WORK IN PROGRESS
Operations & Maintenance ready to go
He has almost completed his first year as an O&M employee at Gemini. Erik Korterink was employed to manage the wind turbine package in the O&M team. An exciting challenge: Getting 150 turbines to produce as much energy as possible.
Erik Korterink on top
of the turbines
Erik Korterink is just back from a week ‘offshore’. Where he could see for himself how the Gemini turbines are performing and which important points need to be taken into account during the operation and management phase. For Erik, Gemini meant a new phase in his career: ‘Before this, at ECN I was involved in every phase of the process, from research and development to maintenance and site management. From a few prototype wind turbines to the development of a complete wind farm of 99 turbines in Wieringermeer. When the development of the Wieringermeer Wind Plan was completed, I was faced with the choice: what now?’ I could choose to specialise full-time in wind farm development or further grow and develop in the operational management of wind turbines. Based on my technical background, I chose the latter. Gemini’s offshore element is a new aspect for me, as is the size of the wind farm.’
‘It’s important to keep
in touch with the wind farm and with the people who
‘I was quite surprised when Gemini contacted me to ask if I might be interested in working for them. It’s the biggest wind farm in Europe. And turbines are very much “my thing”.’ I finally chose O&M at Gemini, as a wind turbine engineer. ‘In the space of six months, the 150 turbines were shipped over, and all 150 were up and running by mid-November. The years 2016 and 2017 are really exciting for us; we have to integrate all the operational processes. Added to that, we’re excited to see whether the wind farm will produce the predicted amount of energy. I really love the work.’ It also means that Erik will regularly work offshore: ‘It’s important to keep in touch with the wind farm and with the people who work there. Otherwise you run the risk of creating a divide between the offshore reality and the ideas that people have onshore. I hope to work the same way in the future; the idea is to sail four times a year on Siemens’ special maintenance ship. I’ll spend a week on board each time and in that way keep track of how the maintenance is progressing. It’s a question of keeping your eyes and ears open. I can then use the experiences as feedback in our O&M team.’
Making a difference
The keyword for the time to come is performance, says Erik: ‘With good maintenance as the basis, we’re aiming for turbines that perform to the maximum. To achieve this, we’ll carefully monitor the turbines so that we can identify malfunctions at an early stage and predict the effects on our production as accurately as possible. This is because our activities include a very important financial component. We’re a large sole trader that’s supplying electricity to the energy market on a daily basis. So accurate power forecasting is essential. That’s how we can make a difference.’ Korterink likes the way the system works: ‘You create a sum with different variables: the wind profile and the number of turbines that are operational. We try to create the best possible plan every day.’
‘With good maintenance
as the basis, we’re aiming for turbines that perform to
Operations & Maintenance can be carried out overseas, but it’s much faster by helicopter.