This year it is 20 years since 20 iconic wind turbines were erected off the coast of Copenhagen. Middelgrunden, as the offshore wind farm is called, is the tale of the Danish wind turbine adventure, its future, and not least Fritz Schur Energy’s entrance into the wind turbine industry. This is the second part of three chapters in the article series “Middelgrunden: A Danish offshore adventure”.
The year is 1995. The two companies Fritz Schur Hydraulik A/S and Fritz Schur Teknik A/S have been founded. A line of acquisitions follows, and fate would let one of these acquisitions be a manufacturer of hydraulic brake systems for wind turbines.
Torben Jørgensen, then Sales Manager in Fritz Schur Hydraulik and despite a retirement still connected as External Consultant at Fritz Schur Energy, tells the story of how this acquisition became the starting point for the world’s leading manufacturer within hydraulic pitch systems for wind.
Hydraulic pitch? Sure thing!
“It was in the middle of the 1990’s. We had just obtained a new asset in form of the small company Hydra Control that specialized in designing and manufacturing hydraulic brakes for wind turbines. About the same time, the world’s oldest wind turbine manufacturer Bonus (later Siemens ed.) was looking into the possibilities of developing hydraulic based pitch systems for their turbines,” tells Torben Jørgensen about Fritz Schur Hydraulik’s first contact to the Danish wind turbine manufacturer Bonus.
“They contacted me, curios to see if we at Fritz Schur Hydraulik where able to help them with their prospect. You might say that I was cheeky enough to affirm that we undoubtedly could develop a system like that.”
“They contacted me, curios to see if we at Fritz Schur Hydraulik where able to help them with their prospect. You might say that I was cheeky enough to affirm that we undoubtedly could develop a system like that.”TORBEN JØRGENSEN EXTERNAL CONSULTANT AT FRITZ SCHUR ENERGY
From thereon it did not take long before the collaboration became beneficial for both Bonus and Fritz Schur Hydraulik. The new pitch systems where installed in 1 MW onshore turbines in Japan among other sites and they worked like a charm. The big breakthrough though emerged years later in the rise of a project just off the cost of Copenhagen.
One farm, one winner and one close race
When the tender for the contract on Middelgrunden Offshore Wind Farm was put out the interest in the project in the public was high as well within the industry. This was a project that seemed to have everything going for it, and it was without a doubt a prominent order to win.
“The world’s first offshore windfarm had already been built in 1991 near Vindeby in Lolland, South Denmark. Vindeby was undeniably the start of offshore, but Middelgrunden was a project which exceeded all other projects at that time both size and location wise. Fair to say was that every big turbine manufacturer worldwide was more than interested in winning the order,” says Torben Jørgensen about the stiff competition revolving around Middelgrunden.
“Middelgrunden was a project which exceeded all other projects at that time both size and location wise. Fair to say was that every big turbine manufacturer worldwide was more than interested in winning the order.”TORBEN JØRGENSEN EXTERNAL CONSULTANT AT FRITZ SCHUR ENERGY
At the end Fritz Schur Hydraulics and Bonus won the contract, which really strengthened the collaboration between the two companies. Not only was Fritz Schur Hydraulik involved in developing the entire hydraulic concept for the turbines at Middelgrunden including decisions involving power and control, Fritz Schur Hydraulik was also Bonus Energy’s sole supplier of hydraulic systems until 2005.
An icon beyond Denmark
To this day, Torben Jørgensen is very proud of his involvement in Middelgrunden as well as the fact, that the offshore wind farm has contributed to Denmark’s worldwide reputation as leading within renewables.
“Middelgrunden is the world’s most photographed wind turbine project and it is being used both politically and commercially around the world. Those turbines are the perfect showcase of what the Danish wind turbine industry can, and what it stands for. I am so proud of having been a part of this project, and I am so proud of my incredible colleagues at Fritz Schur Energy and Bonus. I could not have done it without them.”
Read the first part of story about Middelgrunden here
Facts about Middelgrunden
- Middelgrunden was originally part of the Copenhagen Fortress.
- Middelgrunden is one of the world’s first offshore wind farms.
- The farm’s turbines are 105 meters high.
- Commissioned in 2001. Has been in almost continuous operation since the start-up.
- Produces energy annually for approximately 30,000 households, which corresponds to 3% of Copenhagen’s electricity consumption.
- The park consists of 20 Bonus/SWT-2.0-CS wind turbines.
- Annual energy production approximately 42,900 kWh.
- The current operating license expires in 2026.
- Has for 20 years provided important experience and knowledge to the wind turbine industry.