Visit to Plant

Japan's Largest Wind Turbines Begin Operation With Batteries in Hokkaido (page 2)

Power transmitted to grid as planned by charging, discharging batteries

2019/07/20 18:52
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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Elevator provided in tower

The completion ceremony and a tour of the ReENE Matsumae Wind Farm took place on May 30, 2019. After touring the power generation facilities by bus, a ritual was carried out at the shrine in Matsumae Park.

The wind farm facilities stand along Route 228 on the mountain side, with the grid substation facility and the storage battery system (electric power storage device) positioned at the southernmost area and the wind turbines from No. 1 to No. 12 scattered across the hills for about 15km northward from Tatehama District to Kiyobe District.

Among these facilities, we visited wind turbine No. 7 as well as the grid substation facility and the storage battery system. Wind turbine No. 7 is adjacent to one of the town's ranches where cows are pastured. The scene of the 54m blades' casting huge shadows on the grass field and slowly rotating is nothing but overwhelming (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Shadow of huge wind turbine looming over adjacent ranch (source: Nikkei BP)

According to the plant, local elementary school children visited wind turbine No. 7 when it was under construction and drew pictures on the nacelle (cover to house a power generator and other items on top of the tower), which was lying on the ground before assembly. Now 94m above ground, however, these pictures can no longer be seen from the bottom of the tower (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3: Tower height and blade's rotation diameter reach 94m and 108m, respectively. (source: Nikkei BP)

During the plant tour, the entrance at the bottom of the wind turbine tower was kept open for visitors. Inside the entrance door was a machinery room on the ground where power conditioners and boosters were housed. Electric power generated by the power generator in the nacelle above is transmitted to the bottom of the tower at 1,000V and boosted to 22,000V by the booster before being transmitted to the grid substation (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4: Machinery room inside entrance door at bottom of tower (source: Nikkei BP)

When it comes to a large wind turbine of this class, climbing up the stairs from the bottom of the tower to the nacelle for each inspection and maintenance operation is a physical challenge. Given such circumstances, a small elevator is installed in the tower. The machinery room on the ground also functions as the platform for the elevator (Fig. 5).

Fig. 5: Elevator used to reach nacelle (source: Nikkei BP)

Large wind farm facilities face a challenge when transporting them from the factory to the place to set them up. This time, the nacelle and the blades were transported from Denmark while the tower was transported in five pieces from Shanghai, China by ship and unloaded at the port of Esashi, Hokkaido. A 1,200t crane was reportedly used to assemble them.