(Photo courtesy of Opto 22.)
When California’s wind turbines were installed decades ago, owners could just turn them on and make money. But now it's different.
Now returns are based on a minute-by-minute market price for electricity. If turbines are on while the price is high, owners make money. If they're on when the price dips into negative territory, owners lose money. And if the regional authority demands all turbines be turned off—as is sometimes needed during periods of low demand to protect the power grid—owners must comply in what can be as little as five minutes or face stiff penalties.
What to do in these changing times? With Opto 22’s SNAP PAC industrial controllers supervising individual I/O controllers on each turbine, a wireless mesh radio network for communications, and Opto 22’s groov operator interface for mobile devices, SCADA Solutions has been able to quickly develop an affordable solution to remotely monitor and automatically manage wind farm electrical power generation output down to the individual turbine.