Quebec research firm launches new wind turbine app

A Gaspé, Que.-based research organization is installing new data collection software to better assess and forecast the impact of cold weather conditions on wind power generation.


The Wind Energy TechnoCentre, a non-for-profit firm that aims to support and develop Quebec’s wind energy sector, is also using OSIsoft LLC’s PI System archiving software to forecast wind energy’s overall potential. The software will be connected to two new REPower Systems AG MM92 wind turbines at the centre.


The system will collect data from the wind turbines itself, from the sensors on the turbines’ meteorological masts, and from the substations connected to the turbines. It will collect information such as wind speed, wind direction, and temperature.


With the collected data, the Wind Energy TechnoCentre hopes to determine the impact of the nordic conditions on wind energy, which will ultimately help the industry develop better equipment and other related accessories for cold weather energy generation.


Francis Pelletier, the senior wind power project manager for the Wind Energy TechnoCentre, said PI System data will be incredibly useful to universities studying wind energy, enterprises experimenting in wind energy, and wind turbine manufacturers. He said the choice to implement the PI System was based on its speed and effectiveness.


“Unfortunately, on most data acquisitioning systems, if you want to request something like wind speed per second for the last six months, you might as well go take a walk and come back in a couple of hours if you want that data,” said Pelletier.


He added that the PI System is optimized for data mining on huge databases, making it an ideal candidate for wind energy research.


In addition to the speed of the data acquisition, the software is also extremely attractive to the wind turbine sector because of the resolution of data it collects, said Martin Jetté, who works as general manager of Canadian operations at OSIsoft’s Montréal-based offices.


“It can collect data at a very high frequency, possibly even sub-second if needed,” he said.


Jetté said the software has been developed over the past 30 years and is installed at over 15,000 sites in the energy, oil and gas, and water industries.


The application also comes with fully customizable applications to query and analyze the collected data, he said. The software is integrated with Microsoft Corp.’s Office product suite, and end users can even build their own reporting screens in Visual Basic or SharePoint.


OSIsoft added that its PI System data collection application is currently installed at many of the largest wind farms in the world, as well as 75 per cent of all the wind farm operations in the United States.

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