Skillemoen Substation completed on schedule despite setbacks

The construction of the Skillemoen Substation is one of the key projects implemented recently by Statnett - the Norwegian transmission system operator. The main goal was to strengthen the electricity grid in northern Norway and Norconsult Poland played a key role as a designer in this EPC project.

Jacobsen Elektro AS was selected as the main contractor for this project. The company trusted Norconsult's knowledge and experience by commissioning us to develop detailed engineering documentation for the key part of the project, i.e.:

  • 132 kV switchgear (AIS)
  • 420 kV switchgear (AIS)
  • two 420/132 kV power transformers, each with a power of 300 MVA
  • shunt reactor.

The scope of the project, Norconsult was responsible for, included:

  • design of last spans of incoming 420 kV and 132 kV overhead lines to the substation
  • electromechanical design of high voltage part
  • design of innovative gantries with hollow section elements
  • design of steel structures for HV Equipment
  • design of foundations for power transformers shunt reactor.

Design works started in February 2018. The first parts of the documentation were delivered in May, after only three months. The main part of the design work was completed in December 2018 during a meeting at Statnett's headquarters, where the design review and final approval of the documentation took place.

Unfortunately, the year 2019 brought the bankruptcy of the main contractor and the temporary suspension of works at the construction site. The existing subcontractor, Kivijervi Entreprenør AS, responsible for the civil works and the design and construction of the control building, took over the obligations of the main contractor and undertook to complete the project.

The quality of the work carried out by Norconsult is evidenced by the fact that both Statnett and Kivijervi Entreprenør AS have expressed their willingness to collaborate with Norconsult to complete the project.
In these kinds of projects, there is always a heavy responsibility resting on the shoulders of the designers

- Substation projects are very demanding - they require the cooperation of specialists from many industries and even a small change may lead to significant changes in another part of the project. That is why good cooperation, and an experienced team are so important. In EPC projects, where the contractor makes orders based on our documentation and then carries out all works based on our drawings, the responsibility is very high. The slightest mistake in the drawing or in the bill of materials can cause significant financial losses for the contractor or suspend the work for several days or even weeks. The highest quality of documentation, accuracy and appropriate verification procedures are essential, says Amadeusz Feliksik, Norconsult Poland, who was responsible for the design of the electromechanical part of the project.

The year 2020 brought new challenges, not least the Covid-19 pandemic. Working under the sanitary regime, lockdown, difficulties with transport and relocating - all these factors had an impact on the project progress. Moreover, Statnett once again placed its trust in Norconsult and asked for doing the significant additional work on the project.

The biggest challenge was to complete design works in an extremely short time to meet original completion date. Despite the seemingly simple steel structures and reinforced concrete elements needed at the Skillemoen and Balsfjord substation, the project was definitely a project management challenge.

- It was necessary to assign resources with certain competences to smaller engineering groups and delegate engineering packages, to be able to work on preparation of parts of documentation in parallel. All deliverables had to be controlled at every stage of design process, having in mind the detailed and high requirements of our client, Statnett, and then put everything together after all. Moreover it should be noticed that relatively small changes might have big impact on the project, and here it was crucial to keep the information flow very smoothly, says Katarzyna Mazur-Pytlowany, of Norconsult Poland who coordinated the engineering works.

Mazur-Pytlowany further emphasizes the ability of the main designers Amadeusz Feliksik, Anna Urbańska, Maciej Kobus and Grzegorz Woźniak to contact Statnett and Kivijervi Entreprenør AS directly. This enabled the team to react without any delay to the new issues, changes resulting from the necessary adaptation of components occurring during the project implementation and finally support engineers at the construction site during realization phase. All routed in a deep understanding of clients’ needs.

- The intensive work of all the designers involved is invaluable, and here again, attention should be paid to the international work environment and the dispersed design team. We gathered together excellent specialists from Poland and Norway. The entire team has done an amazing job, achieved with high level of stress to deliver quality and within project time schedule. However, we used this opportunity in an exemplary manner, says Mazur-Pytlowany.

Finished on time!
Despite the many difficulties that the project encountered, it was a success and finished on time. The 132 kV switchgear was energized in August 2020 and the entire substation in December 2020.
Despite the challenges encountered during the project, the team rose to the occasion, and delivered a high quality project.

- First of all, I will thank all involved parties in Norconsult for a great job. The one thing I will highlight is the flexibility in the Norconsult team. During a project like this, it is always some changes, corrections, and unforeseen challenges, but the Norconsult team has proven that they can mobilize and solve, not always easy tasks, on a short notice. This project is a great achievement for all involved parties, not even a bankruptcy nor a Covid 19 pandemic could derailed it, says Morten Uggerud, the project manager on behalf of Kivijervi Entreprenør AS

This project was a perfect example of cross-border cooperation within the Norconsult Group. The majority of the design-work was performed by the team in Poland, with colleagues from the Norconsult head-office in Norway also actively participating in the project.

- It is a perfect example of how cooperation contributes to the success and building of the Norconsult brand, says Katarzyna Mazur-Pytlowany