Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wind power in Denmark

Today we toured the production facilities for Siemens and Vestas, two major producers of wind turbines here in Denmark. We got to learn about the details behind wind turbine design and installation. It was interesting to observe the similarities and differences between manufacturing styles for these major competitors in the wind market.
Today we had the opportunity to tour the Vestas and Siemens wind turbine production facilities in Jutland.

In order to protect the proprietary nature of their manufacturing processes, neither facility allowed us to take any pictures while touring the facilities.

At Siemens, they gave us an in-depth presentation on wind turbine technology and discussed the challenges associated with constructing offshore wind turbines.

Offshore turbines, when feasible, are a superior choice to land-based turbines because they can be larger. Also, they often experience more consistent wind conditions than those on land.

To reduce the frequency of repairs, offshore wind farms tend to include smaller numbers of larger turbines compared to land wind farms.

As a result, offshore turbines have reached massive sizes, with the blades sweeping out a circle 154 meters across (505 feet), over twice the wingspan of a Boeing 747. Turbines of this size can generate 7 megawatts of power, enough to power 14,000 Danish homes.

The experience at Vestas was similar, although they focused less on turbine technology and more on the production process.

They emphasized their highly efficient process, which can turn out a finished nacelle (the box behind the turbine blades that houses the generator and gearbox) once every three and a half hours.

Visiting today's facilities was a very enjoyable experience. We look forward to being able to see more wind turbines tomorrow as we proceed farther north to Aalborg, where we will be visiting the Nordic Center for Renewable Energy.

Because the two companies didn't allow any pictures to be taken from the day's activities, I'm going to include some pictures from the beach here in Søndervig.

House with a thatched roof in Søndervig
A house with a thatched roof near the beach.

The beach in Søndervig

The surf

Artsy photo of the North Sea

The group on the beach

Ruined Nazi bunker
A half-sunken Nazi bunker that was part of Hitler's Atlantic Wall during WWII.

The sunset over the beach in Søndervig