Wind Excursion 2019

Wind Excursion 2019

Excursion to Wind Energy facilities in the North West of Germany

by NDOH, EUGENE TINJINUI, Cameroon (PPRE 2019-21)

With the ever-rising world energy demands fueled by rapidly increasing industrialization levels and the necessity to power distant off-grid locations coupled with the need to curb on pollution from conventional power sources like oil, whose CO2 emission impact is huge and whose supply is already fast finishing, the “new energy sources” have rapidly stemmed out as an alternative.  Actually since the 1970’s RE resources slowly but steadily have gained steam and caught the attention of the public, investors, and political milieu. These alternatives have the particularity of being replenishable (hence the name renewable energies) however they still face some challenges like storage, forecasting, integration etc.

    It is this light that the postgraduate program in renewable energy (PPRE) was opened at the University of Oldenburg merging in one program students with scientific background and those with an engineering background with the view of bridging scientific rigor to field practice. Today, the PPRE represents a 2-year cross-cultural program with students from the entire globe, having the finest grains of lecturers and experts in each of it’s 3 domains of specialization: Wind power, Photovoltaic, Grid integration as well as unique laboratories.  PPRE programs usually starts with a “Feel the Field Session”. Thus we of the 2019/2021 batch with our counterparts of the European Renewable energy master’s program (EUREC) had a tour to some Wind facilities in the North West on the 11th October 2019. The tour began at 7:30 am at the WECHLOY campus and headed first to an 1886 built Wind plant at Spetzerfehn used as a corn mill. The owner’s son, Mr. Hajo Steenblock, was onboard to welcome and guide us through as we discovered the bare-bone functionalities of the system. The 2019/2021 batch of PPRE/EUREC are infinitely thankful to Mr. Steenblock for stopping his repair works and taking time to introduce us to the system. We say: “VIELEN DANK!”. We then rode up to the state of art ENERCON Wind blade manufacturing plants at Aurich, where Mr. J. LAUBROCK and his colleagues from the sales department answered our questions and showed us through the blade assembly plants.

We moved on to the Holtriem Wind farm having 35 x E66–machines from ENERCON with a total capacity of 52,5 MW operating over 20 years and producing 130 million kWh per year. (1)  From this plant, we moved up a 65m tall tower and were surprised at the fact that the wind tower swayed in the wind. The initial experience were slightly worried faces since most students had come from other industries and were not used to wind power at all. This was just the best baptism an aspiring scientist in the wind power domain can get. Immediately he knows the complexity in the design calculations incurred in designing such a flexible structure with such a height for duration stability. We then moved on to visit a typical German farm in Hooksiel where the farmer, Mr. Jan-Gerd BEHRENDS together with an engineer from BESTWATT company welcomed us and show us his two 30KW wind turbines, his 180KW PV- and his ~75 KW biogas system. Despite the tiredness of the journey, the entire crew was still inquisitive to know about the functioning of small wind machines from both a technical and an administrative/legal standpoint. Most students were also amazed by the 280 milk cows around. We rounded up the tour at the Wind turbine test fields with Mr. B. Neddermann of the German Wind energy institute (DEWI) where several Megawatt range wind machines from various top world manufacturers were installed (Siemens, ENERCON, NORDEX, GE Wind, REPOWER, etc). In the evening we went back to Oldenburg and joined the very FESTIVE WELCOME, which was organized by the PPRE/EUREC-Senior batch. The Welcome Party together with the ‘Midday Fish meal’ at the North Sea spiced the tour with unforgettable memories.

(Changed: 2020-01-23)