The construction of foundations for wind turbines involves mass customisation using connection beams as well as following the principles of quality and rapid delivery. Although foundations all look the same, in practice each one is designed separately. The grounds varies from soft earth that requires piling to rock, and the wind farms from different turbine manufacturers require different kinds of foundations.
Peikko's solution is based on fully integrated components. The whole package also includes design and assembly if necessary.
The design of a wind turbine's foundations, putting the work out to tender and then the construction normally takes over three months. Using Peikko's approach the time from contract to delivery can be as little as four weeks.
"The permit processes for establishing new wind farms take a long time. Once the customer has received a construction permit they are in a hurry to start generating electricity. The foundations account for about 2-3 per cent of the whole project. If we can squeeze a few weeks from the construction, that has a much greater significance for the customer than the price", explains the Peikko Group's CEO Topi Paananen.
Just a few years ago orders arrived one at a time, now there is a continuous flow of them. Products related to wind turbines now account for about ten per cent of Peikko's turnover.
Some fifty deliveries of complete foundations have been made in Finland and in addition there have been numerous deliveries of foundation components. They are good references for international markets.
The involvement of Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, has given Peikko's staff faith in the wind turbine foundation development project.
"In addition to funding, dialogue with Tekes' experienced experts is a significant confidence builder for the project. When you are going into a new product segments it requires perseverance to get a decision on a project", says Kari Tuominen, who is responsible for the technical development of wind energy foundation solutions at Peikko.
At the moment there are almost one hundred projects under development in Peikko's project bank of which five involve wind turbine foundation technology. The wind turbine foundation products are tested in technical universities in the Czech Republic and in Germany.
"Development is less risky than an acquisition. This is our genotype, we want to show that we are capable of doing new things", comments Mr Paananen.
The trend for wind power is now for taller and larger farms in arctic regions too. This is good news for Peikko as more demands will be placed on the foundations than before.
Technical Director, Wind Energy
Peikko Group Oy
Tel. +358 (0)40 5071 181
kari.tuominen (at) peikko.com
Animation: Peikko's Wind Turbine Tower Foundation (Youtube)
Photos: Markku Koponen and Eero Lukin