Triton Sonic Wind Profiler and SkyServe wind data service provide accurate, versatile platform for documenting wind resources in ‘brownfield’ areas too rugged and isolated for met towers.
Coal mined from West Virginia’s mountains has powered this country for decades, and now Second Wind’s wind data collection equipment is helping former and active coal mining sites find second energy-producing lives as homes for wind farms and other renewable energy facilities. Marshall University’s Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Sciences (CEGAS) is using Second Wind Triton Sonic Wind Profiler and SkyServe satellite wind data service to evaluate the wind energy potential on former surface mine sites. Working with the West Virginia Division of Energy and the Appalachian Regional Commission, CEGAS has used the Second Wind technology to evaluate two former surface mine sites around the state, and is presently evaluating a third. The university’s goal is to help surface mine property owners determine whether they can make strip-mined land productive again by converting it to renewable energy uses, with wind being one of the primary energy resources.
The CEGAS staff chose Triton because, they said, it reliably measures wind at turbine hub heights of 80 meters and higher, and its mobility allows using it at hard-to-access sites. CEGAS also uses SkyServe to collect data from the Triton, eliminating the need to travel to sites and collect data manually. As part of deploying the Triton, CEGAS confirmed its performance with multiple three-week studies, correlating Triton data with data from nearby met towers. That gave the university a versatile, cost-effective alternative to met towers, which would have been difficult and expensive to erect on the surface mine sites, according to CEGAS Environmental Manager George Carico.
“West Virginia is a rural state and travel can be tough,” he said “Triton is super easy to operate and has great mobility. We take it to remote surface mine locations on a trailer pulled by a four-wheel drive vehicle and have it working within a few hours. Some of these sites are miles off the electric grid, so Triton’s solar panels and deep-cycle battery units save us from setting up and refueling remote generators. SkyServe also makes the system easy to use because we can retrieve data from our Triton remotely, export it straight into spreadsheets and consolidate it with data from Windographer and AWS Truepower Wind. It puts everything we need right at our fingertips.”
Triton, an advanced remote sensing system, uses sodar (sound detection and ranging) technology to measure wind in the areas that most affect a wind turbine’s performance. By measuring wind speeds at the turbine rotor’s hub height and beyond, the unit reduces uncertainty in annual energy production (AEP) forecasts.
SkyServe Satellite Wind Data Service is a remote communications system that lets Triton users view wind data in near-real-time. SkyServe uploads wind data every 10 minutes, via Globalstar satellite, to a secure web server. SkyServe adds a GPS location and time stamp to all data as it’s recorded, eliminating the inaccuracy or guesswork that can accompany remote data without GPS information. Its suite of reporting tools translates wind data into information.
“Marshall University’s work on the reuse of surface mines underscores an important fact in the wind power industry, which is: you have to go where the wind is and sometimes it’s in a challenging location,” said Second Wind CEO Larry Letteney.
Second Wind LLC
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