SWiFT commissioned to study wind farm optimization

Jul 09, 2013
This is a turbine at the newly commissioned SWiFT facility. Credit: Lloyd Wilson

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Sandia National Laboratories and Texas Tech University commissioned the DOE/Sandia Scaled Wind Farm Technology (SWiFT) facility today at the Reese Technology Center in Lubbock, Texas. The SWiFT is the first public facility of its kind to use multiple wind turbines to measure how wind turbines interact with one another in a wind farm.

The event featured speakers from the DOE's Wind Program, Vestas Wind Systems, Sandia and Texas Tech.

"The Energy Department's wind testing facilities, including the Scaled Wind Farm Technology site in Texas, support the continued growth of our nation's clean while helping to speed the deployment of next generation energy technologies and bring more clean, affordable renewable power to American homes and businesses," said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson.

Jon White of Sandia's Wind Energy Technologies Department, technical lead for the project, said SWiFT is the first moderate-scale facility—allowing up to 10 —specifically designed to investigate, test and develop technology for wind plants.

"Some estimates show that 10 to 40 percent of wind energy production and revenue is lost due to complex wind plant interaction," said White.

White said the SWiFT facility allows for rapid, cost-efficient testing and development of transformative wind energy technology, with specific emphasis on improving wind plant performance. The facility's advanced testing and monitoring will help researchers evaluate how larger can become more productive.

SWiFT will host both open-source and proprietary research as the result of a partnership among Sandia, Vestas, Texas Tech's National Wind Institute at Reese Technology Center and Group NIRE, a renewable energy development company.

White said the three-year process to develop the facility has been rewarding and challenging.

"It has been a phenomenal experience to work with a diverse team to complete the often under-appreciated process of turbine construction. We also had a 1980s-era, smaller turbine rebuilt to perform like a much larger machine," White said.

"The project was a complete green-field construction so there was tremendous complexity in scheduling and managing all of the agreements and contracts to access to the facility, verify there wouldn't be an adverse environmental impact, procure the equipment, and contract numerous specialized labor resources. We succeeded primarily because we have a dedicated and competent team and a steadfast DOE customer," White said.

Researchers have begun planning the site's first research projects.

White said the two primary research projects for the next year will be testing and evaluating Sandia's new National Rotor Testbed Project and collecting baseline data for turbine-turbine interaction that can be used by the international community to improve wind plant performance.

The National Rotor Testbed Project will provide a public, open-source complete rotor design that the community can work on collaboratively to bring the best technology to market as rapidly and cost-efficiently as possible, White said.

Explore further: Simulation models optimize water power

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Using fluctuating wind power

Mar 25, 2013

Incorporating wind power into existing power grids is challenging because fluctuating wind speed and direction means turbines generate power inconsistently. Coupled with customers' varying power demand, many ...

Philippines approves three new wind farms

May 20, 2013

The Philippines has approved three wind farm projects that will generate 208 megawatts, enough to power more than 40,000 middle-class homes, an energy official said on Monday.

Recommended for you

Many tongues, one voice, one common ambition

7 hours ago

There is much need to develop energy efficient solutions for residential buildings in Europe. The EU-funded project, MeeFS, due to be completed by the end of 2015, is developing an innovative multifunctional and energy efficient ...

Panasonic, Tesla to build big US battery plant

9 hours ago

(AP)—American electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. is teaming up with Japanese electronics company Panasonic Corp. to build a battery manufacturing plant in the U.S. expected to create 6,500 jobs.

Simulation models optimize water power

9 hours ago

The Columbia River basin in the Pacific Northwest offers great potential for water power; hydroelectric power stations there generate over 20 000 megawatts already. Now a simulation model will help optimize the operation ...

Charging electric cars efficiently inductive

10 hours ago

We already charge our toothbrushes and cellphones using contactless technology. Researchers have developed a particularly efficient and cost-effective method that means electric cars could soon follow suit.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

julianpenrod
1 / 5 (3) Jul 09, 2013
The emphasis on "optimization" , not whether it will harm the environment. Of course, the dutiful but fleeting "assurance" that it will cause no damage to natural systems, which the gullible are expected to buy, hook, line and sinker and which quisling shills know is a lie, which leads them to smirk at those who trust the technology behind their backs.
In fact, wind farms have a major impact on the environment. They eliminate wind movement. Absorbing it and turning it into energy removes wind's ability to act as required on the environment, from distributing soil to dispersing seeds to providing lift for birds to evening out heat. Optimize them and you increase their impact of the environment.
But this is why the lie of fossil fuel causing climate change, to spur this and other disastrous technologies like solar collection facilities. Chemtrails, the program of doping the atmosphere with weather control chemicals from high flying jets causes climate change.