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Power Pow-Wow

Updated: Feb 18, 2020

It was the intention of the organizers to provide quality information in all areas that were subject to discussion during Indoor Skydiving 2020 | Global Summit. We figured this would be particularly challenging in one: the reduction of the costs for energy in the operation of a wind tunnel. But then we had an excellent plan all sketched out. An operator would submit electricity use load sheets to an expert who would analyze them thoroughly with a view of incurring savings where it would be possible. Well, even the best of plans call for one sine qua non ingredient: motivation.

Paul Niggli (Swissgrid) and Tobias Oertle (Windwerk)

After our experts had waited three months – in vain – for the load sheets to be submitted, we opted to change the plan on short notice. Fortunately enough, we were able to persuade Tobias Oertle, the operator of the Windwerk tunnel in Winterthur, Switzerland, to play along with Paul Niggli, the crisis manager of Swissgrid, in a Q&A session that we labelled (Swiss) "Power Pow-Wow."

Instead of the analysis of data, we counted on the dynamics of a dialogue between an inquisitive mind and an expert to help us make certain points. This is just one of them: Swissgrid is exposed to the daily fluctuations and thus the resulting imbalance between electricity generation and electricity consumption. Grid stability can be ensured by storing and retrieving "control energy." The concept of control energy has helped wind tunnels in Germany and in the United Kingdom save as much as 25% on their energy bill.

This is a teaser, the first part of the "Power Pow-Wow" should be available later this week.

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