Statoil tests innovative gearless turbine at world's northernmost offshore wind farm

Source: Statoil 

“A lot of engineering work has gone into this, and the number of moving parts has been halved,” says operational manager for wind power in Statoil, Sverre Trollnes. (Photo: Dag Myrestrand) In the world’s northernmost wind farm at Havøygavlen, Statoil is to test next generation turbine technology. The innovation is a gearless turbine that promises to achieve significant reductions in operation and maintenance costs for offshore wind power. 

One of the biggest challenges with developing offshore wind power is the major cost involved in repairs and maintenance out at sea.

“If an offshore wind turbine breaks down, there are many factors contributing to increased downtime compared with a land-based turbine,” explains operations manager for wind energy in Statoil, Sverre Trollnes.

Increased reliability

According to Trollnes, a common cause of problems with today’s turbines has been lack of robust design and component selection.

Statoil’s supplier Siemens has developed a gearless turbine that represents a major step forward in the simplification of the technology – and which promises to reduce maintenance by 20%.

Siemens are now manufacturing a trial series of 10 wind turbines – and one of these is earmarked for Statoil’s wind farm at Havøygavlen, as part of Statoil’s initiative ‘Bringing cost of offshore wind down.’

Land-based trial

The goal of the programme is to qualify the technology for developing offshore projects, primarily the gigantic Dogger Bank wind farm in which Statoil is a partner, through the industry consortium Forewind.

“By taking part in Siemens’ certification programme, we are learning more about this technology, and can eliminate teething troubles. It’s also far easier to influence the design at an early stage,” he explains.

Qualification

The trial project will have a Technology Qualification Period (TQP) of 17,000 hours, equivalent to two years’ operation. The turbine is to be installed on a vacant space in the Havøygavlen wind farm and be fully integrated with the other turbines, and will therefore not require a new concession. 

“We have operated a wind farm at Havøygavlen for several years, and we know that this is a very demanding site. It will be a good benchmark for how this turbine will behave,” he says.

Building know-how 

Statoil project manager Finn Teller points out where the new turbine will be erected at Havøygavlen in northern Norway. (Photo: Dag Myrestrand) Apart from concrete initiatives of this type, the programme “Bringing cost of offshore wind down” will focus on building expertise and understanding of the wind industry in general, and the supply chain and purchasing in particular.

The turbine will be installed starting on September 15, and after testing and commissioning has been completed, the turbine will become operational in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Facts about Havøygavlen 

• 16 wind turbines at Havøygavlen i Måsøy municipality in Finnmark
• The world’s northernmost wind farm
• Average annual wind speed is more than nine metres per second
• Annual production has varied between 60 – 90 gigawatthours (GWh)
• Energy equivalent to consumption of 5000-6000 Norwegian households
• Has been operational since 2002
• Statoil owns the company Arctic Wind AS which owns Havøygavlen wind farm


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