Thaw at Glötesvålen this winter

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Ikea has invested over a billion Swedish kronor in a wind farm located on the top of Glötesvålen, a mountain in Härjedalen, Sweden. This is the first major project to feature Vestas’ new de-icing system.

When Svenska Vindkraft visited Glötesvålen at the end of October, mild southern winds were caressing the rocky mountain above the tree line, a thousand metres over the ocean. We still had another week to go before the arrival of winter.

Vestas’ service engineers took us up in the narrow turbine housing, a space shared by the de-icing system’s 150 kW hot air fan, a gigantic gearbox and a large generator.

Anders Bäckelin, technician at Vestas, on top of one of the 80 meter high turbines. Photo: Jann Lipka.

Anders Bäckelin, Vestas, on top of one of the 80 meter high turbines. Photo: Jann Lipka.

The system is integrated with the turbine’s Scada system, which monitors production and raises the alarm in case of an uneven or reduced performance curve. When this happens, the turbine stops and a de-icing sequence begins.

“It takes between one and a half and two hours to de-ice all three turbine blades,” explains Claes Hovstadius, Director of Sales at Vestas.

“It is important to keep wind turbines as ice-free as possible, to maximise the number of production hours. The operational parameters are determined by our customer, in consultation with us. We manage the operation and maintenance of the 30 turbines,” he adds.

Glötesvålen is the first large-scale delivery of the new de-icing system. It was developed for Vestas’ large V112 and V117 turbines on 3.3 MW, but it was easily adapted to Glötesvålen’s V90 3.0 MW high-speed turbines.

“With its unique landscape and high winds, you could say that Glötesvålen has similar characteristics to an off shore wind farm,” says Claes Hovstadius.

25 of 30 turbines were tested for the first time in the week when Svensk Vindkraft’s reporter and photographer visited the site. It was powerful to see the harmoniously placed wind turbines spin slowly over the grey, undulating and rocky mountaintop.

“I was spellbound the first time I came here, and I feel the same now,” says Ikea’s head of sustainability, Jonas Carlehed.

Glötesvålen has similar characteristics to an offshore wind farm. Photo: Jann Lipka.

Glötesvålen has similar characteristics to an offshore wind farm. Photo: Jann Lipka.

The ownership passes to Ikea from OX2, the project company, once all turbines have been tested and inspected. It is believed that this will take place at the end of the year.

In the spring, Ikea plans to hold a magnificent inauguration event to mark that the furniture group – which with its 46 Swedish wind turbines produces more renewable energy than all Ikea’s operations in Sweden use.

“Glötesvålen is Ikea’s second largest wind power investment globally, and it is one of the largest individual wind power investments ever made in the Nordic region,” says Jonas Carlehed.

Ikea has contributed to OX2’s strong position within wind power in Sweden. OX2 is currently involved in nearly half of all major scale wind power projects in Sweden.

Glötesvålen wind farm

  • Site: Glötesvålen, a mountain forty km to the west of Sveg, on the way to Lofsdalen, in Sweden. Glötesvålen’s peculiar, wind swept quartzite bedrock is subject to constant frost weathering, so the mountain resembles a large pile of rocks.
  • Capacity: Located approximately 1,000 metres over the sea, the wind farm comprises 30 Vestas V90 3.0 MW turbines, placed on towers that are 80 metres high. The total effect is 90 MW and the average production is 220GWh a year.
  • Construction: The construction has taken approximately two years. This includes road construction and the excavations needed to bury a 40 km long 220kV cable to the Sveg power station.
  • Wind conditions: The average wind is 8.1m/s and 9.1m/s in the winter. Wind conditions on Glötesvålen are just as good as at sea, which is why the turbines have a rotor diameter of 90m instead of 112m, which is the current standard. “These are high wind turbines,” explains the engineers from Vestas.
  • De-icing system: Glötesvålen is the first wind farm to use Vestas’ new VDS de-icing system on a commercial scale. The system uses a flow of hot air within the rotor blades. The air is heated by 150kW hot air units that are powered by electricity taken directly from the turbine’s generator.
  • Glötesvålen in 360 degrees: View Jann Lipkas photo from the wind farm in Google Maps and here.