[Published on Pacifico Energy’s website]
The beginning of April 2022 in Binh Dai district was still not quite the rainy season, although there have been sporadic rains since the end of March.
What are wind farm builders afraid of when constructing turbine towers that are more than a hundred meters high? It was heavy rain, and gusty wind. Rain can cause the electrical equipment of the wind turbines to be soaked in water, causing damage, leading to unstable and unreliable operation; even short circuit, causing fire or explosion. If a wind turbine generator (WTG) gets fire above 130m high, it is difficult to extinguish. Each WTG burnt will cause a loss of more than one hundred billion Vietnam Dong. And what about wind gusts? If the wind speed is more than 8 m/s, the hub and blades (rotor) cannot be hoisted; if it exceeds 10m/s, it is not possible to install the steel tower sections.
The work is hurrying up, the windy and rainy weather must be monitored every hour, but, for some reason, the local landowners have built a number of barriers on the internal road system to prevent the project from being constructed. The issue of land ownership, compensation and site clearance always has complications that need to be solved.
While waiting for a settlement with the affected local people, a project engineer wrote a poem to express his feelings:
Hey lassie, why does the coastal rain start in April?
This summer, the Ba Lai estuary is sunny and windy;
But I’m looking at the weather forecast for May
Will there be storms and gusty winds in June?
I came to your countryside with true love
I hope you are like a fairy appearing to soften life’s arduousness
Every morning, I go to the sand beach to enjoy the sea breeze
Inhale into my chest the salty streams, to clean up all the Ghost Viruses
I still believe that the sea and sky are wide, which make local people generous
Hope I could smile when I see every inhabitant face in the sunrise…
May, then June passed in the rainy season in the region where Mekong river merges into the East Sea. Hundreds of workers and engineers have to wait, waiting for the Owner to settle with land owners and local people. The mood of insiders is inevitably impatient, sad, even pressing and annoyed, in all stakeholders of the project, from the Investor, to the Consultant, the Contractor, and the suppliers. Local governments at all levels have also cared much about the issue, trying to urge the work, and taken many actions to support the Project, from policy guidelines, to propagandizing the masses, even conducting particular convincement with ‘hard-headed’ landowners/households.
From July 7, 2022, the construction site was able to restart the construction machinery, firstly at WTG #1. After more than 3 months of stopping, with the patience of the Investor and the support of the competent authorities, now the barriers at the C1 and C4 culverts on the internal road system have been removed, and the turbine installation work can start again.
Engineers and workers of Vietranstimex Contractor excitedly went to the Site. The tractor engine was started, oiled, refueled, so that the trailers can move in the internal road system, as well as return to Ben Tre city for re-registration. Wind turbine components such as generators, transformers, nacelle, pylon segments, etc., are transported and rearranged between crane yards (hardstands) No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 6, and No. 7.
Photo: Vietranstimex (VTT) transporting turbine equipment at the construction site
Foreign engineers from the consulting firm Mott McDonald and turbine supplier Goldwind again prepare for construction monitoring and supervision. Nam Phuong Power supervision consultant closely monitors all site activities and seriously inspects and accepts the works.
Sai Gon Gia Dinh Electrical (EHCMC) Contractor continues to do the maintenance (O&M) for the 110kV Substation inside the wind power plant; and actively construct the remaining tower foundations of the 110kV transmission line. At the location of high voltage pylon No. VT06, Saigon Gia Dinh Electric Company began using a diesel hammer to drive the first concrete piles more than 40 meters deep into the ground to support the concrete foundation and 42 meters high steel towers above. The company is also ready to mobilize the cable pulling teams, to erect the HV cable along the safety corridor of the 18.5 km long transmission route through the five communes of Thoi Thuan, Thanh Phuoc, Thanh Tri, Dai Hoa Loc, and Binh Thoi. At the same time, at the Binh Dai expanded outgoing feeder – which is the power connection point of Sunpro factory to the national grid – the civil construction works are finally ready to be completed.
The Contractor Quynh Bao Han (QBH) sent cranes and trucks to transport concrete poles from the warehouse to the construction sites, such as at the laydown area of WTG #6, the laydown area of WTG #1, in order to prepare for the erection of more than 80 electric poles and the remaining MV 22kV Collection System.
The Contractors Hung Nguyen and Vinawaco 16 is going to complete the final work to hand over to the Investor the shift house (accommodation) next to the 110kV Substation, as well as the D8 road leading from the existing sea dyke to the turbine yard #7. The Contractor Lung Lo Pass has completed over 90% of the construction works and is actively preparing the as-built documents.
The Contractor Trieu Ha has also mobilized materials and equipment to the construction site, to prepare to erect a 130 meter high Meteorolical Mast near the wind turbine No. 6. The goal is to start the power curve measurement in October 2022, to verify the turbine’s energy generation. The consulting firm UL Renewables will support the Investor in this power curve performance assessment.
The O&M Contractors that are hired for operation and maintenance management such as Son Hoang Company, Ben Tre Electricity, and Goldwind are also carrying out initial preparations to be ready to receive the hand over of the wind power plant, on-site substation, 7 turbines, 110kV transmission line, and outgoing feeder, etc. to ensure safe and efficient running of the Plant in the next few decades.
Unfortunately, from July 11 to 13, there was a tropical depression, causing heavy rain and strong winds over a large area, then wind speed in Binh Dai coastal area was from 11m/s to 15m/s, making the super-weight craning work impossible. Hundreds of workers and engineers had to watch for the changes of the weather hourly, and wish for the wind and waves to calm down.
However, life is inherently dark and then bright; misfortune and fortune. According to weather forecast, by the end of July 13, 2022, the tropical depression would end. On July 14, it is expected that the 800-ton Zoomlion super crane with a 149-meter-long boom standing at the #1 turbine yard will be able to rise again, lifting the last two pylon sections (the S2 segment is 28.83m long and weighs 60.94T; the S1 segment is 29.46m long and weighs 52.32T), to reach the designed tower height of 132.17 m, then continues to lift the 46.41T Nacelle to the top of the tower, and lifts the 103.5T heavy generator fixing to the Nacelle within 24 hours thereafter. According to the plan, on July 18, a combination of three blades on the ground (each 76.29m long and weighing 26.25T) will be attached to a 45.13T hub, and on July 19 VTT will lift that 123.9T whole rotor mounting to the generator at 132m height.
The next plan, after July 19, will be to dismantle the 800T main crane, move on the internal road to turbine yard #6, and install the tower and generator in 10 days from July 23 to August 2.
May the weather and people’s hearts be favorable, so that in the next ten days, turbine tower #3 will be installed from August 2 to August 12; and the next ten days will install the last #7 turbine tower until August 22.
Regarding the 110kV transmission line, all work on property/assets inventory-measurement-compensation-land recovery-land lease documents are being implemented by the Owner’s Site Clearance Board with great determination under the drastic direction of the Local Government at all levels, in order to complete the required procedures as quickly as possible according to the set plan.
Photo: The Owner and Contractor representatives check the turbine pylon No. 5
Photo: The Owner and Contractor representatives check the turbine hardstand No. 1
The whole project is focusing on completing the construction, testing and commissioning/energizing at the end of September, and generating electricity at the beginning of October meeting all the technical requirements as prescribed. Let’s devote ourselves every hours and wait for the day to reap the fruit of our labour in common joy.
Nguyen Duc Toan, DPD
Binh Dai district – Ben Tre province, 13 July 2022