Last year, Vattenfall's more than 1,000 wind turbines generated 6.2 TWh of renewable electricity.
Martin Reinholdsson, Head of Generation Wind at Vattenfall, describes 2015 as a year with good winds and good availability.
"We achieved availability of 96.6 per cent, which I'm pleased with, although we did have a few problems during the course of the year. The main issue was that DanTysk in the North Sea was delayed due to problems with the grid connection, which Vattenfall has been compensated for. We also had cable problems at our offshore wind farms in Thanet in the UK and Egmond aan Zee in the Netherlands. The transmission side of wind power is something we're focusing on and it's an area where the whole industry must improve. As far as our onshore wind farms are concerned, in the first quarter their performance was poor due to a number of technical problems, but in the second half of the year they performed extremely well."
In terms of safety too, last year was a good year for wind power.
"Wind generally has a strong safety culture, although there's always room for improvement. One challenge in 2015 was that we stopped using the lifts to reach the nacelles – around two thirds of our 1,000 lifts were taken out of operation for safety reasons after a tragic fatality suffered by another wind power operator. In 2016 it's a priority for us to be able to start using the lifts safely again, which will require the replacement of equipment and detailed inspections."
In 2015, Vattenfall's electricity generation from wind increased by 42 per cent compared with 2014 and exceeded the target for the year by three per cent.
"The main reason for the increase is that we brought new wind farms into operation: DanTysk, Kentish Flats Extension and Clashindarroch in the UK, Klim in Denmark and Hjuleberg, Höge Väg, Högabjär-Kärsås and Juktan in Sweden," says Martin Reinholdsson.
"Clearly, good winds at the end of the year and good availability also helped."
The energy sector is under a great deal of pressure due to reduced demand for electricity and low electricity prices. This is also affecting wind power.
"Even though there are effective support systems, the low prices have had an adverse impact on profitability. The price impact cut revenues by around ten per cent last year."
Martin Reinholdsson believes that Vattenfall Wind must continue to standardise working practices and exploit synergies in the business in order to respond to what is still a challenging market situation.
"It's a challenge to cut the costs of wind power, both new and existing. Even if wind power in itself is already competitive in terms of new power, the price per generated kilowatt still needs to come down further."
Vattenfall will continue to invest in new wind power capacity in 2016.
"It's going to be an interesting year. Amongst other things, the offshore wind farm Sandbank in the North Sea, which, in terms of its size, is on a par with DanTysk, will start generating electricity. Pen y Cymoedd in Wales, which is our biggest onshore wind farm to date, will also start generating electricity 2016. We'll also be recruiting during the course of the year, and it will be important to bring new colleagues on board in the right way."