Consultancy

Experts in High Voltage Electrical Engineering

Power System Consultancy Areas

As power system consultants, 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 select the correct type of HV or LV switchgear configuration, to protection tripping investigations, through to designing a complex 275kV GIS transmission substations, and even an entire electrical distribution system.

At SPE 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. SPE’s specialist HV 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.

Concept Development

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. SPE 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 SPE 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.

New Electrical Supplies

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. SPE 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 SPE can help analyse different options of DNO supply approaches and advise on the most suitable, and cost effective approach.

Renewable Energy

SPE 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 SPE 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 modelling package.

 Client Engineer Role 

Where a company does not have much in-house electrical expertise, or are dealing with a project that is outside of their comfort zone, SPE can act as a ‘Client Engineer’ on their behalf. This is where one of SPE’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 SPE engineer can review design documents, attend design review meetings, factory acceptance tests and site tests, as well as liaise directly with utility companies.

System Upgrade Studies 

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 SPE 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 Quality Reviews

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. SPE 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. SPE 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.

Due Diligence Studies 

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. SPE’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.

Operability / Safety Investigations 

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. SPE 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, SPE can provide a specialist engineer to review the design / operating condition and provide an opinion of the safety of such an approach.

 

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Key Features

  • General power system consultants
  • Preparation of initial power system design concepts
  • Single line diagram preparation
  • ETAP studies
  • PSCAD studies
  • System health checks
  • Combined Heat & Power / CHP Systems
  • Equipment selection and evaluation
  • Independent design reviews and verification
  • Advice on overhead line and cable diversions
  • IEC 61850 implementation
  • Generator selection and application
  • Emergency Generators
  • Protection scheme development
  • Power Factor Correction
  • Power Quality improvement
  • Use of GIS equipment
  • Substation design and optimisation
  • Application guidance on Variable Speed Drives and Harmonic Filters
  • Support during FATs and commissioning
  • Safety & operability / SAFOP reviews
  • Due Diligence reviews
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