- Category: Renewables
- Energy type: Onshore wind
- Project type: Asset
The Griffin wind farm is located just south of Aberfeldy, in Perthshire.
- 68 Siemens 2.3MW turbines
- total installed capacity of 156.4MW
Completed in early 2012, Griffin is located to the south of Aberfeldy in Perthshire. It was built on land which is a mixture of upland heather moorland, grassland and commercial forestry.
Griffin has three distinct groups of 30, 25 and 13 Siemens 2.3MW turbines from west to east on three broadly parallel ridges. The tip heights (the highest point of the rotor sweep) are up to 124m using 45m and 49m blades.
The neighbouring 14 turbine Calliachar wind farm is located to the west of Griffin.
My name is Katy Fraser, I'm 21 years old and I'm from a little town called Aberfeldy. I have just started my apprenticeship with SSE to become a Wind Turbine Technician. So you have an idea of the type of things we do in the apprenticeship scheme I am writing a regular blog which can be viewed below.
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Training and servicing
We have now completed Siemens Level 2 to 4 training. Levels two and three were about bolt torqueing and cabling, with some theory behind wind turbines thrown in, and level four was all electrical wiring and fault finding.
We have been out working with teams on site to complete annual servicing on the turbines. Servicing on turbines consist of filter changes, torqueing, stretching bolts, hydraulic testing, hydraulic samples, pitch calibration, cabinet checks and doing visual checks. Servicing a turbine usually lasts 5 days. At Griffin, as the turbines are still under warranty, we get to join teams with Siemens and work along side them.
We have also now completed our advanced rescue course which was down at Oldham with Capital Safety. For this, we had to climb a 25m telecom tower with all our climbing equipment on, we got to descend from a 30m tower using the rescue equipment, then we each had to complete a rescue within the turbine, either from the hub or from the yaw deck and also a ladder rescue each.
Back from holiday
After having a relaxing two week holiday, we arrived back and started our courses. The first week we had to learn all about safety and the company itself this included: the company's sectors, manual handling, environmental awareness, risk assessment and much more.
Over the coming months we have more courses that we have to go on in order to be able to start going out with the technician teams. We will be travelling to other parts of the country to complete these, we get to do our climbing and rescue course down in the training centre at Perth with the last day being at Griffin where we climb the turbines, we have Siemens level 2, 3 & 4 training down in Newcastle and Wind Turbine Advanced Rescue down in Oldham.
I'm looking forward to completing these courses in order to join the teams on site and do some hands on work.
After 10 months of learning, my time at college is finally over.
Over the course of the year, I had to complete 10 units, 3 of which were compulsory health and safety units, hand fitting where we made a G-clamp, and a scratch gauge. We had mechanical, electrical and hydraulic maintenance units where we had to undergo maintenance on a pump rig, power hacksaw and a hydraulic power unit.
It has been an interesting year, which I have enjoyed. At the beginning of the year I thought I would have enjoyed the mechanical side of course the most as I had a little background knowledge on it, however I found the electrical side to be equally interesting. Now we are all having a two week rest, before starting at our various locations.
Let Level 3 commence…
The final run
Our two weeks on site were spent doing monthly checks on the turbines, cleaning the store rooms, and doing basic maintenance tasks. I also managed to get a day in the training centre down in Perth to have a go on the climbing tower and get a feel for heights. I had a great time on site, meeting everyone that I could potentially be working with.
Now that we are back in college, we have a lot of work to get through before we break up in June. We have just finished learning all about hydraulics, and will soon be moving on to hydraulic maintenance. I was able to use some of the skills I was taught at college and put them into practise when I was on site.
Moving to the next stage
01 April 2014
Since we’ve completed all our outcomes in our Wind Turbine Theory and Systems class we were able to sit our exams. I’m pleased to say everyone is in high spirits because we all passed. We now have two weeks off college for Easter holidays which we will spend at our specific sites, in my case Griffin in Aberfeldy.
On my first day at the site I was given a site induction, explaining the site rules, phone numbers and general information. I was also given a tour of the wind farm in order to get a better feeling of its size and layout. As Griffin and Calliachar are so close we managed a site visit at Calliachar as well.
As soon as I arrived I was given a very warm welcome from everybody that works there and it seems as though it’s going to be a great place to work.
04 March 2014
As you can see the board is now complete. Thankfully everything worked first time and I had no problems to deal with.
We have completed one exam on Wind Turbine Theory and we are due another one in a few weeks time on Wind Turbine Systems. This means lots of revision is taking place in our classes. We have also began to learn about control and instrumentation. We're also working hard on our first outcome which is about Fibre Optics - how they are manufactured, why we use them, how we use them in wind turbine systems etc.
Everything we are learning is all beginning to fit into place with our future roles when we are finished in June and on site. I am really looking forward to getting onto site.
02 February 2014
It has been a very busy couple of weeks in mechanical, moving on from maintenance to hand fitting. It has also been busy in our electrical class where we are now onto our final board. To create our final board we had to follow specific instructions for placing a consumer unit, back boxes for switches and plugs. We had to measure out their placements and attach them to the board in the correct place as well as ensuring they were square.
After we had placed all the back boxes on we began wiring up the board, this involves using 1mm and 2.5mm PVC cable, steel wire armoured cable and MICC cable. I started with the PVC cable as this seemed the logical way of proceeding with the job. The PVC cable is used for lighting circuits and a radial power circuit.
I am nearly finished with the PVC and will be moving on to steel wire armoured cable and the MICC cable soon. This will be the first time I have worked with either of these and I’ve been told they’re more difficult to get to grips with. I will post more on this project when I am finished.
21 Jan 2014
As the Christmas festivities are over it is now back to the hard work of learning all about how wind turbines function. Now that we are back we have moved on from maintenance in mechanical to production (hand fitting).
We are nearly finished producing a pad saw, which has taught us all various skills along the way. We started by fabricating two oblong pieces of metal. We used a stencil to mark out the shape of the pad saw, then used a hacksaw and file to shape it down to a specific tolerance. Finally we drill holes in it with counter sunk rivots to hold the two pieces of metal together.
Within the two outer pieces we had a third piece of metal which was thinner to produce a gap which we would then fit the saw blade into. We had a 'GO' and a 'NO GO' gauge to go by. Once it fitted through GO gauge we then began to file and polish it down to refine it, as you can see I still have a bit of polishing down to go.
I have enjoyed making the pad saw as it’s something I've never had the chance to do before. We are now moving on to making a four hole block.
Wiring and testing
24 Dec 2013
Over the last few weeks we have been very busy in college, trying to get a lot of things done before the Christmas holidays!
In electrical we had to make Lighting Circuits and Power Circuits on small boards, before moving onto bigger boards. We were given a specification on placements for back boxes, the consumer unit, bulk unit etc. We had to measure it all out making sure we had them all correct before wiring it all up.
After it was wired up, we did insulation testing and continuity testing on it. This is so we could find if there were any problems in the circuit before plugging it in to power source. To my relief all the bulbs turned on…phew!
On the power circuit we had to plug in electrical appliances, in this case a kettle and heat gun which we tested the voltage and current on. We used a digital and analogue multi meter to see which is more accurate.
In our last week, in mechanical we got to finally run the pump rig, testing all the valves, pumps and pipework that we had all worked on. We had to make a plan on which pumps we were going to test first, where everyone was going to be standing looking for leaks and how long we were going to be testing for.
This was a good exercise after doing the work on the rig as it is something you would have to do out in the workplace, so learning all the skills for that just now in a secure environment is a great opportunity.
I will be posting again in January 2014, but I’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
David Bain - Guest blog post
09 Dec 2013
For this blog post I asked one of my colleagues, David Bain, to write about what he does as part of his apprenticeship with SSE.
The apprenticeship I am undertaking is Generation Wind turbine technician. After the apprenticeship is completed I will be based at Clyde wind farm located at Biggar and Moffat in Lanarksire.
The apprenticeship involves one year at college in Rosyth from September 2013 until June 2014 and then onsite training begins after college.
So far I am enjoying the practical aspect of the course which includes Mechanical & Electrical practical and theory. The practical skills I am learning include soldering, crimping, wiring electrical circuit (lighting &switching), hand fitting skills, maintenance on mechanical and electrical equipment.
Health and safety is paramount within SSE and the college so we always have to carrying out risk assessments. This includes taking manual handling into account, COSHH (control of substances hazardous to health) and also thinking of a job plan to have a clear view of the work to be carried out.
The theoretical aspects of the course are also very interesting and is linked to the practical activities and assessments, so from a personal view I feel you get a complete understanding of the course.
04 Nov 2013
We arrived back from our holidays feeling all refreshed after a lovely week off, only for the hard work to start again!
As I said in the previous post (Soldering on) we started to take apart a pump rig. Unfortunately when Calvin and I pressure tested our valve it began to leak. This meant we had a bit of problem solving to do; first of all we had to identify the source of the problem, then how we were going to fix it.
After a discussion with our lecturer we took the decision to make a temporary bridge. First we had to remove the valve seat cutter and cut down evenly to the dents that were in the valve seat. Once that was done, we used the temporary bridge flange to hold the spindle in place letting it go round instead of up and down (like it would with the normal bridge flange) so we could lap the valve lid into the seat.
After a whole day of cutting and lapping we pressure tested the valve again and thankfully it passed. This was a good challenge as it is the type of problem that could occur on site, so at college, in a controlled environment, is the best time to learn how to cope with these types of problems.
We also had our first review since starting college this week. Overall everyone was very pleased with what we have all achieved and where we were going. We also got the chance to meet Jeremy Williamson, Head of Onshore Wind Generation, for the first time and find out exactly all what is involved in his role at management level.
23 Oct 2013
This is our last week before going on our week of October holidays (as we are college for the full year, we get to take holidays)! This week we continued soldering in electrical workshop progressing on to bucket soldering. This is beginning to look tricky, but I'm still enjoying it.
As the week went on, we were split into groups of two in mechanical and were asked to pick a bit of the pipe rig in the college to work on. Calvin and I have taken out a screw down valve, butterfly valve and a bit of pipework. We clean all the different parts and make sure there are no significant signs of damage and then pressure test them for refitting back on to the rig. This will take us a few days to do so we will continue our work when back from holiday.
Aerodynamics and magnetism
17 Oct 2013
Having finished our meteorology and DC current outcomes for electrical and wind turbine theory, we have now moved onto aerodynamics and magnetism. During a test on DC currents everyone scored 80% or more, which our lecturer was very pleased about. We have also started a new outcome in our night time class which is Electrical Components.
We are still soldering in our electrical workshop class, as we need to know how to do it properly before being assessed on it. I’ve really enjoyed soldering and it’s been great learning something new.
I attend college with Kelsey Menzies, who I will eventually be working with up at Griffin wind farm. He has told me that he enjoys both of the workshops but is particularly fond of the mechanical side of things.
We have now finished and tested our swirl nozzles in mechanical – which we all passed first time! For this we had to clean everything down so they wouldn’t leak, make new gaskets and then know how to assemble the swirl nozzle back together again. This was a good team work exercise, as there was a lot to get done in a short space of time.
However teamwork doesn’t just happen when we are at college. Most nights after college we get back to the hotel and a few of us help Cameron clean and polish his car. There are a lot of good laughs when doing it, which brings us all together – as you can see Mark, Kelsey and Cameron are just standing admiring!
Second week at college
03 Oct 2013
We’re now in our second week of college and are learning more about meteorology, and DC currents in the theory classes. As a person who has never done physics before, I am finding it easier than I thought I would…so far! Meteorology covers topics such as air pressure, different heat transfer methods and how surface winds are affected by friction etc.
We have night classes every Tuesday and Thursday. On the Tuesday we have Electrical Theory and on the Thursday night it is Mechanical Workshop. We did a small class test on the Tuesday night for DC currents.
As the week went on, we moved into the workshops and were given tasks to complete. In electrical the tasks were; wiring up a plug and lamp holder and also to do a wire loom with crimped ends and in mechanical we have started to strip down the 3” screw down valve. This is so we can test the valve seat and lid, and also the bridge flange for any high points. The job is to be able to put 20 bar of water pressure into the valve and for it not to leak…well that was the aim anyway! A few of us did not manage to do it correctly first time around, but as they say you learn a lot from your mistakes and in the end everyone passed.
Our next task in the mechanical workshop is to take apart a swirl nozzle. So far we have stripped it down, and detached it from the Pipe Rig and started cleaning it, taking off rust and other materials that may affect it. More on the Swirl Nozzle to follow next week!
Life down in Dunfermline isn’t all spent at college. We are staying in a Holiday Inn Express just on the outskirts of the town. Staying in a hotel not only saves a lot of travelling but also provides the opportunity to get to know each other more, away from work activities. We are planning a bowling evening this week coming to celebrate a couple of birthdays within the group. So hopefully they will still be speaking to me after I wipe the floor at bowling…ha ha!
First week at college
01 Oct 2013
We got stuck in as soon as we arrived at Fife College, starting with meteorology and electrical theory. The timetable has been planned really well – each week we will begin the week with theory-based studies and then end it with practical electrical and mechanical workshops.
This week in the electrical workshop we have learnt how to use the tools to test insulation and resistance - starting on little motors and then moving on to a circuit board, testing plugs and lights.
In the mechanical workshop we have been shown different types of maintenance and measurements and soon we will be taking a 3” screw down valve apart and testing it for leaks. For the 3”screw down valve we were asked to write down all the tools/materials required, any safety precautions and an overall job plan. Next week we are going to start stripping it down and test for any leaks.
Overall it has been a great first week, and I’m looking forward to learning more next week.
James Muir and Calvin Anderson Pressure Test for the 3" screw down valve
17 Sep 2013
I arrived at McDiarmid Park in Perth on the Sunday night along with over 50 other apprentices from all over Scotland for our induction week.
Upon arrival we were handed bags with our kits, name tags to wear and given an overview of the week ahead before checking in to our hotels.
Every morning began with all the apprentices meeting at McDiarmid Park for breakfast.
It became very obvious from the first day that safety is the top priority at SSE. We were taken through SSE's Golden Rules and Core Values and it was demonstrated to us that these rules were not just to keep ourselves safe, but everyone else too. We also learnt about Security Awareness and Asbestos Awareness.
The evenings were more relaxed with team building activities ranging from football and quiz nights to 'Apprentice Got Talent'. For this, we were split into four different groups and asked to come up with four different talents being around 5 minutes long. Everyone took part and the talents ranged from waxing legs, doing card tricks to the Cha Cha Slide and not forgetting eating as many chillies as possible within a set time!
On Tuesday, different colleges and senior managers from across SSE came in to talk us through our next four years of training and covered lots of topics including course and training attendance details, the roles and responsibilities of an apprentice and the progress review progress. In addition, we were talked through how to look after and maintain our PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) and, most importantly, how to use it properly. Again, it was very evident that SSE want to look out for everyone and make sure they are working in a safe environment. One of the key phrases throughout the week was: "If it's not safe to do it - it's not worth doing".
We were given a full day of First Aid Training on the Wednesday which was great as we all are now qualified in First Aid for the next three years. After we had finished the First Aid we were given an hour to practice for our Apprentices Got Talent and, judging by some of the performances, it was time well spent!
Thursday was the most important day as we were taught about Risk Assessments and given Safety Training. The morning was theory-based with presentations and talks then we were tested in the afternoon with real-life scenarios which required us to use our Health and Safety and First Aid training from earlier in the week.
The induction week ended with a shorter day covering the three topics; Innovation, Customer Awareness and Safe Driving.
Overall, it has been a fantastic week and a great opportunity to meet all of the new apprentices that will also be taking part in this apprenticeship for the next four years. It was a fantastic way of bringing everyone together right from the start.
11 Sep 2013
My name is Katy Fraser, I'm 21 years old and I'm from a little town called Aberfeldy. I have just just started my apprenticeship with SSE to become a Wind Turbine Technician.
Before being accepted for this apprenticeship scheme I was working in a local gift shop and wanted a change of career - a job that would challenge me both physically and mentally. My older brother Tom, who works as a Craftsman at Clunie Power Station near Pitclochry, had recommended that I looked in to the SSE apprenticeship programme as he had done it when he left school.
I visited the hydro station and wanted to learn more about the technical side and other types of renewable energy. I looked on the SSE website and was pleased to find that they were looking for apprentices.
I applied and was delighted when I found out that, along with over 50 others in Scotland, I was successful for this year's programme.
My first year will be based at Fife College but I will also be combining my theoretical study with site-based, hands-on experience on site at Griffin wind farm.
I will be posting another blog soon to let you know how I got on in my first week.