Check out new interview with Ville Lehtomäki, Managing Director at Kjeller Vindteknikk who’s also involved in the Winterwind programme committee!
What’s your thought’s on the programme for Winterwind 2020?
I think the programme looks interesting! The overview of the program is something that people who have been to Winterwind are familiar with – we in the programme committee haven’t completely capsized the conference from previous years. I think the big picture is that the whole cold climate wind energy industry is maturing from something that was very R&D’ish ten years ago, to something that is more and more mature business. I think the conference needs to reflect this change and that’s what I think we have tried to do for the conference programme.
One big change is that we have now more of an O&M focus. I really would have like that to have even more operators telling how their fleets have been operating in cold climate conditions in the past years. But I think in general we have a good O&M focus because I think that’s probably where the R&D needs to shift also at some points. Previous R&D has been driven by technology development and pre-construction planning needs for example. Once there’s a more clearer focus on O&M, there will probably more specific R&D needs coming up as well. It is an evolution!
Ten years ago, the vast population of Winterwind participants were more or less scientists or very science minded engineers. Cold climate geeks as by good friend René Cattin has said. But now, since the business is maturing, more and more businesses are showing up at WinterWind. That’s the second point the programme commettee has to take care of. The attendees have to have enough time for business meetings and networking. I believe people come to WinterWind to learn from presentations but to do business as well. If we can keep those two things high up in everyone’s agenda, it’s a winning concept!
What would you say are the highlights?
I don’t want to raise any single presentation – I usually end up liking surprising presentations the most! An interesting highlight could be if people have a look at the programme topics that we have chosen. There are for example two sessions completely dedicated to ice protection systems. This would not have been possible ten years ago!
I’m really looking forward to this Open Innovation Contest now, we have had it for two years so now this third year I also think that this contest is maturing. There will be interesting things to that domain as well. I hope and expect to see innovations outside the core WinterWind topics of icing physics for example.
How fast has the technology for wind energy in cold climates developed since you started working with wind energy?
As an example, the wind turbine ice protection systems (IPS), mainly blade heating technology, main principles have remained almost unchanged but many IPS technology level developments have happened. As the industry is maturing, the technology development is more focused on decreasing costs and increasing system efficiency and reliability for the chosen technology (heating mats or hot air). All the big turbine manufacturers have blade heating solutions to offer today, it’s something that is here to stay I think!
IPS heating mats and hot air are here to stay until some other breakthrough happens for example a perfect icephobic coating. There needs to be a huge technology innovation breakthrough to substantially change current IPS technology trends.
The other trend is increased digitalization. Better control algorithms with increasing amounts of data will boost the way turbines are being controlled also in cold climates.
Some last words for Winterwind 2020?
I’m really happy to come to Åre and Winterwind again, I want to learn more! I’ve been to many Winterwinds before and everytime I expect to learn something and to meet new people as well. It’s always nice to meet folks you know but also to meet new people. Hopefully this business match making tool B2match will facilitate us to also engage us with people we don’t normally meet!