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Adventure at Alpha Ventus

Words: D. Kühnel, T. Neumann; DEWI GmbH

As one of the world’s leading consulting organisations in the field of wind energy, Germany-based DEWI offers a number of related measurement services, energy analyses and studies, together with technological, economical and political consultancy for the industry, wind farm developers, banks, governments and public administrations. Here, two of their most intrepid consultants recount a recent expedition to Alpha Ventus and the
crucial work they carried out on turbines above the ocean waves…

Journey to the offshore site
November 2009, 7:30 in the morning – at a speed of 18 knots the service ship called “Emsstrom” is heading northwest towards the first German offshore wind farm under construction, Alpha Ventus. The journey has started at Norddeich harbour, currently serving as offshore base. From here the trip to the offshore construction site takes about two hours by ship, providing that the sea conditions allow ‘full speed’. Today the weather is unstable, and one can sense the coming of winter as the sea is getting rougher, and days are getting shorter. Rolling heavily, the boat is cutting through the waves which at times reach a height of two meters. So it’s not only the early start this morning which lets the men and women on board become quiet; with some it’s also the beginning of seasickness.

Among the service teams of the various companies involved in the construction work today there is also a team of five DEWI specialists. It is not their first trip to the Alpha Ventus site; the installation work for the RAVE measuring equipment has already started in August. The onshore preparations for machine components and foundations actually were carried out in 2008 in Germany and in Norway. RAVE is the acronym for ‘Research at Alpha Ventus’ – the large-scale research project initiated and financed by the BMU (Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety) which accompanies the first German offshore wind farm scientifically.

With a total budget of 50 million Euros, BMU now supports up to 25 projects that aim to improve the offshore capability of multi megawatt wind parks and make contributions to the environmental compatibility of offshore wind energy utilisation. Most of these projects require special measurements and data from the offshore test field.


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