IIoT increases output of Utah Wind Farm

  • March 13, 2023
  • William Payne

WindESCo has become the first firm in the industry to deliver a full-scale commercial wake steering and collective control technology, with the completion of installation of its Swarm Technology across Longroad Energy’s Milford I and II wind plants in Utah. The plants produce a combined output of 306MW. Early results show that the site is set to benefit from significant energy production increases via collective control and advanced analytics.

Wake steering combats the substantial turbulence and curtailment that can affect larger scale wind plants. As wind plants have grown in turbine size and scale, the problem has worsened. Plant output can be reduced by up to 20% by wake turbulence, according to a 2021 study in Wind Energy Science. Climate change and greater numbers of off-shore wind plants are likely to increase the scale of the wake problem.

Swarm is a commercial solution developed by WindESCo for collective control of wind turbines by combining advanced analytics, model-in-the-loop control, and industrial IoT technologies. It achieves a +3% increase in annual energy production (AEP) via wake steering and additional collective control applications.

The Milford I&II Swarm installation was completed in December 2022 on 165 turbines, consisting of a mix of GE 1.5-MW and Clipper 2.5-MW machines. With both sites operational for over a decade, WindESCo and Longroad’s collaboration supported the plants’ repowering, which also included rotor, blade, and controller upgrades for many turbines.

Jeremy Law, Head of Asset Management at Longroad Energy, said, “It’s no secret that as assets age they have a natural tendency to experience certain losses in efficiency. But that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. We are committed to looking at innovative solutions that not only mitigate production loss, but actually reverse that direction of travel. We selected Swarm at Milford I & II because we are comfortable that WindESCo will deliver that expected AEP gain.”

Mo Dua, Chief Executive Officer and WindESCo Founder, noted, “While many research teams have modelled and written about the potential for improving wind plant performance through wake steering, never before has a large-scale commercial test of such technology been completed. We are so proud of the years of work that went into bringing this solution to the market. The commissioning of Swarm at Milford demonstrates that large-scale wake steering is possible as a retrofit solution for older assets, while also proving feasibility for Swarm to support the expanding global fleet of wind turbines offshore.”

WindESCo plans to release additional results from the Milford project this summer.

The company is working to install Swarm in Indonesia with additional sites offshore in the UK and continental Europe expected to be announced later this year.