BlaikenVind is one of Europe’s largest onshore wind farms. It is also the most northerly, located on the 65th parallel north where the winters are long, dark, cold – and, of course, windy.
Ninety-nine wind turbines are placed on a spacious mountain plateau in an east-west direction, where wind conditions are particularly favorable, reaching an average speed of about 25 feet per second. With close proximity to an existing hydroelectric power plant in the area, the wind turbines can be easily connected to the national grid.
Wind power in the Arctic climate is a global concern, and we are sharing our experiences.
Mikael Lindmark, managing director and project manager for BlaikenVind
It is the perfect spot for a wind farm. Well, almost. The cold, snowy winters put heavy demands on equipment, and some extra coping mechanisms are required such as a de-icing system on wind turbines to detect icy weather conditions, vibrations or other potential problems early on and kick into action before the blades can freeze over.
Wind farms require continuous control and maintenance. At BlaikenVind, maintenance is preferably undergone in the lighter, warmer summer months. “Maintenance measures, especially in the winter, can be costly,” says Henrik Renberg, development engineer at the power company Skellefteå Kraft, which owns BlaikenVind along with fellow energy company Fortum. “There are large areas of land to plow [in the winter] and high cranes to transport in case spare parts need to be replaced,” he says. “We want to avoid this, so it is important that we have a system that helps us plan our maintenance measures as much as possible.”