WysePower designs an innovative, low-voltage temporary electrical supply for a new data centre near Peterborough

WysePower devised an innovative and cost effective means of providing a temporary builders’ electrical supply to McLaren Construction’s site in Peterborough where the contractor is building a state-of-the-art data centre for an undisclosed client.

Meeting the challenge

One particular challenge on this project is that the construction site is a long way from the site boundary. As a consequence, the electrical connection to the DNO-provided Temporary Builders Supply at the site boundary is 260m from the primary mains distribution unit and the site accommodation which is located adjacent to the plot where the data centre is to be built.

Normally, transporting low voltage, three-phase electrics over this distance would have resulted in the use of four large-diameter steel wire armoured cables (one for each phase and one the neutral) to power the construction site. The problem with this approach is that large diameter armoured cables are expensive, and they would have needed to be buried in a very large trench to keep them out of harm’s way.

WysePower has worked with McLaren Construction before. When it was asked to tender for this project, it used all of its experience and expertise to devise a more cost effective way to enable the construction site to be supplied with a temporary electrical power supply.

Seeking the best solution

WysePower’s innovative proposal included the provision of a step-up transformer at the site boundary to convert the 415volts power supply to 1000volts. Transmitting the same amount of power at a higher voltage enables smaller diameter steel wire armoured cables to be used, with a reduction in corresponding size of trench needed to accommodate them. This saved on cost and space on site whilst also helping minimise electrical transmission losses through volt drop. A second step-down transformer located adjacent to the works returns the power back to low voltage for safe, local distribution via a series of mains distribution units (MDUs).

The cabling and transformers are currently being installed ready for construction of the data centre superstructure to commence in April. The cables will supply temporary power to the modular cabins that will form the site’s welfare village, office accommodation and EV charging points. In addition, WysePower is also providing an electrical supply to two site MDUs, an EV charging MDU and a subcontractor MDU. WysePower is also responsible for the mains water and drainage connection to the cabins.

A work in progress

Construction of the date centre will take place over a 60-week period. As the build progresses WysePower will adapt its network of 110V electrical sub-distribution units providing power for access lighting, flood lighting and hoarding lighting and small power for tools to ensure they are always in the optimal position for the works. Later in the project, when fit-out is underway, WysePower will provide RCD protected sockets to power temporary dehumidifiers, air scrubbers and additional heating within the data centre.

Until the Temporary Builders Supply is in place, WysePower has supplied a 100kVA generator to provide power to the site accommodation for the civil engineering contractor currently undertaking the enabling works. The generator is sized to provide power to the contractor’s temporary welfare cabins, offices and car-charging points and lighting for the site hoarding.

At the end of the project, when the data centre’s permanent electrical supply is in place, WysePower will strip out its innovative installation.