Wind power – a renewable energy source on the rise
We work carefully to address the challenges that come with wind power, primarily the disturbance of humans, wildlife and vegetation found in close proximity to wind turbines. For instance, we chose to build our wind turbines in areas where there are no permanent residents, as far as it is possible.
We also collaborate with external actors to determine what consequences wind power has on the area where turbines are built. Throughout the duration of the project we are implementing a comprehensive control programme, where the County Administrative Board, independent researchers and consultants within each respective area highlight any problems and teach us how to prevent these.
One advantage of wind power, both for the environment and in terms of costs, is that the raw material does not cost anything to produce; wind is an infinite resource that naturally arrives at the turbines. At the nuclear, oil or coal-fired plants there will be costs and emissions in connection with transporting raw materials to the production site.
The overall impression with regard to wind power, the environment and costs is very positive. During the service life of a wind turbine, it produces so much energy that the energy used to build, operate and dismantle it only amounts to three per cent of its total production.
How does wind power work?
The wind turbine’s source of energy is the wind, an infinite energy source. Wind turbines use the wind’s kinetic energy and convert it into electrical energy.
Of course, wind power is only generated when the wind blows. Therefore, this energy source is a good complement to other energy sources, such as hydropower. On days that are less windy, hydropower can produce more energy, and vice versa. A positive aspect is that the wind blows more during the winter, when we have the greatest need for energy. Thus, wind power gives us the most when it is needed most.
This is how wind is turned into electricity:
- It’s windy! The wind’s kinetic energy puts the wind turbine’s blades into motion.
2. Via a shaft and a gearbox, the wind’s power is transferred to a generator.
3. The generator converts the power into electrical energy.
4. The electrical energy is directed from the wind turbines into the grid.
The wind and the power – this is what connects them
At best, the wind turbines extract 80 per cent of the theoretical maximum energy extraction from the wind. If the wind speed doubles, the amount of wind energy is multiplied by eight.
When the wind speed is over 15 metres per second, the turbines cannot utilise more than a small part of the energy content. If the wind speed is over 25 metres per second, the wind turbines must stop (which they do automatically) to ensure that they do not get too worn and break. As the wind speed increases the higher up you get, the turbine blades on modern wind turbines are, as a rule, located on high towers that are around 100 metres tall.
130 wind turbines
Skellefteå Kraft currently owns five wind farms and operates a total of 130 wind turbines.
Explore our wind farms below.
Together, our ten wind turbines constitute the unique wind farm Uljabuouda, in Arjeplog Municipality. This is the first modern wind farm in the world that is located in such an extreme climate as that offered by this bare mountain region. The wind turbines are especially built to withstand temperatures of almost -40°. The experiences from this farm have laid the foundation for the continued development of wind power technology, both at our company and for other actors.
Our 18 wind turbines at Jokkmokksliden and Storliden nearby are all positive examples of how local forces can develop the region. It was the local village associations that saw the area’s potential and contacted us. We conducted detailed studies which indicated that wind conditions were good. This discovery, in combination with strong local support, resulted in the wind turbines that operate there today, turbines that produce enough electricity to heat 3,000 detached houses each year.
In total, there are 8 wind turbines at Storliden which, alongside the wind turbines at the nearby farm in Jokkmokksliden, is a good example of how local forces can develop the region. The local village associations brought the good wind conditions to our attention and, as a result, we can heat 3,000 detached houses each year with the power from these farms.
At Storgrundet in Bureå we have three wind turbines that have been operating since 2003. The maximum production for each wind turbine is 600 kW and the wind farm has an annual production of 3 GWh.
Together with Fortum, and in the jointly-owned company Blaiken Vind AB, we have been building a wind farm in the Blaiken area in northern Sweden. The farm was fully finished in 2017, And houses 99 wind turbines, which makes it one of the largest land-based wind farms in Europe. The predicted annual production of 700 GWh equates to the annual energy consumption of 161,500 apartments. As of August 7, Skellefteå Kraft owns 100% of Blaiken Wind Farm.
We are advancing wind power technology
We are investing heavily in developing wind power technology. Compared to other energy sources, such as hydropower and nuclear power, wind power is very new and the technology is constantly making progress. For instance, we are making major investments to develop wind turbines for cold climates. This requires robust solutions and systems that prevent the turbines from icing. Iced-up wind turbines result in lower production and in some cases no production.
The solution for wind power in cold climates, as developed by Skellefteå Kraft, is unique. It involves covering the wind turbine’s blades with a thin layer of carbon fibre which is heated when necessary to prevent ice from forming.
Ice sensors then detect when there is a risk of ice formation and start the de-icing system before ice can be formed.
Our wind turbines in Uljabuouda and Jokkmokksliden/Storliden were the first wind farms to use the de-icing system. The results from these farms have laid the foundation for future development work. For Stage 3 of the Blaiken wind farm we are using a system that involves both a heating foil in the blades and circulating hot air inside the blades. These two techniques have been used separately before, but never together.