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RAF Marham Leads the Charge: The UK's First Military Base Powered by Over 95% Renewables

RAF Marham - Case Study



 Overview 


East Solutions was contracted by Future Biogas to carry out a significant private wire project connecting an Anaerobic Digestor at Redstow Renewables in Swaffham to the RAF base in Marham. This project was a landmark installation in the UK, with the RAF Marham becoming the first military base in the UK to receive over 95% of its electricity from renewable sources.


 Project Facts    





 Solution 


Prior to starting construction, East Solutions in-house Technical department conducted a thorough design and planning process. This included cable route and trench profiles/design, cable calculations, electrical and civil substation design, equipment specification, protection and grading studies, as well as earthing design.

 

To effectively manage the project, the works were divided into multiple phases:


  • Redstow Renewables Site Works

  • Interconnector Cable Route

  • RAF Marham Site Works

The first phase began at Redstow Renewables 33kV switchgear substation. East Solutions made modifications to accommodate the additional 33kV switchgear required for the interconnector scheme. A new substation base was placed between the existing 33kV substation and the client stores building, which would house a 33/11 kV transformer unit that met specific vector ratio requirements.

 

Excavation works were completed at the site to accommodate the 33kV, 11kV, Status, Protection, and Control Cables site between the apparatus items. A new substation foundation base was constructed, where the Projects team supplied and installed the relevant 11kV switchgear, becoming Redstow Renewables 11kV output, linking to RAF Marham.

 

In phase two, East Solutions managed all cable route excavations, enabling the supply and installation of the 11kV cables and fibre telecommunication cables.

 

The final phase included completing works at the RAF Marham site. The projects team were tasked with supplying, delivering, and positioning a new 11kV Vacuum Circuit Breaker in the switch room, extending the existing 11kV switchboard at Standby Substation.

 

East Solutions was responsible for design and delivery of a discreet status and control system between Redstow Renewables and RAF Marham systems. The system would provided unit protection of the cable/system between the sites, in addition to system status communication between Redstow and RAF Marham, and RAF Marham VCB and Redstow. A power flow control system was installed to prevent the circuit breaker tripping at SBSS in case of abnormal operations in the Marham system.

 

Furthermore, East Solutions installed a new 110Vdc Battery Charger Unit with a larger capacity to accommodate additional circuit breakers, protection, and control systems. East Solutions supplied and installed cable containment between control interface panels and switchgear, as well as from the outside wall near the new circuit breaker location for power cables.

 

Before handing over the project to the client, East Solutions in-house SAP organised and deployed a full commissioning team to test and ensure that the equipment met the required standards and functioned well before energisation.






 Challenges 


The successful execution of a project for a high-profile client within a high-security site presented an exclusive array of challenges. Due to the location being the Ministry of Defence a thorough planning and risk assessment process was conducted to ensure the safety of all personnel involved. It was critical to maintain an open communication channel while collaborating closely with the site’s security personnel. The high-security protocols dictated stringent adherence to security practices and protocols, with all team members receiving ongoing training and education to ensure compliance with site regulations.

 The Results 


The successful installation of the private wire system by East Solutions has resulted in RAF Marham becoming the first military base in the UK to receive over 95% of its electricity from renewable sources. This landmark installation has been achieved through the fuelling of the AD plant by crops grown locally in the surrounding area.

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