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“Our evaluation of Power Curve’s technology demonstrates to us that it will allow our projects to produce more energy from the same wind resources.”

Eurus Energy America to upgrade 104 turbines following tests

Eurus Energy America (“EEA”) is about to retrofit turbines at Combine Hills I and II in Oregon with Power Curve vortex generators. The order follows successful test results at EEA’s Bull Creek Wind project in Texas, which resulted in an average predicted increase in AEP of 3.5%.

From meeting to full-scale project

EEA initially met with Power Curve at the AWEA 2014 conference. Power Curve attended as part of market expansion efforts with a vortex generator exhibit, while EEA was on the lookout for new technologies to optimize turbine performance.

Subsequent talks led to an agreement between EEA and Power Curve to conduct a performance trial on EEA’s largest wind farm, Bull Creek Wind in Borden County, Texas, with the objective to evaluate Power Curve’s potential for increasing the AEP of the project.

Performance testing at Bull Creek

To ensure a sufficient data set and ample statistical validity, EEA and Power Curve collaborated to select a total of six trial turbines. This selection was based on their respective position on-site, blade condition and service histories.

Turbines that were selected across Bull Creek to be equipped with Power Curve vortex generators were located adjacent to control turbines to serve as points of reference for comparison.

In November 2015, Power Curve vortex generators were installed on the six test turbines using an aerial truck.

With the vortex generators installed, all six test and the control turbines were left to operate normally for another 13 months. This gave EEA and Power Curve a solid 25 months of data to evaluate – 12 months of historical SCADA logs prior to VG installation and 13 months of SCADA logs post-installation for all of the test and control turbines.

Eurus turbine blade with Power Curve vortex generators

Graph showing AEP improvements converging

A promising prognosis

The ensuing data analyses showed that the six power-upgraded turbines accumulated 3.5% more energy on average after the installation of vortex generators than their respective reference turbines.

The results, which were computed with the Power Curve Data Analyzer, take into account variations in seasonal weather conditions, wind ranges, and power ranges.

Senior Performance Engineer Consultant at EEA, Darren Weiss, who has been overseeing the tests, adds:

“The numbers from Bull Creek are encouraging. You always have to tread carefully when you’re trying to modify your equipment, but the results show that Power Curve vortex generators can indeed measurably improve the performance of the turbines.”

Upgrading at Combine Hills

Following the results of the successful testing at Bull Creek, EEA has placed an order with Power Curve for a full upgrade of all 104 turbines at their Combine Hills I and II wind projects in northeastern Oregon. The contract was signed in late December 2016 and Power Curve contractors will begin installation in the summer of 2017.

High value for EEA

EEA operates several wind farms in the US and, as an owner of renewable energy generation projects, maximizing performance and energy generation is a central task; and one that is often easier said than done. Obtaining an AEP improvement in the range of 3-3.5% over the remaining lifetime of the assets is of significant value to EEA.

Joe Stevens, VP of Operations and Asset Management at EEA, explains:

“At Eurus, efficient operation is a key component of our success. The more energy we can safely get from our projects, the better we’re doing. Our evaluation of Power Curve’s technology demonstrates to us that it will allow our projects to produce more energy from the same wind resources. It’s an investment that should pay back in a few years – providing a solid return on our investment in the technology.”

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“Final tests are still in progress, but all indications are that the product works. Needless to say, raising our energy output by 2-4% will have a big impact.”

E.ON set to increase wind asset income considerably

In 2014, E.ON invited Power Curve alongside three other independent suppliers of vortex generators to participate in on-site performance trials on E.ON’s MWT-1000A turbines at Roscoe in Texas.

Based on E.ON’s analysis results, our upgrades outshone the direct competition, as we recorded AEP improvements up to 4.4% and no lower than 2.8%. Pending further load testing, E.ON is gearing up to roll out Power Curve vortex generators at Roscoe.

We tested on 10 turbines over 24 months, giving E.ON 12 months of SCADA data prior to the installation of VGs and 12 months of data after.

In the performance analysis, E.ON used the 12 months of pre-installation data as a baseline for direct comparison with the following 12 months of post-installation data. This ensured a high degree of statistical reliability in E.ON’s validation of our solution’s impact on power performance.

The challenge facing turbine operators

E.ON is operating in a highly competitive market, where every advantage matters. It is no easy task to keep wind turbines profitable, let alone entire wind farms.

Therefore, E.ON is constantly on the lookout for ways to extend project profitability by lowering O&M costs and maximizing returns on their massive wind investments.

Many options exist, and it can be challenging to identify worthwhile solutions that provide the desired effect. Birgit Junker, Blade Specialist at E.ON, explains:

“To all owners it is desirable to increase the power production. That’s why we decided to examine the power upgrade market, and extensive tests in Roscoe show that Power Curve’s solution provides us with the best AEP improvement of the four solutions we tried. Final tests are still in progress, but all indications are that the product works. Needless to say, raising our energy output by 2-4% will have a big impact.”

Power Curve’s process

We started out by assessing and characterizing the MWT-1000A turbines, including scanning and reengineering a 3D blade model.

With this data, we ran advanced flow simulations of relevant blade sections to determine the optimal VG size and position on the blades. We then defined a VG design, simulating the expected power increase.

Blade Scan

Finally, with all specifications set and agreed upon, the VGs were put into production and installed on-site by technicians trained by the Power Curve experts.

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