Construction in the sky
Guess which is the remotest wind farm in the world? It is actually also Germany’s first commercial wind farm – Bard Offshore 1, located 125 km off the German coast in international waters. This high-sea wind power plant with 80 windmills has a nominal capacity of 400 MW, which is enough to cover the energy requirements of about 400,000 four-person households.
The energy produced is transported through a 125 km long direct current sea cable to the mainland and then another 75 km inland.
Climbing wind farms
Who are the brave and highly skilled workers who install and maintain these wind parks at such high altitudes? Rope Access Sverige AB (IRATA-member) specializes in methods of safe working at high and confined spaces that were originally developed from techniques used in caving. The company works on the BorWin Alpha platform, which was built by ABB and is owned by TenneT B. V. The platform connects the wind farm to the grid by HVDC cables.
High-quality at high altitude
“Doing high-quality work in this extreme environment means that from the very beginning you need the right partner and the right durable products which are strong enough to withstand the great strains induced by the corrosive and exposed environment” states Petter Gellerstam, CEO of Rope Access, “That is why we chose Sika Sweden as our partner and why we are using Sika products.”
But inspection, installation and maintenance at a high altitude are very sensitive work processes, which are so much more dependent on environmental factors not only because helicopters are used for transport from land to the platform. The weather has to be moderate, the wind shouldn’t be too strong, and the waves not too high, because rescue boats are always on standby when those expert climbers are working in the sky.