Cable & Wireless South Atlantic
- The Falkland Islands
- Single and double KW3 turbines deployed in remote areas around the Falkland Islands
- Application: To provide a reliable, cost-effective and environmentally sound power source for the Cable & Wireless telephone network covering the rural community
The KW3 Kingspan Wind turbine is a key component of the upgraded Cable & Wireless telephone and broadband network serving the rural community on the Falkland Islands. A series of 3kW turbines are operating at remote sites across the islands to provide charging current for the telecoms equipment. The turbines were chosen for their durability, making them able to cope with the strong south westerly winds and frequent gales. They also require minimum maintenance (a significant benefit for remote locations).
During the summer of 2007, Cable & Wireless South Atlantic ltd, based in the UK Overseas Territory of the Falkland Islands, agreed with the Falkland Islands Government (FIG) to upgrade the telephone network covering the rural community.
Based on over 20 years of operating a rural telephone network is this remote and challenging part of the world, Cable & Wireless designed a new state of the art network to provide upgraded fixed telephony and new broadband connectivity to the rural communities and residents outside of the capital, Stanley, or the main military garrison at Mount Pleasant (MPA).
These new and improved services were to be provided by building a brand new resilient backbone radio network. One of the main requirements in this was to ensure that a reliable power source could be provided at all main sites. Mains grid power is only available around Stanley and the military base (MPA), so the challenge was to design a power system that was reliable, cost effective and environmentally sound. As most of the new sites were built on mountains or hills, it was essential that network build and maintenance could be carried at all times of the year whilst minimizing site visits to these remote locations.
A key component of the new power system is the Kingspan Wind Turbine. It is used as a main element of remote power systems in the rural community. As such, this turbine has proven itself over a number of years in the very harsh extremes of weather that can exist in The Falklands. The islands are situated within the very stormy latitudes of the southern westerly winds and gales are very frequent. Very strong gusts of wind can happen at any time of the year, especially during the summer, and this is made worse due to the higher altitude and more exposed locations where the new radio network sites were to be built. It was essential that any equipment installed at these locations was durable and reliable whilst requiring minimum maintenance.
The network has been operational since October 2008 and the power system at the new sites has performed extremely well. A sign of how well the Kingspan Wind turbine has been performing is the fact that generator run hours for these main sites are very low varying between 50 hours to 100 hours in an 18 month period which equates to only 0.57% of the total time and the majority of this generator run time was due to automatic low temperature operation.