Ove Ronny Haraldsen
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On the outermost point of Havøy in Finnmark lies the Havøygavlen wind farm. Over the bare, rocky landscape 16 turbins tower 120 metres in the air. The harsh winter storms mean that only heather, lichens and mosses can survive out here. During the winter months the sun is below the horizon day and night.
“Wind speeds of up to 30–35 metres per second make operating the farm a challenge”, says the Managing Director Egon Leonhardsen of Arctic Wind AS. “We have polar lows coming in and causing extreme wind conditions. It’s a stormy and turbulent location. Weather conditions only allow us a three-month period in the summer for upgrades and repairs. The rest of the year there’s a lot of snow and for the most part it’s dark.
The Havøygavlen wind farm currently produces around 120 gigawatt hours a year. This corresponds to the electricity consumption of 5000–6000 Norwegian households. Now production is to be increased, aided by the newly developed KONGSBERG EmPower® system. Kristian Holm, in charge of KONGSBERG’s commitment to renewable energy, explains.
“We call the system KONGSBERG EmPower because it will enable the customer to get more power out of its wind power resources. The yield from the system gives increased production and reduced operating costs”.
KONGSBERG EmPower will give the owners of wind farms a better overview of the performance and ongoing processes on their farms. Wind turbines are exposed to the elements every day of the year – wind, rain, hail, snow and lightning – in addition to mechanical wear and tear. It is important that the turbines are monitored for these kinds of strains and this makes it possible to focus maintenance work and perform it in a more cost efficient way.
“Data that is collected, typically from between 150–200 data points per turbine, must also be stored securely to ensure that the turbine’s history is accessible at all times”, says Kristian Holm, Managing Director of Kongsberg Renewables Technology AS.
It’s early June and Kristian Holm will soon be going up to Havøygavlen to talk about the system and meet the customer on their home turf. He is based in Trondheim, where KONGSBERG has located its renewable initiative. The workplace accommodates a total of 13 permanent employees, who work full-time to develop solutions for wind power and other renewable energy. We follow Holm into the control room where, with our own eyes, we can see what KONGSBERG EmPower is all about.
The control room is connected to the wind farms at Hundhammerfjellet in Nord-Trøndelag and Kjøllefjord in Finnmark, which have been used in the development of KONGSBERG EmPower. On six monitors, Kristian Holm and colleague Ketil Sølvberg can view parameters which give a complete overview of the wind farm’s performance and history.
“Kongsberg EmPower collects data from the turbines at the wind farm. Using advanced analysis techniques, the system will give you the information you need to increase production and reduce downtime and operating costs”, says Kristian Holm from the control room.
Arctic Wind in Finnmark is the first company to adopt KONGSBERG EmPower. With status data supplied by Kongsberg EmPower, it is easier for Arctic Wind to carry out maintenance of the wind farm based on actual requirements.
Arctic Wind will work together with Kongsberg Renewables Technology to develop new routines and procedures, which, based on data from Kongsberg EmPower, aim to reduce maintenance costs for the wind farm. Leonhardsen has great hopes for what the technology will accomplish.
“Using a system for monitoring the wind farm will give us a deeper understanding of how the turbines perform under different wind conditions. KONGSBERG EmPower enables operations and maintenance to be planned in greater detail than previously”, says Leonhardsen.
He continues: “Operating the wind turbines in arctic conditions requires a high degree of predictability, as the climate conditions give us limited options with regard to when and how we can carry out work on the turbines.
In addition, Kongsberg Renewables Technology will contribute to the development of new operational and maintenance routines at the wind farm.
“We also wish to develop our wind energy operation model and we see Kongsberg Renewables Technology as a good partner in this respect because of their experience with operation, maintenance and management of wind power”, says Leonardsen.
The agreement also includes an option for purchasing a customised module that can predict the expected production, as well as a module that optimises the operation of the farm with respect to “turbine wake”.
KONGSBERG EmPower is a product that KONGSBERG, in collaboration with customers, has been developing since 2012. Kongsberg Renewables Technology AS is a new venture within the Kongsberg Group, and will eventually provide technological solutions for several types of renewable energy. The first contract with a customer was therefore an important milestone for the fledgling company.
“We are very satisfied with the agreement with Arctic Wind. They are a customer that set high standards for turbine production and have a clear goal of reducing their operational and maintenance costs. Kongsberg EmPower will be an important tool for achieving these goals, and we look forward to working closely together with the world’s most northerly wind farm”, says Kristian Holm.
KONGSBERG is currently a world leader in monitoring, decision support systems and advanced sensor technology. By transferring this expertise to wind energy, KONGSBERG is taking an important step towards using more and more of the company’s proven technology in the renewable sector.
“The system will form the basis for more new innovations directed towards renewable energy in the future”, concludes Kristian Holm.