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Club Meeting - Sean Kelly – Power Distribution

By Robin Cooter - Posted on 19 September 2015

Sean Kelly – Power Distribution

Sean, Sarah’s husband, just In case you are completely doolally, has talked to us a good few years back on a project he was working on laying a power cable between the Netherlands and the UK   Although he moved on from that project to Advising on cables to bring electricity ashore from offshore wind Farms he stated by updating us on the UK / Netherlands cable.

The size of everything connected with the project is huge.   The Size and weight of the transformers, the size of the “switch room” Room, the size of the cables, the number of boats, the size of the Underwater trench digger which looks about the size of an army tank And the £500 million that it cost!   (Sean – you have the right to correct me!)   If I understood correctly the power coming to the undersea cable is “transformed” into 450,000 volts and then “transformed” again from ac into dc current before being fed into Or taken out of the two cables – a positive and a negative.

The reason for the cable is so that if the UK has excess Electricity we can sell it to Europe and vice versa.   Today’s reality is that we are buying large quantities of cheap electricity From Europe, mainly Germany, where demand is down and wind and solar provide subsidised cheap electricity making the old coal fired power Stations uneconomic.   Sean regaled us with pictures showing the Scale of the operation and the consequences resulting from ships Propellers chopping up cables and ships anchors dragging and breaking them.    If your children or grandchildren and looking for a well-paid job Sean told us that the people who join or repair these cables Are unbelievably well paid!

Sean is now working on the systems used to bring power ashore from offshore wind farms.   Basically the power from each turbine is sent to an offshore substation, a very big hut stuck on top of a pole out at sea.   The turbines send the power at 33,000 volts to the substation, again the switch gear is rather large and there it is Upped to 132,000 volts AC and sent ashore through a three core cable, each copper core being the thickness of the base of a beer bottle.   These sub-stations need to be serviced four times a year and, on average get another four unplanned visits a year so most of the time they are just left alone to get on with sending the power ashore.   We saw Pictures of the huge crane lifting the sub-station onto its pole (the Crane costs £100,000 a day!) and pictures showing the “death defying climb” to get into the sub-station and the mass of safety equipment needed before anybody is allowed to climb.  From the number of questions the talk was clearly appreciated. 

Other News


Even more good news.   I’m getting the final accounts Coming through and find the Malawian kwacha was at around £1 = kwa 620 when the costings were made and that it was around £1 = kwa 850 When the invoices were paid and this means that not only have rotary Provided the school refurbishment and furniture for the library, staff Room and head’s office but, with £50 from Bwengu’s funds,  there Has been enough money to buy the books needed and to provide materials For pupils to sand down and varnish all the classroom furniture as Well as repairing all broken furniture.  This has released other Donations to fund solar lights, bursaries, and an evening adult Education programme on basic literacy and numeracy and a reward Programme for success in exams.   As Tony and Sue often quote  “it is difficult to ask a question of those that lead you if you Cannot read or write”.

Fancy a Nepalese Meal? 

Ignore my note of last week.  We have Just received a note from the Nuneaton Rotary. That they are organising a charity lunch at the “Crossed Khukris” restaurant on Sunday 29th November.   There is a tick list in the folder.   Do come a join us – it should be a fun event.

Run for Rotary

Dave now has a list of duties for the “Run for Rotary” on 27th. September.   If you volunteered to help please Check on dave’s list.   Most people will have more than one duty

Enterprise day, 1st October, Southam College  

At the moment numbers are picking up but we will still be rather thin on The ground.   If you have not committed yet please do so and if you Find, after all, that you can make it please do.

3rd October. Tin shake at the Shell garage.  

Bless you!  All slots are now filled.

Another Visit

Look out for the tick sheet regarding a visit to JLR Gaydon.


Steve reported that there are some funds available to Support projects but applications need to be in by 30th. September