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Technical building for an electric harbour crane

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The all-electric crane at the Port of Skellefteå was one of the world’s first, when it was commissioned in February 2022. To ensure an adequate power supply for the crane, a new switchyard was needed. This was quickly supplied by NEPower, who also carried out the installation, without disrupting the busy port operations.

In recent years, the municipality of Skellefteå has made major investments in the port area. The port has become larger and deeper and new technology has been installed, including a Gottwald 6507 battery-powered crane, capable of handling heavy loads. It also has a long reach, enabling it to reach across the width of large vessels.

“We needed an output capacity of 10.4 kilovolts for the crane, so it became necessary to renew the old switchgear from 1972. It was so old that it would have been difficult to find spare parts in case we ran into problems. It was too risky to run the crane with the old switchgear,” says Clas Eriksson, who was the technical port manager in Skellefteå until November 2022.

A ready solution in a short time

Skellefteå municipality considered a few options but chose to order the technical building from NEPower. The company was able to offer a package solution including modular construction, technology and installation. In addition, NEPower could promise a short delivery time of five months. The crane was delivered in November 2021 and the technical building at the end of March 2022.

“While NEPower was building the technical building in Finland, we were able to prepare the plinth foundation next to the old switchyard on the quay. Then, when the technical building was delivered, it was just a matter of pulling out the power cable from the old switchyard and connecting it to the new technical building. It’s almost like plugging in the plug of a household appliance,” says Eriksson.

A big advantage of the technical building is that there is no need for a long downtime when it is installed. Everything can be prepared in advance, which makes the installation process short and smooth.

“The installation work on the quay went very smoothly because NEPower was flexible with their schedules. This way we were able to avoid disruptions in port operations. The cooperation with NEPower worked well during the whole process.”

Quality equipment for the price

For a switchyard, the new engineering building looks really handsome standing in its dark grey suit out on the quay. Clas Eriksson notes that it blends in with its surroundings.

“We were surprised by the quality of the technical equipment, which was high considering the price. The electricians noted, that the equipment was good and that it is easy to carry out service work. The high voltage part was clearly marked so we could see which wires not to touch. It was also good that we didn’t have to disconnect the whole switchgear to do the service, just one part was enough.”

Ready for an electrified future

Thanks to the technical building, the Port of Skellefteå is ready for electrified solutions in shipping. They will become more common in both ports and the industrial sector in the future, and the Port of Skellefteå already has plans for another electric crane.

“We have another slot for a new socket station so we can pull out a loop for another crane. The idea is probably, that we will eventually be able to offer shore power to cargo ships via a charging station, but we’re not there yet. Modern passenger ferries have standardized sockets, but there is not yet an international standard for electricity connections to cargo ships.”

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