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by RES | Sep 14, 2021 | Reading time: 2 min

ReLACS (Retrofit Lidar Assisted wind farm Control System) retrofits cutting-edge technology to existing wind farms and has been piloted on a TRIG project

RES, the world’s leading renewable energy company, alongside ZX Lidars and KK Wind Solutions, has developed a Retrofit Lidar Assisted wind farm Control System (ReLACS) which will improve the performance of existing wind farms.

The product will be trialled by TRIG, the British investment trust dedicated to investing in renewable assets, at several of its onshore wind farms across the UK, starting with Altahullion Wind Farm in Northern Ireland.

The benefits of ReLACS, which combines the expertise of the three partners in their respective fields, include modernising the wind turbine controllers and site monitoring processes and resulting in increased Annual Energy Production (AEP) whilst also reducing turbine loads, allowing for increased life expectancy. By extending the life of existing assets, there is an added sustainability benefit in keeping wind turbines operable for longer and delaying the need to replace them.

The product consists of three distinct upgrades to each wind turbine on site:

  1. Turbine controller retrofit – retrofitting state of the art controllers onto existing operating models enables access to modern algorithms that can optimise turbine performance, reduce loads and enable advanced control and monitoring systems to be added.
  2. Wind Farm Control, Wake Steering – yawing the turbine deflects the wind flow and provides overall energy gain.
  3. Lidar Assisted Turbine Control (LAC) – Turbine-mounted Lidar can preview wind speeds and turbulence ahead of the turbine, providing optimised feedback that can ultimately reduce turbine loads.

Peter Stuart, Technical Director at RES, commented: “Given the importance of wind power to meeting climate targets, we are proud to have supported in the development of a product that can upgrade the performance of existing wind farms. RES’ Wind Farm Control technology provides overall energy gain for turbines and optimises performance, which alongside the capabilities delivered by our partners will help to maximise the performance and lifetime of existing operating turbines.”

Alex Woodward, Commercial Director at ZX Lidars, said: “This product is an exciting development for optimising existing wind farms. The Lidar capability of ReLACS provided by ZX Lidars not only optimises feedback that can reduce turbine loads, but it can also measure and validate and benchmark turbine performance. Lidars on every turbine will become commonplace and we are excited to have helped drive this ground-breaking project for the industry with RES and KK Wind Solutions.”

Kim Wichmann-Hansen, Chief Service Officer at KK Wind Solutions, added: “Retrofitting existing wind farms with the latest technology in order to increase their life expectancy is both an economical and sustainable decision. Wind power technology has come a long way, and the KK WTC6 model that is retrofitted through ReLACS gives access to state-of-the-art algorithms that deliver multiple benefits for operators of existing operating wind turbines – from rotor imbalance cancellation to optimum yaw control.”

Chris Sweetman, TRIG Operations Director at RES, said of the announcement: “TRIG is proud to be piloting this innovative product at some of our wind farms across the UK, helping to both optimise performance and extend the asset life. This is an exciting development that helps to boost wind power’s contribution within the energy mix as well as reduce the cost of production, demonstrating the benefits of an ongoing innovation within the portfolio.”

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