You asked and we answered. We received several questions from the audience during our launch webinar on October 26th. Time constraints didn't allow us to answer them all live. So, here are the top 5 frequently asked questions about WindESCo Swarm answered by James Duncan, Senior application engineer at WindESCo.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most plant-level performance products suggest possible AEP improvements on the order of 1% or less. How will WindESCo Swarm achieve such heightened performance?
WindESCo Swarm goes beyond wake steering, which typically is expected to net on the order of a 1% AEP improvement (0.8% according to a recent NREL study), harnessing different levels of applications that are focused on both site and turbine-level optimization to achieve enhanced wind plant performance of anywhere between 3 and 5% AEP.
I assume access to the wind turbine controller is required for wake steering. This brings a lot of challenges, including limits of turbine certification. Any comments on this?
As part of WindESCo Swarm implementation, an edge device will be added to each turbine and will interface with the wind turbine controller. However, the edge device will not impact the functions or safety bounds of the original wind turbine controller.
Will WindESCo Swarm impart additional wear on the turbines? What occurs if communication is lost with the local server?
The combination of different applications on both the farm and turbine-level interact to reduce unnecessary yaw motions, thereby reducing additional wear. The extent of the overall yaw activity reduction will depend on the site-specific wind conditions. Load and stress data were collected during pilot testing to confirm our load evaluations.
If communication is lost between a turbine edge device and the local server, the turbine will default to its original design operations.
Is WindESCo Swarm compatible with any wind turbine? Is the system compatible with wind projects under a Full Service Agreements (FSAs) and Long Term Service Agreements (LTSAs) with the wind turbine OEM?
Yes, WindESCo Swarm is designed to be OEM and turbine controller agnostic. With respect to the impact of Swarm on projects with FSAs or LTSAs, the customer and WindESCo will work with the OEM to resolve any potential challenges to the existing service agreements. WindESCo is experienced in working with customers to support this process. However, the answer to this direct question is specific to the OEM and specific service agreement.
Do you see WindESCo Swarm as a good option for older wind farms that are going through Repowering or Lifetime Extension Processes in order to deliver additional returns for operators?
Absolutely. The main advantage of WindESCo Swarm is its relatively low cost and high level of returns without requiring significant upgrades to existing wind turbine hardware.