The good news and bad news continued on day three of North America’s biggest wind show and conference. The bad news, said at least one presenter, is that there are not enough attendees. “The booths are expensive, so why have we not at least heard from an AWEA representative to thank us for our support?” he asked, just a little disgruntled. But on the up side, other presenters said all the right people attended and good opportunities were present. Another vendor said he sold two of a new product, which always seemed the whole point of a trade show.
It is an abbreviated day, but here are a few highlights:
A Ventyx rep showed how the system assists power traders buy and sell power. The company’s senior director of utilities Carlos Romero demonstrated with an interactive map of the U.S. with dots representing power stations and lines for transmission. He picked on a yellow line in Ohio and stats popped up to tell that the line was constrained, operating at its peak, and that presented an opportunity for a power trader for supplying power to either end of the line. The software also assists utilities in scheduling maintenance to needed electrical equipment.
Obstruction lights that come alive when they detect aircraft radar are one neat idea on display in the TWR Lighting booth. VP Ray Kraemer says the system was put together for a European firm but applicable to areas where the local population might complain about lights flashing all night long. Also, the company had its IR obstruction light on display. This unit would be essential to notify pilots that fly with night vision goggles, devices that can ignore visible light.
How do you properly change 100 liters of oil that is 80m up, or 3 miles offshore? Oil Vac has one answer. COO Aaron Sage says his company has developed the equipment that eliminates hauling 5 gallon buckets up tower. The trailer mounted equipment includes a waste oil tank, a flush oil tank, and a clean oil tank, along with 330 ft of hose. Now crews can pull the hose uptower with a hoist and do the job in a more environmentally sound fashion. The company sells their systems to O&M crews and other parties, along with some to U.K. companies for the same task on many of their offshore turbines.
When the OEMs don’t act fast enough or are unresponsive, ignore them and build your own equipment. That is the response of Larry Garza, owner of Aztec Bolting. Garza says he saw the need for bolt-tension pump with particular specs, a lighter weight in particular. Competing products are almost twice the weight of the new design. So he and a local pump manufacturer put their heads together and devised the Axtec Generational Electric Tensioner Pump, model VETP. That name doesn’t sing, says Garza, so expect it to change.
And lastly, one of the subthemes more palpable at this year’s show is power storage. Companies have recognized its value not just for power storage, but for frequency regulation, load leveling, capacity firming, and more. The message from ABB is that the company can manage stored power in this manner with a variety of new equipment. The company adds that is now completing its largest power storage facility to date in California, a unit capable of more 6 MW.
So now it’s good bye Las Vegas and hello Orlando, Florida, the site of Windpower 2015.
– Paul Dvorak