Windlab is a global wind development company, with a growing portfolio of sites in Australia, South Africa, Canada and the United States. Windlab initially chose to use Triton for early-stage prospecting in order to avoid the time-consuming and costly local permitting and construction involved in erecting meteorological (met) towers, according to Windlab co-founder Nathan Steggel. ‘The Triton units help us to be more flexible at a project’s early stage and enable us to do things more quickly. We don’t have to wait for met tower permits to come through. We can take a risk because if it doesn’t work out we can easily move the Triton to a new site.’
When Windlab used Triton in a study in the U.S. Midwest, the developer learned first-hand about another advantage of the remote sensing system. A key concern for wind farm developers is measuring wind speeds at and above the height of a turbine’s hub. Conventional tower-based resource assessment uses extrapolation to assess wind speeds at hub height and higher, and uses these extrapolations to predict a turbine’s performance. This adds uncertainty to wind resource assessments.
In the Midwest study, the Triton – which uses sodar, or sound detection and ranging technology to profile wind – measured greater wind speeds than had been predicted by measurements from a nearby met tower. This allowed Windlab to demonstrate that the project had more value than it had previously thought. Based on this experience, Windlab now uses Tritons in its wind resource assessment studies throughout the three continents where it does business.
Triton is an advanced remote sensing system that uses sodar technology to measure wind at higher heights than the previous tower-based standard. By measuring wind speeds at the turbine rotor’s hub height and beyond (up to 200 meters), Triton reduces uncertainty in annual energy production (AEP) forecasts. Triton’s ease of deployment also streamlines the wind farm development process.
Triton has achieved global market leadership and continues to be adopted by the world’s leading wind farm developers as a way to complement met tower-based measurements. Second Wind’s Triton Sonic Wind Profiler has been in commercial use since April 2008 with over 200 Tritons now installed worldwide.
Triton’s versatility means that Windlab can more quickly evaluate a site by combining Triton data with information from the tower-mounted sensors required by investors. Says Steggel, ‘Depending on the site, that can be an enormous savings. It’s much easier to use a remote monitoring system that we can just place on site and move when we need to. The Tritons allow us to quickly redeploy capital assets to new projects and that is essential.’
‘Windlab saw the potential of remote sensing very early in the game, and they’re among the companies putting it to the most effective use,’ said Peter Gibson, Second Wind Vice President of sales. ‘More and more, we are seeing developers adopt Triton as part of their standard resource assessment practices. Being able to understand a wind farm site’s full potential quickly is giving important developers like Windlab a competitive edge.’
Windlab Systems is a global wind energy development company with proven success in identifying, securing, and developing sites, underpinned by the expertise of its people and its world-leading wind mapping technology. Windlab’s track record in progressing commercially viable sites is reflected in a growing portfolio of projects spanning Canada, U.S., South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
Second Wind develops wind measurement systems that make wind power pay off for consumers, investors and the environment. The company’s technology provides wind farm developers with the bankable wind data they need to plan, finance and operate highly efficient wind generation facilities. Second Wind’s systems are making wind farm development profitable in 50 countries on seven continents. Second Wind’s systems include Triton, the wind industry’s leading remote sensing system, Nomad 2 wind data logger systems, the ProMast 60, a 60-meter meteorological mast and the SkyServe® web-based data service.