Bad Weather = Renewable Energy
We are in Torshavn and have stormy weather. The “Dagmar Aaen” lies safely in the harbor and we are learning why this typical bad weather – lots of rain and lots of wind – is good energy weather.
Börder A. Niclasen meets up with us in the new university building. He heads the energy study program and gives us an outline of the energy potential on the Faroe Islands. Especially in the winter there are super wind conditions here. Water power with reservoirs, which serve when the wind is not blowing, and solar energy help fill the summer gap – there is after all daylight almost all day long.
A reliable additional factor can play a part in the future – current force. On our tour from Sandur to Torshavn with the “Dagmar Aaen” we experienced the strong currents. The main advantage of this: The current is constant and predictable. But because it is really still too expensive to win energy this way, it is hard to compete with other methods. Bördur and his colleagues are doing further research. Where else if not here? The university is not only doing research on renewable energy but we also experience its practical use in the brand new university building. A heat-pump system draws energy from the warm sea water – eight degrees – and heats the building with this. A small amount of electricity is however necessary. It is expected that this electricity will come 100% from renewable energy sources by 2030.
Hökun Djurhuus and Terji Nielsen from SEW – The Faroe Island power supplier – show us how this should work. We drive the 10 minutes from downtown to the newest wind-park in Hökun’s e-car. It is so foggy that we can hardly make out the plant but the roadmap the two present us with is all the clearer. “We have a wind yield here in both the onshore and offshore facilities far out in the North Sea”, explains Hökun. To become more independent from oil – this is the ecological conviction but also simply the cleverest choice economically. But there is still a special challenge – a decentral island system must do this all on its own. There are no cables connecting to other countries with bigger power plants which can help out as is the case in continental Europe. The energy experts on the Faroe Islands are now working on solutions for keeping a system with plenty of wind stable. A huge battery pack has increased the wind yield in the past three years. And this “sprinter” in the energy-team fills in should the fellow generating plant co-workers unexpectedly disconnect.
Harvest-time for the stormproof wind-power plants – waiting time for us. The strong winds are blowing directly at us and a sailing ship is then after all choosier than a wind-power plant.