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Connecting Large Offshore Wind Farms with Private LTE & 5G Networks

Offshore wind farms are typically located in remote areas, making it challenging to establish reliable connectivity using public mobile networks. Private mobile networks allow wind farm operators to deploy dedicated coverage in the vicinity of the wind farm, ensuring consistent and high-quality network connectivity.

UK-based wireless telecommunications provider, Vilicom, is providing a cloud-enabled private mobile network for the Moray East wind farm for Vestas. A press release, couple of years back, explained what they were doing: 

Currently in its construction phase 20 miles off the Scottish coast, the Moray East wind farm will comprise of 100 V164-9.5 MW units, giving a combined total power output of 950 MW across its impressive 295km2 plot. The turbines, supplied by Vestas, will generate sufficient power to supply clean energy to approximately one million households across the United Kingdom.

Moray East will bring more low-carbon power to the UK, and will continue to support the local area, bolstering economic growth. It will also make a significant contribution towards the UK’s goal for renewable electricity generation and will aid in achieving the UK's energy security and carbon reduction objectives.

Vilicom has designed the most advanced and innovative network based on cloud network techniques that combine the reliability of always-on IT systems, with new innovations in the field of Open Radio Access Network (ORAN) and Core Network Function Virtualization.

Seàn Keating, Chairman at Vilicom, presented a talk on 'Private Cellular in Offshore Wind Farms' during UPTIME 2022. It is embedded below:

More recently, Vilicom, a BAI Communications (BAI) company, announced the successful live deployment of a Vodafone 4G mobile network at the world’s largest offshore wind farm in operation, Hornsea 2, 55 miles off the Yorkshire coast in England.

The press release said:

The wind farm, which has just been completed by global leader in offshore wind ├śrsted, spans a 472km2 area in the North Sea and comprises 165 8.4MW turbines expected to generate a combined total power output of 1.4GW. It will be capable of powering over 1.4 million UK homes with clean electricity.

Vilicom and Vodafone teams worked closely for two years to build the communication infrastructure in tandem with the construction of the wind farm, which now supports a live Vodafone 4G mobile service across the entire wind farm. This is welcome news to ├śrsted, its staff and all users and vessels who can now seamlessly enjoy the same Vodafone reliable network experience as they do onshore.

The network provides Vodafone 4G mobile connectivity for the hundreds of operational and maintenance staff employed on the site, both across the sail route and spanning the entire wind farm. Vilicom has built and will power the critical communications infrastructure to enable workers to access the data and information systems needed for the operation of the wind farm, as well as giving them the ability to stay connected with family and friends using their personal devices.

During the construction phase, Vilicom also delivered a temporary solution to provide connectivity to the employees working across a five-vessel fleet of floating offices. Hornsea 2 will continue to support opportunities for economic growth in the Humber region, as it contributes to the UK’s goal for renewable electricity generation in the context of a growing energy crisis.

Further details on Vodafone news here.

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