Middelgrunden Offshore wind farm open house day – boat tour and climbing the nacelle!
Get on a fishing vessel. Sail for about 20 minutes. Get off at the platform in the middle of the Baltic Sea. Climb up 12 sets of ladders. Look around. Let yourself be carried away by the stunning view. “It feels like we’re standing on top of an airplane!” utters someone around you.
And here it is, in a few lines, what was experienced by the lucky ones who could join the open house day at Middelgrunden wind farm, off the coast of Copenhagen: on 20 September 2020, the UNITED pilot organised a tour to two of its offshore turbines.
The tour was organised for the shareholders of the local cooperative that owns the turbines, but also a number of tourists joined the tour, many of them coming from Germany and Sweden.
This is not an opportunity that comes every day: Middelgrunden is probably the only offshore wind farm in the world that can be visited by tourists, and where they can even climb up! In fact, at the time the turbine was built, the ladder was constructed as the main tool to climb to the nacelle – the cover housing all of the generating components in a wind turbine, including the generator, gearbox, drive train, and brake assembly. In contrast, newer offshore wind farms are larger and thus have a small elevator built-in, instead of a simple ladder. While many people can climb the ladder, the elevator can take only one or two people at a time, thus not making it feasible for a bigger group to climb to the nacelle. The Middelgrunden wind farm also contains a safety platform on every floor inside the pile, making it safe for people to climb.
While approaching by boat, the view of the turbines, standing all up in one line, was indeed breath-taking. Participants climbed the small ladder up to the platform of the offshore turbine and then up to the nacelle. Of course, all participants wore masks and kept proper distance, following COVID-19 regulations, and they were provided with safety instructions throughout the visit.
During the tour, participants also learnt about the history of the wind farm. When it was constructed, Middelgrunden was one of the first and biggest offshore wind farms in the world. The farm now stands as a landmark to the city of Copenhagen, a source of pride for its shareholders and an inspiring view for people visiting and living in Copenhagen.
By joining UNITED, the cooperative is now looking into the future: why looking at the wind farm from the city waterfront, when you can go inside the turbine and look at the city from the top? This open day suggests that this is the way to go: while the guide was talking about the characteristics of the turbine, wind speeds and electricity price fluctuations, many camera clicks could be heard, made by excited tourists eager to capture this once-in-a-lifetime experience!