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High winds - high ambitions

ÅF is proud to be a part of the fastest construction of a wind turbine farm to date. It will power well over 1.3 million homes with green electricity.

Go big or go home

The turbines have a capacity of 8.3 megawatt and are located 90km off the Yorkshire coast of England. The wind farm Hornsea ll is not there yet, but it will be very soon, and that is amongst others because of a committed and experienced ÅF expert. The 165 wind turbines can supply approximately 1.3 million homes with power and since the construction of the farm will be the fastest to date, these homes won't have to wait longer than 2022 until they are supplied by green electricity. Hornsea ll does not only hold the title as the fastest constructed - the wind turbines themselves will also be the largest in the world.

Wind turbines have gained footing as one of the most cost-effective options on the market and what's even better is the pollution-free energy. The wind is a source of energy and the turbines create power without using fossil fuels, and is more cost-effective than nuclear power plants and fossil fuel based power plants. That is, without producing greenhouse gases or radioactive waste. It is clean, affordable and sustainable.

Communications is key

The systems that collects and exports the power generated by the turbines are called offshore substations, or OS. They are located in the middle of the wind farm. The OS contain transformers to stabilize and maximize the voltage of power generated offshore and reduce potential electrical losses by compressing the power, so it can be transmitted to shore, through the 150 km long submarine cables, in an effective manner.

To ensure the highest degree of safety, it is essential to have good and well-functioning communication systems for all parties involved, both on- and off-shore. During the construction of the farm a team of radio and communication engineers supports other specialists throughout the various phases. They are involved in everything from Product Line, where they assist in contractual work, but also developing new ideas and concepts.

One of the radio and communication engineers in charge on Hornsea ll, Karsten Olsen, has worked with solutions for telecommunication for over 30 years. He has previously worked, via ÅF, on developing TETRA, the professional mobile radio and two-way transceiver specification, developed for the rescue services. TETRA was first used by government agencies and emergency services and later became the European Telecommunications Standard Institute (ETSI). It was essentially the TETRA project and his experience from it, that made Karsten the perfect fit for the Hornsea ll project. Karsten explains;

"I was already familiar with the way they produce globally-applicable standards for Information and Communications Technologies, as I've helped develop the solutions".

Today Karsten is deployed at Ørsted Denmark, Northern Europe's leading wind power group, and is in charge of the tele and radio communication on the platforms. The solutions are mainly for the equipment used in the operating phase.

"You see, if we have a maintenance team on a wind turbine 90km off shore, it is pretty important they are able to get a hold of land when they are finished." Karsten says while laughing.

New field, new challenges

As more wind farms are built, standard telecommunication solutions have been developed and the off-shore wind turbines are now being mounted in modules, built on land. Because the industry is under such development and growth Karsten meets new challenges everyday despite his 25+ years of experience in the field.

"The problems appearing are often brand new and it is definitely a challenge not being able to find the answers in previous, similar projects. At the same time the deadlines on this project are shorter, and we have to fix the problems fast to make sure we are on track."

When Karsten is asked how he deals with making sure the equipment works unquestionably and the short deadlines he says;

"That's easy, I see this as our little contribution to help the environment recover with implementing more CO2 neutral energy".