Minimizing risk while maximizing energy production
Curtailing wind turbine operation at low wind speeds effectively reduces risk to bats but sacrifices energy production, but “low” is an ambiguous threshold for curtailment. Our team has pioneered a method use for bat activity recorded at turbine nacelles to design smart curtailment alternatives that achieve management goals while resulting in minimal energy loss.
Initial tests have demonstrated that the metric of exposed bat activity, or the subset of bat activity occurring when turbines are spinning, is a reliable indicator of risk to bats. By simulating exposed activity under various strategies, we can compare curtailment alternatives simultaneously, and help clients design a strategic plan that focuses curtailment on periods and conditions with highest risk. Once the strategy is implemented, we can measure the amount of bat activity exposed to turbine operation to validate effectiveness and make any necessary adjustments. Our approach is not only smart, but also adaptable and requires minimal up-front investment.
This project, funded by the US Department of Energy, will test Stantec’s approach on a commercial scale and help advance the science behind smart curtailment.
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