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Advancing Wind Farm Technology


The Department of Energy (DOE), Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), National Wind Institute of Texas Tech University (NWI/TTU), and Group NIRE (NIRE) formally commissioned the SWiFT (Scaled Wind Farm Technology) test facility on July 9th in Lubbock, Texas.

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ABB was invited to attend the special event, and was recognized as among the companies that provided key equipment to the facility. A time-lapse video of the facility construction shows the raising of the three towers and turbines over the course of several weeks into a short minute.

ABB’s solutions in the turbines included three ACS800 wind converters and three matching Baldor induction generators. The Scaled Wind Farm Technology (SWiFT) facility is the first public facility of its kind in the world to use multiple wind turbines to measure how wind turbines generate turbulence and how that airflow disruption affects the performance and reliability of other turbines in a wind farm.

This testing allows research and collecting data on new turbine blade designs, the flow of wind through and past the wind farm, and on the equipment inside the nacelle. The project retrofitted three older, fixed speed Vestas V27 turbines with ABB’s latest technology, turning them into scientific instruments.

Bob Simon, product manager for ABB’s Renewables Power Conversion business, and Marty Mates, Baldor’s industry account manager for Power Generation, both attended the commissioning.

“ABB’s advanced generator and converter technology allows each turbine to operate at variable speeds and still be connected to the electrical grid,” explained Simon. “This flexibility allows for a larger data set to be gathered during testing, and a full speed range analysis performed on the turbine blades.”

By accumulating and analyzing this data, the business, government and non-profit groups supporting SWiFT aim to reduce power loss and equipment damage caused by turbine–turbine interaction. This equates to enhanced wind farm energy capture and further improves wind plant performance, industry-wide.

ABB, www.abb.us