As our winters get colder and turbines get bigger, icing presents a host of potential pitfalls for wind farmers. Wicetec looks to overcome these challenges with its Ice Prevention System, helping to avoid a repeat of the Texas big freeze power outage earlier this year. PES caught up with Petteri Antikainen, the company’s Co-Founder and CEO, to discuss the possibility of wind turbine winterization.
PES: Welcome to PES Wind Petteri. First of all, could you introduce our readers to Wicetec, for those who may not be familiar with your work?
Petteri Antikainen: Wicetec is the world wide leader in wind turbine blade heating solutions. Currently Wicetec has two business segments. Firstly, we work with wind turbine manufacturers to provide heating solutions for new installations.
Secondly, our technology can be retrofitted to existing wind turbines that are weather damaged. This summer we will continue retrofit installations in Canada on two wind farms, this area of the business is gaining a lot of interest right now. We are making plans for 2022 and beyond, so business is good.
PES: Last winter was a particularly cold one across Europe and in North America. Did this make things busier for you as a result?
PA: The winter just gone was definitely colder than the two or three milder ones previously and we had a record number of calls from potential customers. Wind farm owners tend to be more aware of icing issues nowadays and as turbines are getting bigger, they are more prone to suffer from the effects of ice, which is why enquiries are increasing.
It is always preferable to work at long notice on projects where possible and we’re talking to customers now who are aiming for installation for 2022 giving a good lead time, whereas previously calls only really started as winter began. Of course, enquiries also came in when the Texas disaster hit with record-low temperatures last February. The state’s grid was not able to supply power for millions of people.