Safety high priority in wind power
Sebastian Lippert, Head of Operation for Hydro at the Tonstad Wind Farm in southwest Norway, is no stranger to heights. That’s a good thing when your workplace is 130 meters off the ground.
Operating Norway’s second-largest wind farm, a total of 51 turbines with a hub height of 129.9 meters each, is perhaps not your average day job – but for Lippert it is.
And when winter, ice and wind go with the territory, Hydro works to maintain best-in-class HSE (health, safety and environment) standards at Tonstad.
Lippert has years of experience working at heights with turbines. Before joining Hydro, he worked for a wind power company in several roles, including installation lead and site manager in various construction projects.
After traveling the world working with turbines and years living out of a suitcase, though, it was time to put down roots. He started as site manager for the construction of Tonstad Wind Farm in 2019 and has been working as Head of Operation since November 2020.
Being out in the field is close to his heart, he says: “Working at Tonstad has always been a pleasure! Great people with common understanding make perfect teamwork and a brilliant work environment.”
Weather makes HSE routines critical
Because of the variable weather conditions in Norway, the wind turbines present various challenges. Snow, ice, dust, heat and sunlight have an impact on working conditions. This makes HSE routines important, particularly in the winter.
In winter, the wind farm is subject to ‘ice throws’ and ‘ice falls,’ from when snow and ice can build up on the structure of the turbine and fall to the ground.
“We recommend a safe distance of 300 meters from each turbine. It is important to take into consideration that ice can also fall from power lines and trees. Our contribution with procedures and HSE routines is important and is something everyone working on Tonstad is mindful of,” he points out.
‘Get home safe’
Lippert is responsible for the safety for eight workers at the site, including himself. Ensuring that his colleagues get home safely is a major concern.
“Everyone involved and working on Tonstad is aware of the procedures and HSE required,” he says. “It is impossible to eliminate the risks. I truly hope everyone involved understands that the only thing that counts is to get home safe.”
About Tonstad Wind Farm
Hydro started operating and maintaining the Tonstad Wind Farm in August 2020 under an agreement with the owners, marking a step in the company’s direction to diversify and grow in new energy. The wind power from Tonstad is used for Hydro’s aluminium production in Norway.