Connections

Through the decades, Ulteig has expanded our presence and adapted our expertise in industries that maintain infrastructure vital to everyday life. Our ability to create solutions to challenging project disruptions was one of the reasons why we were contracted as the project owner’s representative on a wind farm construction site in rural Texas.

Construction of the 160MW wind farm nearly halted when a contractor was unable to meet its obligation to install fiber optic lines at the site. This $150 million project, featuring 57 turbines, was at risk of being derailed. Ulteig started researching viable solutions to keep the project on track.

The local exchange carrier (LEC) available for the project was in bankruptcy, so their ability to perform and pay their subcontractors was difficult. After numerous failed attempts by the developer to contact the LEC vendor, the COD was at risk. Due to the relentless follow up and added pressure by an Ulteig Senior Project Manager, we were able to connect with the LEC and schedule installation of the fiber optic line with only a minor schedule disruption.

But that would not be the only problem our Ulteig team helped rectify on this enormous project. Compaction testing under one of the turbine foundations failed. Since tearing it out and doing it over was not a viable option, they once again reached out to Ulteig engineers for a solution. Using new technology with additional testing allowed the foundation to pass, keeping the wind farm project on track without any additional costs. The project was 97% completed at COD, with only one turbine needing re-machining for full functionality.

We meet the needs of our clients by offering a legacy of listening and solving as a vital strategic partner. That’s why owners and developers keep coming to Ulteig for solutions. We’re not just engineers or project managers—we’re consultants who can help solve your unique problems.  And that includes dealing with force majeure events like COVID-19. We can help you develop risk mitigation and response protocols for situations like a coronavirus outbreak at a project site by developing process maps that outline how to respond to vendors or contractors who issue force majeure claims.

Ulteig’s dedication, integrity and commitment to excellence make us the partner of choice for technical solutions in Lifeline Sectors® for public and private clients throughout the country.

Author: Craig Couch, PgMP, PMP

A few weeks before coronavirus began disrupting daily life in the United States, it was wreaking havoc on the global supply chain, especially for products manufactured and shipped from China. A generation owner in southern Texas was notified that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its new substation breakers would not be delivered as promised. These breakers were instrumental for the in-servicing (energization) of their equipment. And with construction crews already onsite and more projects waiting in the queue, an extended delay in the multi-million-dollar project was not an option.

The generation owner did not have the in-house resources necessary to circumvent this logistics problem, so they turned to Ulteig for a solution.

Since Ulteig had a long-standing partnership with the client, engineers were familiar with their extensive energy operation and were able to quickly devise a plan to get a majority of their lines energized. The team developed several documents and schematics that identified the most critical pieces of equipment needed to energize each line. Then they brought the engineering, operation and construction teams to the table to discuss how to move forward.

As a solution, Ulteig engineers created a strategy that involved relocating existing substation breakers to critical lines so the majority of the lines could be energized. Since the project spanned over 5+ substations, they were able to re-direct the delayed breaker deliveries from China to other locations on the grid as arrival dates were staggered throughout the year.

Ulteig engineers were able to get the valuable line operational by piecing together which orders could be delivered in time for construction and creating drawings showing which equipment was critical to get installed. Construction crews are being kept productive and the client will be able to energize 95% of their assets on time.

At Ulteig, we listen carefully to a client’s unique business needs to help us develop real solutions that deliver true value.

Author: Wyatt Knepper, Technical Manager

Meeting the commissioning and testing requirements of a project’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system can be demanding due to current social distancing protocols. For Ulteig, performing SCADA integration for clients traditionally involves sending engineers to project locations throughout the U.S. to verify the full functionality of the final systems necessary to connect to the grid. But due to current COVID-19 travel restrictions and “stay at home” safety requirements, that’s a less desirable solution.

On a recent project for a generation owner in Texas, Ulteig implemented a remote solution to handle the requirements of the job. Ulteig engineers worked with the asset owner to deploy a laptop–accessible by Ulteig–to the project site. They then worked one-on-one with onsite personnel to connect to individual devices to program, troubleshoot and access the site’s Local Area Network.

The key to Ulteig’s solution was working with the asset owner to document the cybersecurity and malware management Standard Operating Procedures. The remote laptop fits the definition of a Transient Cyber Asset under NERC-CIP-003-7, so the owner must implement plans to address “Transient Cyber Asset and Removable Media Malicious Code Risk Mitigation.” The integration was performed from a thousand miles away, and the utility was able to stay on track with their construction schedule. 

Sending a laptop to the remote site was just one of the options developed to meet the needs of Ulteig clients. A renewable generation owner of a wind farm in Nebraska required SCADA integration completed to meet their Commercial Operation Date but wanted to minimize bringing new people onto the job site. Ulteig’s engineers worked with the owner’s IT department to establish a VPN connection to the project site.

Superior communication and coordination between critical staff already onsite (and all offtakers of data from the substation) were required to integrate the project remotely. This was an effective and safe solution, keeping unnecessary personnel offsite and avoiding travel.

Every company is dealing with business disruptions due to Coronavirus. And when this is all over, companies will get back to business as usual. Today, and in the years to come, Ulteig will continue to develop innovative solutions to meet the business needs of its clients.

Author: Seth Maslowski, Technical Manager