora can act as a ‘Client Engineer’ on their behalf. This is where one of Aurora’s experienced power system consultants takes on the responsibility of reviewing and interacting with third parties on a Clients behalf. When undertaking this role, an Aurora engineer can review design documents, attend design review meetings, factory acceptance tests and site tests, as well as liaise directly with utility companies.
Power system frequently require upgrades due to equipment limits being exceeded, or exceeding their working life, and this can cause difficulties to owners who then face the difficulty of how to expand, or upgrade an operational plant in a cost effective way, without facing a major shut-down and loss of operational service. In these scenarios Aurora can examine the operation of the power system and try and identify mitigation strategies, tie-in points and give advice on planning network outages and developing strategies that allow upgrade of existing, overloaded systems without putting the system at risk.
Power systems are a major capital investment and are a significant ongoing operational cost; so any failures, or performance issues can lead to significant expense and cause a major drain on productivity. Aurora can help Clients optimise their electrical system for power factor correction, or by reducing harmonics, thus reducing the electricity costs from the DNO and reducing the chance of premature equipment failure. Aurora can help Clients undertake these studies by installing power quality monitoring equipment at strategic locations in the Client system, to obtain as accurate information as possible.
Before investing in new items of capital plant, or considering adoption of new technology types, it is often wise to undertake a due diligence study to confirm if the new equipment is suitable for use before committing large amounts of money to a new concept. Aurora’s experienced power system consultants have a wide depth and breadth of knowledge and can provide detailed reviews of the technologies maturity, reliability and suitability for the role and help Clients see past the technical brochures produced by the manufacturer, and ensure that the technology is right for them. As part of the due diligence process we can undertake a ‘cold eyes’ review of the initial concept and potentially spot any flaws before the design gets out of concept stage, and will thoroughly review all aspects of a system design or technology before giving our approval. As part of the due diligence process we will often insist on seeing the manufacturers works, and where appropriate key items of equipment in service.
It is becoming increasingly common for new and existing electrical systems to be subject to rigorous safety analysis, in a similar manner to HAZOP studies undertaken by process industries. These studies are known by a variety of names such as SAFOP, and OPAN, but all follow a structured review process to identify any potential flaws in the system design or operating procedures. Aurora can chair these workshops to help their facilitation, as well as preparation of fish-bone diagrams and cause-effect type diagrams. Where specific safety concerns exist, Aurora can provide a specialist engineer to review the design / operating condition and provide an opinion of the safety of such an approach.