Vestas breathes new life into world’s most northerly wind farm

Vestas will give a 30-year new lease of life to the world’s most northerly wind farm by repowering the Havøygavlen project deep inside the Arctic Circle – where the harsh environment was described to Recharge as an “accelerated lifetime test for wind turbines”.

The Danish turbine group will install nine of its V117-4.2 MW Typhoon variant turbines on the island of Havøy in Northern Norway, custom designed for the Arctic conditions.

The agreement will see operator Finnmark Kraft repower Havøygavlen after almost 20 years of operation, swapping the Vestas machines for 15 Nordex 2.5MW turbines that previously operated there.

Recharge reported in 2013 how the conditions on Havøy – where salt-laden seaborne blasts swirling unpredictably from north and south often at speeds greater than 50metres/second – posed unprecedented challenges for engineers operating turbines at what was a pioneer of an Arctic wind power sector that has since gathered momentum.

Egon Leonhardsen, CEO of Finnmark Kraft, told Recharge then: “Havøygavlen does abnormal things to wind turbines. It is like an accelerated lifetime test. You find problems on these turbines after five to seven years where you’d find them on other turbines after 15-20 years. Getting high uptime here is a challenge.

“There is nowhere in the world like Havøygavlen.”

The Havøygavlen repowering deal comes with a 30-year service agreement – one of the ultra-long contracts that are increasingly common in Arctic wind, which analysts have previously said offers potential for up to 60GW of development.

Leonhardsen said of the new agreement: “After many years of operation at Havøygavlen, we look forward to developing a new wind farm, where we use an area that has already been used for wind power for 20 years. A good part of the infrastructure can be reused and prepared for 30 new years of green energy production.”

The repowered Havøygavlen is due for commercial operation by the end of 2021.