Icy test site shall attract the world's wind industry to Sweden

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden and power utility Skellefteå Kraft are about to establish a test centre where the global wind industry can test their equipment in cold and icy conditions. The site is Uljabuouda in the municipality of Arjeplog in the northern part of Sweden.

By now the test tracks in Arjeplog attract automotive industry from all over the world. Now it's time for another industry to take advantage of the cold climate.

The biggest potential to expand wind power is in the world's cool areas, as they are less populated. However, ice formation and low temperatures require a robust and well tested technology. In order to develop optimal components, the wind industry is in need of a cold climate test centre.

After many years of searching for a suitable location, it is decided: RISE and Skellefteå Kraft are investigating a transformation of the wind farm at Uljabuouda to become a centre for full-scale testing of wind turbines.

Lots of snow, ice and cold

Uljabuouda has what it takes to test turbines and other components in tough conditions. The site is situated 780 meters above sea level in open terrain, has an average wind of 8.4 meters per second and is often affected by icing – an average of 500 hours every winter.

– Uljabuouda is the perfect place to test wind turbines in cold climate conditions. In addition to the climate, which is definitely the most important reason, there are already wind turbines installed at site. That should ease the establishment of the test centre and it provides us with instant and very valuable operational and climate data for the testing activities, says project manager Stefan Ivarsson at RISE.

Tests and energy production in the same location

The wind farm in Uljabuouda is today run by Skellefteå Kraft.

– We are pleased that the test centre finally becomes reality and look forward to working with RISE to create better conditions for more wind power and thus more renewable energy. We have identified advantages in co-locating the test centre at our wind farm as both parts will benefit from coordination and synergy effects, says Jörgen Svensson from Skellefteå Kraft.

The location in Arjeplog is another advantage, says Stefan Ivarsson.

– It is a municipality with both expertise and experience in advanced testing within the automotive industry.

Britta Flinkfeldt, chair of the executive committee in Arjeplog, agrees and continues:

– Arjeplog has a long tradition of innovation, research and growth, especially in high-tech winter testing. Widening it to more industries is a natural step in the development of our industry, we already have the infrastructure and hospitality needed to ensure that even more visitors can enjoy Arjeplog.

International cooperation

The cooperation’s ambition at Uljabuouda is to offer the world's wind industry full-scale testing, investigation, verification and certification of new generations of wind turbines and subsystems in order to be able to perform reliably in cold climate.

ECN, Energy Research Centre of The Netherlands, is also participating in the development and planned operation of the test centre.

More information:

Stefan Ivarsson, RISE, phone +46 10-516 57 43, e-mail stefan.ivarsson [at] ri.se

Jörgen Svensson, Skellefteå Kraft, phone +46 910-77 26 15, e-mail jorgen.svensson [at] skekraft.se

Website: coldclimatetest.com

Icy test site shall attract the world's wind industry to Sweden