The investment in Poland by the German company ENERTRAG, which has already carried out many such projects both in Germany and around the world, involves the construction of wind turbines in two locations in Western Pomerania. The Dargikowo wind farm project consists of 43 Siemens Gamesa G132 and G126 turbines and Vestas 126 turbines, and its installed capacity will be 132.8 MW. The Karlino project will involve the installation of 16 Siemens Gamesa G132 and G126 units with a total power of 53 MW. The first investment started in February, and the second at the end of September this year. The commissioning is scheduled for 2021 and 2022, respectively.
“Bureau Veritas Polska is responsible for inspecting the quality of concrete and reinforcement of the foundation structures of the wind farms built by ENERTRAG. We are responsible for quality verification, from the design phase through the acceptance of key construction works, until the completion of the foundations and their readiness for turbine assembly. We are building on our multi-year experience in this type of work, combining the know-how of our construction department and road laboratory”, says Tomasz Kowalski, supervisor and work coordinator at Bureau Veritas Polska.
2016 was a very unfortunate year for the domestic wind power industry, as the law introduced at that time had virtually blocked its development in Poland. The restrictive rules that were adopted on the distance of wind farms from buildings and protected areas, have resulted in new investment projects only being implemented in an area of around 1% of the country. In addition, the legal changes introduced a tax burden for wind turbines which was disproportionate in relation to other RES systems, which additionally reduced the interest of investors in this branch of the energy sector. However, after this stagnation period, a gradual thaw is being observed with the subsequent amendments to the RES law. Among other things, the distance rules are becoming more liberal, the auction system is organised, and the gradual increase in the share of renewable energy sources in the country's overall energy mix is being discussed again. The regulations that are being introduced and further changes announced give hope to investors, prosumers, and the energy industry.
“It is great news that the atmosphere around the virtually frozen wind power industry in Poland is changing. Everybody hopes that further amendments to the controversial legislation will quickly help to re-attract companies to the Polish RES market, just like the German ENERTRAG, which will remain involved in the Polish wind energy market and these projects in the long term by providing technical and commercial management services. The shift away from coal and the assumptions of the European Commission's Green Deal must quickly find a replacement in the constant completion of the missing megawatts by developing “green” energy. Wind power in our country has a big growth potential, as we saw before 2016, and has the chance to become a real driving force for our domestic energy transformation”, says Rafał Borkowski, Business Development Manager at Bureau Veritas Polska.
A working wind turbine is subject to heavy loads every day, especially considering that, with climate change, there are more and more extreme weather events. Although in most cases, wind farms are serviced by equipment manufacturers under multi-year service contracts, many owners decide to carry out additional inspections by external companies. The inspections cover all the key elements of the power plant, from the foundations through all major components such as blades, gearboxes, generator, transformer, etc. All safety systems, operating and performance parameters are subject to verification.
“Additional inspections help protect farm owners from potential failures that are not only costly but time-consuming to repair, and equipment downtimes can result in significant losses. In very many cases, these additional inspections are also a requirement of funding institutions and insurance companies, and must be carried out in due time during the life of the wind farm. They are outsourced to external professional entities whose independent, impartial inspections can authoritatively identify areas for improvement and establish whether the entire operation of the power plant is being carried as it should be”, says Rafał Borkowski from Bureau Veritas Polska.