OX2: Systematic documentation of quality factors and other matters is key to a successful wind power project
The Niinimäki wind farm is being built with great cooperation and a clear division of duties
The Niinimäki wind farm in Pieksämäki is the first wind power project in Eastern Finland. A total of 22 wind turbines will be built in the project. The turbines are the tallest in Finland, reaching a maximum height of up to 258 metres. Welado serves in the project as a developer consultant.
In February 2023, the project's construction planning is in full swing and construction work is commencing. The project is estimated to be completed by the end of 2024. Once complete, the annual energy output of the wind farm will be over 400 gigawatt-hours. This equals the annual electricity consumption of approximately 80 000 households.
We had a chat about the project with OX2’s construction project manager Ville Häkkinen and Janne Paaso, Welado's head of energy operations, who works on the project as a developer consultant.
As a development project, what is a wind power project like from your perspective?
OX2’s Ville Häkkinen: We bought the project from Tornator who were responsible for the design of the initial stage. With OX2 the project continued as a so-called micro-siting design, so in practice we fine-tuned the project’s designs to completion. Now in February 2023 the project has entered its construction stage.
Our goal is to realise the project so that it is financially profitable, environmentally friendly and inclusive of third parties. It is always important that projects are conducted according to permits and official regulations.
How does environmental friendliness manifest in practice?
OX2’s Ville Häkkinen: When construction is conducted according to OX2’s strategy, harmful environmental impacts are minimised and biodiversity is protected. For example, in this project some of the areas within the wind farm are the mating territory of wood grouses and other grouses. This meant the project had to be scheduled so that human operations would not disturb the courtship and breeding of the birds.
What kind of things do you pay special attention to in projects?
OX2’s Ville Häkkinen: Communication must be open between all parties. One must keep in mind that a project is the sum of many factors, and advancing it requires seamless cooperation between the different operators, such as landowners, stakeholders, contractors, developer consultants, cities, municipalities and licensing authorities. Often the challenge is identifying and managing the various stakeholder groups. The goal is to identify the needs of the stakeholders and respond to them.
What is Welado's assignment in the project?
Welado’s Janne Paaso: From the perspective of a developer consultant, OX2 has purchased a clear and sensible expertise package where we deliver the supervision of earthworks and the duties of site manager. We also monitor the foundation design work that is the responsibility of the contractor and deliver the third-party inspections of the foundation plans together with our subconsultant. We are also responsible for supervising the construction of the foundations.
What are the foundational pillars of a successful project from the perspective of OX2, i.e., the customer?
OX2’s Ville Häkkinen: Trust is absolutely the most crucial individual requisite of a successful project. If trust is diminished for some reason, it causes great problems for the completion of the project. Problems can manifest as delays, schedule changes, rising costs or prolonging of the project, for example. An open dialogue channel between all parties lays the foundations for trust.
The project and everyone working on it must also have clearly defined goals. OX2 uses a so-called playbook in its projects. This book states that even before a project is begun, the goals and purpose of the project, as well as the practices and measures to achieve the goals, must be made crystal clear. The playbook helps to model the project plan and the progression of the project, and this provides clear guidance for the work of contractors, the developer and the developer consultants.
What are the foundational pillars of a successful project from the perspective of a developer consultant? What kind of expertise is required from a consultant?
Welado’s Janne Paaso: I agree with Ville in that success in the construction stage requires good cooperation, open and honest communication and trust between all parties. OX2’s team has created a good platform for cooperation and the setting of shared goals right off the bat. In practice this manifests as functional practices and clear procedures.
The work of a developer consultant is that of a specialist. At Welado we thoroughly familiarise our developer consultants with all the relevant practices and technical requirements, as well as with supervisory work and document management. Our expertise has been acquired through practice, and our staff mainly consists of seasoned experts with a background in realising projects as contractors.
What challenges are there in the construction contracting of wind farms?
OX2’s Ville Häkkinen: There are different challenges at different stages of the project’s life cycle. In the project development stage, all permits and official licences, such as building permits, must be secured and approved in accordance with laws and statutes.
In the construction stage, staying within the schedule and agreed upon budget is an internal challenge: how can the project be realised for the customer at the promised level of quality. The wind power construction market is hot right now, and expert staff is in short supply. However, OX2 has an extensive subcontractor network at its disposal.
What kind of expertise have Welado people brought to the project?
OX2’s Ville Häkkinen: I have an extensive cooperative background with Welado’s Janne Paaso from my contracting days. Janne is an experienced site supervisor, and I like the way he works. The wind power project in Sievi was a success, and based on my experiences there our collaboration has continued and become even stronger. Welado's special strength is supervision of wind power construction that focuses on roads, lifting fields and foundations.
Welado also has a great subconsultant network. In this project Welado's subconsultant is to supply the third-party inspection on the foundations and the related geotechnics. Welado also provides us with robust support in matters related to contract agreements.
Welado’s Janne Paaso: The way the Niinimäki wind farm project is conducted is clear, and I especially like how OX2 grants the developer consultant a mandate to operate. The contractor negotiates with us, and the customer is able to focus on their own business operations. Of course, as a developer consultant you have to understand when the customer needs to make a decision – and this understanding comes from experience and jointly agreed upon rules. We appreciate each other's expertise and the project is going as planned in the spirit of cooperation.
Welado is also supplying document coordination for the entire project. What kind of additional value does that bring to your operations?
OX2’s Ville Häkkinen: Documentation has been a major challenge in our projects. In the Niinimäki project, Welado is responsible for the coordination of documentation, which is being conducted meritoriously by Kaisa Kankaala.
We have been developing OX2’s project document management together with Welado, and we have taken great strides forward in that regard. Welado's specialists have been doing a great job with document management.
With regard to supervisory work, together with our developer consultant we have produced comprehensive supervision plans that help us monitor different construction contracts. The supervision plan completely aligns with the contractors’ quality assurance plan. This has allowed us to confirm and document the most crucial matters throughout the supply chain. With the help of this documentation model that guides construction contracting, the contractors receive clear listings of what the contract demands, and as the customer we are able to easily monitor the implementation of the project. This is a major factor for the success of the project!
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Would you like to discuss the topic in more detail? Contact Janne Paaso.
+358 40 022 4024