Big Data: WysePower B.V. makes a big impact in Sweden

WysePower B.V. is providing the temporary services to a major construction site in Sweden where a hyperscale data centre is being built on an extremely challenging construction programme.

“This project is all about having the right equipment and staffing levels in place to enable WysePower B.V. to react instantly to any situation to keep the project on programme,” says John Buchanan, WysePower’s European Director.

About the project

WysePower was chosen to provide temporary power by the main contractor because it has the capability to provide the same high standard of temporary site services to this site in remote part of Sweden as it does to construction sites throughout the UK and Europe.

The project is managed through the company’s Netherlands based subsidiary WysePower B.V. “The contractor came to WysePower because they know we will take provision of temporary power off their hands: we design the temporary services and provide all the plant and equipment needed to deliver them,” John says.

Power to the site is from a new substation constructed at the site boundary by the local electricity provider. From here, WysePower run a 1200 Amp supply to provide electrical power to the construction site, site-wide lighting, heating and commissioning in addition to the provision of power to the site’s extensive welfare village.

The WysePower solution

Unusually for a mainland European construction site, WysePower use steel wire armoured (SWA) cable to distribute the power from the main distribution board to the various sub-boards around the site. The armour provides protection to the cable to prevent it getting pinched or damaged, but more importantly it helps protect the workforce. In fact, WysePower use SWA cabling on all of its sites in both the UK and mainland Europe (even though it is not a requirement on mainland sites) to ensure worker safety and to minimise programme delays as a result of damage to the cable.

From the sub-boards, power is supplied to site at 230V/50Hz. European sites do not generally use 110V power. WysePower has designed and developed a purpose-built combination power supply unit to ensure a robust power system is available in a variety of voltages to workers from all European nationalities throughout the project. However, WysePower B.V. is using a 110V temporary lighting system to improve site safety.

The data centre is being handed over in phases. Currently the building envelope has been completed, but fit-out is over several phases. “We had to be clever about how we route our mains cables because the minute the first phase of the scheme is handed over, we are no longer able to access that area of the site,” John says.

Site Services

Site lighting is provided externally to the compound, road and walkways by column-mounted LED floodlights mounted on WyseBases. These stackable, square base sections have been specially developed by WysePower to support the lighting columns vertically to avoid the need to sink the column base into the frozen ground. The WyseBase is made from 100% recycled and recyclable plastics and because the bases are freestanding, they can easily be repositioned as the site evolves.

Internally, WysePower has provided a lighting scheme that delivers a high level of light throughout the data centre. “Light levels are generally higher than would be the case in the UK, partly because of the nature of the works being undertaken, and partly because the client expects a high level of light on such a prestigious project,” John explains.

Electric temporary heating was also provided both inside and out. Externally, it was installed in temporary ‘heat rooms’ to provide a warm space where those working outside in the Swedish winter could retreat to thaw out. Internally, temporary heating was provided in the rooms housing the data centre’s main electrical switchgear in order to maintain the temperature above the minimum threshold required under terms of the equipment’s warranty.

WysePower was also responsible for providing temporary electrical power to enable the permanent electrics to be commissioned prior to the installation of the computer servers. This included load bank testing of each of the main busbars to check that the permanent connections did not overheat on full load before going ‘live’.

Load banks

Load banks produce dummy loads to test the data centre’s electrical systems, they are used to simulate the real life loads that systems and components will experience when the project is in operation and is running at full capacity. WysePower was issued with a test schedule that sets out how many load banks are needed on each busbar and for what duration.

Every load bank requires an auxiliary power supply from the temporary electrics to run the unit’s cooling fan. In total about 200 auxiliary supplies were required. “There is quite a lot of work involved and it is fast paced, we shadow the commissioning team for about 16 weeks,” John says.

The scale of the project and the need to provide additional facilities to keep workers safe during the Covid pandemic meant the size of the welfare village has grown significantly as the project has progressed. Initially a 600Amp temporary supply was sufficient to provide power to the 100+ welfare cabins.

As numbers of workers on site have increased, so too has the village’s electrical demand. “Initially a 600A panel was sufficient to supply the welfare, but as the project progressed, site welfare has expanded exponentially so that now welfare takes all of the 1200Amp temporary supply. We’ve had to put in two medium voltage substations at the bottom of the site, to supply 1250Amps to both the east and west sides of the building to meet the electrical demands of the site,” John explains.

Rising to the challenge

The remoteness of the site combined with a challenging project programme posed some unique challenges for WysePower. In addition to planning to ensure all materials, equipment and manpower are in place when they are needed, WysePower also anticipate unplanned incidents. “We shipped a storage container to site packed with spares and joint kits so that if a cable is damaged, for example, we can react instantly,” John says.

Similarly, because the construction programme is so tight changes occur frequently and WysePower had to be ready and prepared to react to any situation; “We make sure we have all the right equipment and levels of manpower in place so that we can react to any situation – and that’s why we get on so well with the main contractor,” he says.

WysePower’s success on the initial phase of the project was recognised by it subsequently being awarded Phase 2 of the project.