Windy Saga from Norway: Reinforcing WTG Foundations with New Rock Anchors
In the summer of 2023, Suvic had the opportunity to carry out an interesting project in the rugged landscapes of Northern Norway. The aim was to make the WTG foundations in the client's wind farm last for the entire planned service lifetime of the park. We succeeded in the task by developing an innovative solution, reinforcing the existing foundations by adding new rock anchors.
"The customer contacted us and inquired if we could do something like this. Since we had previously carried out a slightly similar reinforcement, we took on the task," says Jaakko Norrkniivilä, Design Manager at Suvic. Suvic had to apply a new working method to get the job done. "The uniqueness of the project is well illustrated by the fact that the client had done surveys down to the drillers on oil drilling rigs, all of whom had concluded that they couldn't do the job or didn't want to take it on," Norrkniivilä continues.
Stunning landscapes – challenging conditions
The work began late in the summer, as the area was under a post-fawn reindeer protection period. Sami Sainio, who served as the site manager, mentions that dealing with heat was not a major issue on this construction site: "When we visited the site a few weeks before starting work in early June, there was still snow on the ground. Even during the work, the weather was as harsh it can only be on the coast of the Arctic Sea - but the landscapes were magnificent!" Despite the ruthless summer weather, the work progressed well, and the customer was actively involved, contributing to the success of the site. Both in-house and subcontractor labour were utilized on-site. "In short, the collaboration was seamless," summarizes Sainio.
The work in the wind farm involved diamond drilling to create holes 9–12 meters deep for a total of 26 anchors. As these were existing foundations, the holes were drilled between the existing rock anchors into the steel plate, the foundation, and the bedrock. New rock anchors were then installed in these new holes and tensioned. Due to space constraints, conventional drilling equipment could not be used on-site, and a new apparatus utilizing the latest drilling technology was modified for the job.
If needed, Suvic is also capable of drilling out an existing old bolt and installing a new bolt in the same hole to reinforce wind turbine foundations - a procedure for which most industry players lack expertise. "We can offer services at various stages of the parks' life cycle," Norrkniivilä points out, adding, "From the very beginning of Suvic as a company, a key value for us has been that we are ready to help the customer by providing the best possible solution, along with the expertise and quality to implement it."
Readiness for gigs across the Nordics
Free movement of labour in the Nordics enables the execution of projects not only in Finland but also easily in Sweden and Norway. Heading north is particularly convenient with the company being based in Oulu. Since Suvic already has experience in cross-border operations, the legal aspects of transporting vehicles and tools are well managed.
Norrkniivilä mentions that the company's advantage also lies in having a flexible, willing, and capable workforce. "We have a team that is ready to challenge themselves through project assignments in new environments and conditions."